Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who am I not!?

I found this quote in one of my marketing journals this morning:

"To better understand who your employees are and what drives them to succeed, perhaps it's easiest to understand who they are not."

Cam Marston, author, Motivating the "What's In It For Me?" Workforce

I realized however, that this is a critical point not only in the awareness of others (and not only in an employee/employer relationship) but also critical in my own self awareness. As I work through the process - again! - of asking "who am I?" I must also - and, fortunately, am - ask "who am I not?"

The catch, of course, is not asking "what am I not?" for the sake of dredging up weaknesses or beating myself up but, with an attitude of acceptance, removing the barriers of things I'm not so that, in the process, I am free to discover who I really am.

For example, I know that I am not a morning person. I don't think a day should really start before 7:30 if not 8am. Why on earth would I want to get out of bed at any point before that? In fact, for me to truly be satisfied, I should be waking up somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 without an alarm. On the flip side, I do my best work in the afternoon and can go long into the evening hours. This is a bit of self awareness I have gained and so I try, within the limitations of "the real world," to structure my day accordingly, so that I can function at my best. I answer emails first thing in the morning or work on stats and reporting first thing. While I do have to be detailed, I can move at my own pace. Meetings, however, are saved for the afternoon when I'm at my best.

I give myself the freedom to "not be" certain things for the purpose of discovering and releasing who I am.

Typically, however, our world does not work this way. We look at self improvement as finding our weaknesses and eradicating them. Our entire education system is about making us better in all areas, equal in all as possible. We don't admit weakness. Success is often defined as being able to eradicate them.

What if, instead of focusing on what we're weakest at and trying to improve, we looked at what we have natural tendencies toward or abilities in and worked to enhance those areas of our lives? Can you imagine the talent that could potentially be released? The level of true success and satisfaction people would achieve?

That's what I want. I'm excited to continue on this discovery of myself, embracing both what I am and what I'm not....because that's the way I'm made.

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