“Know First Who You Are, And Then Adorn Yourself Accordingly.” - Epictetus Being a fully engaged manager requires a willingness to grow, accompanied by a mindset that life is a journey. Personal growth is a life long process. Similar to maturation, it can happen whether we are conscious of it or not. We all mature naturally, some realizing our full potential others not coming close to it. However having a commitment to personal growth allows us to be an active participant in the process.
Last week we introduced you to BEI’s Four A’s to Greater Personal Effectiveness. Today we’d like to look a bit closer at the first A. Awareness. Most would agree that awareness is the first step in personal growth. It requires self-reflection, being responsible and accountable for ones actions and thoughts. Let’s look at these elements more closely.
Self-reflection is the skill that allows us to think about our lives on both a macro and micro level. The focus is both within and outside of us. Often we are concerned about what other’s think and not enough about what we think. I’m reminded of the many times I’ve worked with managers in companies who felt their hands were tied by a company policy. Many felt forced to act in ways that went against their own beliefs, fear causing them to compromise themselves.
Jay Niblick states in What’s Your Genius “conventional belief on being successful focuses on having as much factual and technical knowledge as possible.” Additionally, “the Genius Project highlighted another kind of knowledge---self knowledge—as the key to being not just good, but great.”
I am equating success with engagement because being engaged directly correlates to authenticity. When we know ourselves we can be authentic. There is no accident that “Know Thyself” the inscription above the entrance to Apollo’s Temple at Delphi in ancient Greece is so frequently quoted. Niblick clarifies the true meaning as know of yourself as in “the answer lies within.”
This is a great little book, which guides you through some preliminary steps of your internal journey to awareness. There are many other steps available to you such as learning about your behavioral style, or your emotional intelligence quotient but these do not address the deeper question of who am I.
This celebratory season of Easter provides a great opportunity to journey within and engage with who we are. It’s our job to figure out how we can best contribute to the universe, and knowing who we are is a great first step.