Category: Blog

How To Know Yourself

Knowing thyself is the height of wisdom. – Socrates

People have heard some version of the Socrates quotes above many times.

But, by and large, people don’t give it much thought because they think that “knowing yourself” is some grand, mystical thing reserved for monks and and navel-gazers who don’t have jobs.

That is a mis-apprehension. [I say delicately.]

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The power of knowing yourself is that when you know yourself – and initially it means discovering yourself and coming face-to-face with what’s in the way of what you want and who you want to be – you can’t help but live well.

To know yourself is to be clear about about your values and goals.

To know yourself is accept your past and any mistakes you’ve made.

To know yourself is to forgive others because carrying around wounds only keeps you injured.

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To get started on “knowing yourself,” take some time to get clear on your values.

What are the four or five things that matter most to you; things like: family, honor, excellence, peace, curiosity, . . . ?

Take some time each day to journal on this question (it may not come to you right away).

Once you’ve got some clarity, look at your life and ask: “Am I living my values?”

In the areas you are, celebrate and strengthen; where you’re not, make necessary corrections.

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Starting this process, and sticking with it, is the beginning of self-knowledge.

Are You a Learner or a Knower?

It is the studying that you do after your school days that really counts. Otherwise, you know only that which everyone else knows. –
Henry Doherty

So many people think they’re done with “school” and “learning” once their undergraduate, or even graduate, days are over.

That, unfortunately, is a recipe for stagnation and regression.

The nature of everything is change.

Whether it be personal or professional, one must continue to learn, adapt and grow.

Otherwise you will be left behind; either overtly in terms of those around you, or internally, in terms of not growing your intra-personal skills and abilities.

I’ve heard it said that it matters what you learn after you know something that matters.

What are you continuing to learn?

What is your personal and professional plan for learning?

If you don’t have one, you don’t have one.

Make one.

Decide how you are going to get better this year; both in terms of your job and your relationships (with yourself, others and the systems of the world).

What Do You Want?

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want go far, you have to go with others – Dale Brown

The interesting thing, the truth that is sometimes hard to grasp (and accept) is that just about anything worth working on and having, requires partnership and collaboration.

Yes, there are things that you – and only you – can do (usually personal-growth-type-stuff), but just about about everything else either requires, or is made easier/better/faster with the help of others.

Focus On What Matters

The key is not to prioritize what is on the schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey

You must take control of what you do.

Until you get clear about what you want – and what you don’t – you can’t take control.

But when you do take control, you can decide what’s on your schedule and what isn’t.

To make good on Covey’s idea above you must realize – and take seriously – the idea that there are things you can control, things you can influence and things beyond either.

What’s on your schedule, what you spend your time, attention and energy on, is within your control.

Until you accept and embrace that truth, and live accordingly, day after day, you will be stressed and tired – and everything that comes along with those things.

Stop Stopping

Everything you need to be great is already inside you. Stop waiting for someone or something to light your fire. You have the match. –
Darren Hardy

Not that I’m prone to vandalism of street signs or anything, but I often wanted to have a little stencil made up that said “Stopping Yourself.”

I would use it to spray-paint stop signs and create the message:


Stopping Yourself

It’s a bit cheeky, but really quite useful (if I do say so myself).

But I’m not going to do that, so I’ll say it here:


Stopping Yourself

You have what you need (the raw materials at least).

You don’t need anyone’s permission (although you’re likely going to need allies and partners, at some point).

And, as someone once said: don’t wait ’til the iron is hot to strike, make the iron hot by striking.