Wednesday October 23, 2013
In Part One of this series I challenged readers to honestly look at their current reality in several key areas of life. As promised, here’s my best thinking on “what to do now” about any gap between where you are now and the results you want to create for yourself, your family, your organization and your community.
My approach to closing the gap uses the following framework: awareness, responsibility, and communication. Awareness is the necessary beginning of any process of personal or organizational growth and for any positive change.
People tend to succeed to the extent that they are aware of their essential purpose for existing and that their choices are aligned with that purpose. If they aren’t able to see things clearly, they will inevitably make mistakes based on false assumptions or get engaged in activities that leave them drained and unfulfilled.
It takes a high level of awareness to avoid meaningless activity and focus on the people, projects, and personal growth that nourish and fulfill our lives.
This need for greatly enhanced awareness applies to you, the individual, and to every major corporation, our society, and humanity at large.
Gaining deeper awareness is often compared to waking up, because when I’m unaware, I am really asleep to what is going on around and even within me.
Unfortunately, the kind of waking up that really opens new life possibilities is often forced upon us by dramatic, even traumatic, moments of crisis. We experience a painful ending to a relationship, a health crisis, business or financial failure, or an illness or even a death in our family.
I’m a personal example of waking up as a result of a dramatic event. I have often said that my first real awareness experience was not the seminar I attended in 1969 that launched me into this lifetime learning quest. It was divorce. A real wake-up call about how I was actually living my life as opposed to my feel-good story about it.
These kinds of events can precipitate a waking-up process that, when honestly confronted, can be the beginning of fresh insights and valuable life lessons. Those traumatic events, while a painful way to learn, are often understood as blessings with the passage of some time and after gaining some perspective.
To create an extraordinary life, I need the information that only a deep sense of self-awareness and awareness of others can provide. I need to be willing to honestly face my life and what is occurring within it.
With awareness, I get to see my underlying attitudes, habits, and beliefs, and the behaviors that flow out of them. I get to see whether these inner qualities support the achievement of my outer goals, and whether some of them, perhaps even familiar beliefs from childhood, no longer support me in accomplishing my life’s purpose and vision.
This clearer picture of who I am, what I believe and care about, how others perceive me, gives me valuable insight into where I really am in life, to where I could be, and to who and where I want to be.
Still, let’s face it; it’s easier to remain in the dark, unclear and uncertain about my direction and goals. Plus, it appears to be safer, or at least more comfortable, to sleepwalk my way through life, which is why many people do it.
Remaining unaware is safer, probably more frustrating, and ultimately deeply discouraging. The natural way out of sleepwalking is simply waking up. The natural way out of unawareness is awareness.
And with greater awareness, new opportunities for understanding and action emerge. Life becomes filled with possibility. It all begins with simply noticing what is really so in our life.
Once I’ve gained new insights through greater awareness, taking personal responsibility enables me to produce dramatically improved and tangible results in my life.
More on this key principle for extraordinary leadership success in Part Three. Stay tuned!