Optimizing Your Highest and Best! - Exercising Healthy Self Awareness

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Healthy Self Awareness will protect you from wrong commitments and empower you to the right ones!

Every week in private coaching consultations I ask entrepreneurs, executives, and CEOs the same self-awareness question... using the Birkman Color Map... 50% answer wrong.

What's your primary personality style?

It may difficult to limit yourself to 4 areas, but I'd invite you to give your best guess!

You may recognize the familiar categories of the extrovert (red/green), introvert (yellow/blue), task (red/yellow), and people (green/ blue) orientations that gives the framework. These are similar quadrants to assessments like DISC, PDP, and Myers Briggs. Go ahead, pick one word that describes yourself?

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Depending on how fast you respond may give you a hint of your answer. For good measure, select your secondary personality quadrant. Picking your favorite color maybe not be a good qualifier for the exercise.

Let me invite you to switch mental gears toward your goals, commitments, calendar, and task lists. Somewhere you have a mental list, KPIs, performance reviews, or project list that requires your energy. These are the activities that will determine your effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction at work.

Depending on your roles at work your list will vary. For our self-awareness exercise, you may need to review your list. Let me break it down like I would for my clients. List your key activities that are critical for each area. (I invite you to use the free form to review these questions)

  • Goals - (Motivating/Difference Making) - Annual - What’s your focus this year?
  • Commitments - (Initiatives) - Quarterly - How will you meet your goals?
  • Calendar - (Meetings/Events/Projects) - Monthly - When will you accomplish it?
  • Task List - (Disciplines/Activities) - Weekly - Who will get what done?

What's your first response to your list... Act on it Right Now? Share it with Stakeholders? Critique for Accuracy? Plan a Strategy?

Last month I attended a  training session in the Colorado mountains with a veteran consultant. She reviewed the philosophies of personalities instrument. She invited us to sign our name on a piece of paper. So we did. No problem! Then she instructed us to sign our name using our opposite hand. So we did that, which included a few laughs. It's comical to compare the results. Can we do it? Sure! How did it go? Not so good! We all have a natural bent, style, and approach that works.

Far too many executives are writing with the wrong hand in their leadership, responsibilities, and commitments. It may be time to switch things up.

As another consideration, look at your list of work activities, who would you hire to do that work? Doer, Communicator, Analyzer, or Thinker?

The question may be a little too polarizing as most projects need all 4. Think about which quadrant strengths you need for the opportunity and challenges that are before you.

If you're launching a new product or service, then you need significant focus in "green/ communicator" working as an evangelist to get the word out.  If you're primarily as "blue / thinker" your strength is the strategy. You'll be designing a better way to connect with your customer. That may help your launch but may fall short of getting people committed without a personal touch.

If you're constructing a bridge with a team of "red / doer" people, you'll get it done. However, without a team of engineers “yellow / analyzers,” having all the specifications and inspectors on-site you may still have a bridge collapse on the interstate.

The reason 50% of self-aware leaders give a wrong answer is that they have been doing the right thing in wrong ways for a long time. Writing left-handed when you're a right. Continually adapting to get to do what's required. It's admirable! But, what's the highest and best of your time?

Here's a real-time coaching assignment for one of my clients who's stuck... Take the next few days to keep a running journal on a napkin or on your phone of all the things that you were doing from a task standpoint. Once you have a solid list, take note of which of these would you like to delegate?

I have one question that is going to take some work to answer. What two or three things would you like to spend 60 to 80% of your time doing every workday?

These are activities they give you the most joy, fulfillment, and profitable return for your efforts. Completing then reviewing your Birkman personality assessment will give your further insight...Going through the exercises above will help get you started.

You have a unique style! Start today, use the free self awareness survey exercise, begin by  aligning your priorities to your personality. Surround yourself with others who can compliment you. Then you'll see your goals met, commitments fulfilled, and have some fun while you're at it.

Discover Your Life Purpose! 8 Circles, 7?s, and 1 Change for the Year!

Douglas Slideshare

During 2011 I was in a significant career transition. There was a gap in my daily working reality and my passion to influence leaders. I felt the ache from the inside out. I knew something had to change, but that gap seemed impossible to bridge.

I was trying to do the right thing by working my job to pay the bills yet feeling like I was meant for something more... Maybe you can relate? How could I transition from a career, an industry, and a business that I operated for 15 years? The simple answer...Discovering Clarity, Calling, and Coaching into my purpose.

Sounds simplistic but the process required more courage and personal growth than any other time in my life. I'm grateful that I had some amazing people speaking into me and encouraging me to move forward. During that time a statement emerged that today reflects my purpose for coaching with leaders.

Moving Leaders from Inspiration to Impact in their areas of Influence

Discerning, defining, and acting on your life purpose can be overwhelming without help. Here's a great tool to simplify the complexity of capturing and communicating your life purpose. Many leaders I coach are clear on defining their circles yet after some discussion they discover quickly they don't often align. Maybe it's time to recalibrate. Maybe you don't need a massive career move like I experienced but you may need to make some adjustments.

7 Questions!

  1. Do you love what you do? What do you love to do?

  2. Can you define the gap?

  3. Where does your Passion, Mission, Occupation, and Vocation intersect?

  4. How do your Character, Abilities, and Compassion intersect?

  5. What makes you feel alive doing what you love that meets a need in another person's life?

  6. Who are the people in your circles to help you align your purpose?

  7. What changes need to happen?

Take some reflective time to answer these 7 questions and define these 8 circles. Start with using words or phrases to keep it simple. You may find some categories easier to define. I encourage you to press into the areas that may be a challenge. You may need feedback from friends and family. After you have defined these areas now identify the gaps. Brainstorm on some ways to bring your circles together.

Make One Change!

If these circles don't connect for prolonged seasons it leads to stress, fatigue, and often burnout. You risk losing your joy and zest for life. If you've felt some of these symptoms in the last year I encourage you to act on your discovery. Creating a plan to move towards alignment. Start today with a commitment for one Change on your calendar that you can act on your purpose.

If you need help, find a trusted friend, coach, or mentor to get you moving! As you move forward in clarity and change I'd love to hear your progress in the comments below! Enjoy the discovery!

Your change may inspire others to do the same!