A few cases in point:
- We say, ‘To make a long story short…’ and then we make a short story long.
- We feel virtuous about stocking up on healthy fruit and vegetables. But, do we eat them? No, we just let them waste away.
- We buy new running shoes and set up the treadmill, and then let them collect dust in the corner.
- We repeatedly show up late to appointments because there is always ‘something unexpected’ that gets in our way.
I recently led a training session for a group of leaders. They started the day by sharing how much they had been learning about the importance of being present to their staff – listening and attending with care. Many of them then proceeded to spend a big chunk of our time together flipping through messages and texting on their smart phones.
At the root of the issue is the quality of our self awareness – the ability to see ourselves as we really are. It’s an essential skill, but one that can be tough to cultivate.
Because we’re privy to our intentions – spoken and unspoken – we cut ourselves a LOT of slack. We credit ourselves with points for our good intentions and don’t deduct points for our less than ideal behaviors.
What really matters most, though, is our actions. And it is those actions that build or destroy our health or our relationships and establish our character – both on the inside and through the eyes of others.
Action: How do you get better at self awareness and alignment?
- Set an intention to improve, but also make a plan to follow up.
- Pay close attention – to what you are saying and what you are doing.
- Watch for clues from others – verbal and non-verbal – that point to discrepancies in your behavior.
- Check in with yourself often. Play back an exchange or a conversation in your mind to review what you really said and really did.
- Ask for feedback from someone you trust who will gently let you know where you might be falling short.
- Encourage yourself when you notice your intentions and your actions coming together.
Grant yourself a touch of grace. We’re all a work in progress.
Quote Of The Week: We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others, by their acts. – Harold Nicolson
One of these days is none of these days. – English Proverb
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi
Resource Of The Week: You might find this Forbes article of interest. Todd Essig presents Three Reasons Not To Text During Meetings.
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Are You Owning It, Pause reader YC writes: Own it. Very powerful and empowering, Pat. Thank you for opening this door in my mind. I will use this with my coaching and mediation clients. See, you’re impacting the world!
Also, in last week’s message, Are You Owning It, I quoted artist Owen Swan on the problems of minimizing our own talents by comparing them to others. Some of you may be interested in reading Owen’s complete article, so I’m pleased to share this link to his blog post: Old Ideas & Popular Problems About Art and With Artists.