THANK GOODNESS IT’S MONDAY
TO KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING,
YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW …
How would you complete the title phrase? In these days of massive change at so many levels, many of us are reexamining the path that brought us here and plotting the direction forward. It’s an interesting exercise that should be done regularly, in my view.
So in that spirit I tried the complete-the-phrase challenge recently with a bunch of acquaintances and got a sweeping array of response.
Here are some: To know where you’re going, you’ve got to know…
… Where you’ve been.
… Where you’re going to start.
… Where you are now.
… Where you come from.
… Where you’re “at.”
Why? Because they only go in one direction (pun intended): Down the path of “Where.”
“Where” is OK, but … Certainly a great deal of talk about goal-setting is premised on the easy-to-grasp concept of “where.” The parallels to travel, having a destination, mapping out a route in advance, etc. are commonplace. And they’re unquestionably worth knowing because they are good and valid strategies.
But lately I’ve been thinking that, before you tackle the “where” part of the process, there’s a more fundamental answer to the challenge.
What do you think about this twist? To know where you’re going, you’ve got to know –
WHO you are.
Who are you?
I really wanna know.
(Even for the musically challenged those lines should be familiar from the opening of the original CSI television series. In fact it’s The Who singing the title song from its 1978 double platinum album. And just a bit more trivia: The TV spin-off CSI shows use more songs from The Who in their opening sequences.)
Am I having a “CSI” moment? A Pete Townsend flashback?
Well, maybe. Just for fun. But also with a serious purpose in mind.
TGIM Takeaway: When you know WHO you are, you just may get to a better-for-you place, via a much more interesting journey, than where you’d end up plugging a destination into your mental GPS and setting out down the road it lays out for you.
TGIM ACTION IDEA: Put first things first. Knowing who you are and what you really want must precede charting out where you’re going if you are to end up at a destination that’s worth the effort of the journey.
How do you do this?
It’s not as easy as you might wish. Most adults have some firmly implanted ideas about who they are, created over time by their circumstances, opportunities, twists of fate.
So how do you determine if those formative paths taken are at the very core of your being or just so ingrained and habitual that you think they are?
TGIM IDEA IN ACTION: I’ve been casting around for questioning strategies and have come up with some that seem like steps in the right direction.
To help reveal who you really are, consider these:
► You’re the sole winner of the jumbo mega-lottery. You’ve got millions! Now that you no longer have to focus on making a living, what will you do with your time and your life? What do you want to experience? What do you want to accomplish?
► What does the 94-minute Hollywood movie of your life look like? What’s the title? Who plays you? When in your life does it begin and end and what’s the “narrative arc?” How does the audience feel when the lights come back up? What are they saying as they leave the theater?
► Quickly complete the sentence “I am a ….”
What popped into your mind? Perhaps the title on your business card (VP of Marketing at Big Deal, Inc.) … your relationship status (loving spouse) … your favorite non-curricular activity (Civil War re-enactor) … self-deprecating insight (big, fat, loser geek) … your personality (optimist) … or some combination of these?
Now add the words “one who calls myself” between “I am” and your answer.
Think you are really those labels?
► You have an hour to kill in a bookstore while you wait for a friend to arrive. What sections do you browse? What specific subjects do you look for in these sections?
► Same bookstore. It has a massive magazine section. You’re handed a coupon for five free magazines. What do you take away?
► What would you be doing now if you were the opposite sex? What would you want to do?
► If you had been born in a totally different culture or time, what would it be and what would you be doing at this stage of your life?
► Turns out there is such a thing as a Fairy Godmother and she appears, wand in hand, and says you may start over from any point in life that you want. When and what changes would you make in schooling, career path, friends and relationships?
And finally, here’s my favorite “Who are you, really?” challenge:
► If you died at this moment, what would you most regret not accomplishing or experiencing? (This is way more revealing than creating a bucket list.)
As you might be sensing, there isn’t really a quickie exercise to complete self discovery. The idea of these challenges in the instant moment isn’t to get to a deep, complete, breakthrough understanding of the “real” you.
But at least one should be an idea starter. I hope it tweaks your (self) interest enough to encourage you to set some time aside and think about, and discuss with those who know and care about you, the many roles you play and are capable of playing.
So where is the real you going? Start from that understanding of “who” as you plan the journey to “where” in the eventful days ahead.
Gotta go now. I’m looking forward to continuing our interaction along the way.
Alexander Publishing & Marketing
8 Depot Square
Englewood, NJ 07631
P.S. William Stafford (1914-1993) poet, pacifist and 20th U. S. Poet Laureate wrote:
“Who are you really, wanderer?”
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is:
“Maybe I’m a king.”
P.P.S. One essential element of every journey into personal understanding and future focus is the ability to “sell” – not just goods or services but your ideas, your abilities, your beliefs and values – to others as well as yourself. In that spirit, Mastering the World of Selling – the Ultimate Training Resource from the Biggest Names in Sales belongs in every business and personal library. You can order your copy (copies?) and lock up all the exclusive bonuses available to TGIM fans and friends HERE.
You can also find the latest Empowerment Group International goings on at the new-look website by clicking HERE.
GEOFF STECK leads Alexander Publishing & Marketing, a company he formed in 1986. The core AP&M mission: To create and publish leadership, sales mastery, self-improvement and workplace skill-building resources and tools. The focus: Areas such as business communication, staff support, customer care and frontline management. Geoff also puts his corporate and entrepreneurial experience, independent perspective, and skills as a catalyst to work for other firms (ranging from multinational corporations to more modest operations), not-for-profits, and individuals who have conceived or developed programs or initiatives but are frustrated in getting them implemented.