Embrace Your Defects!

Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?
– Vincent Van Gogh

Each of us is unique and this individuality must be honored! This is the foundation for existential coaching, advising, and learning programs here at Azione-Scopo, LLC. This is the power we tap into with Multiple Generations in the Workforce; LIFO Approach; and all to which we aspire.

To honor your individuality, I’d like to share with you one of the first steps in identifying your uniqueness. This is where we each become a combination anthropologist and philosopher trying to understand the physical and meta-physical of ‘you.’  The anthropologist may start with describing your physical attributes and searching your ansestry to discover how you are the only blue-eyed in the family of hazel eyes.  Or discover that your great great grandfather was a tailor and that is (maybe) why you are good at reupholstering furniture.  For me, I lean more toward the philosophical questions such as:

  • What is my worldview, through what lense do I see the world?
  • How has my early life (birth through early teens) influenced my worldview?
  • What are some of my beliefs about the world? Do I need to challenge these beliefs?
  • What do I value? How do my actions support those values?
  • What are my strengths? Am I utilizing those strengths?
  • What are my goals, my ambitions?

These are not easy questions. Often when we examine these through self reflection our vision is clouded by the very worldview we are trying to uncover. But before we get into how to begin to uncover the answers to these questions, let me tell you why this is important.  Are you ready? Finding your individuality is the answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of (my) life!’ Yes, that’s right.  If you were looking for the answer to life, the universe, and everything and searched for it on page 42 of every book (yes, I’ve done that!)  I have news for you.  There is no one answer to that question.  Each individual must search for their own answer and it begins by knowing yourself and ends with embracing and honoring your strengths and purpose and by living your life utilizing those strengths: action with purpose.  In between these two ends (search and action) lie the journey of discovery, experience, trial and error, and hopefully a great deal of fulfillment in the journey itself.

The reason you want to probe these philosophical questions is to identify your uniqueness. And then honor that uniqueness.  Your uniqueness is your strength, your gift. Using your gift is your purpose. Here is another key:  When you are utilizing your strengths, you become more productive! Oh yes! Your business of life and life of business will run much smoother and be more productive. When you use your strengths, you enjoy what you are doing. When you enjoy yourself, you tend to procrastinate less and get into action more! Do you see the connection now?

Baby Steps…

If you tried to sit down and answer the questions above, you may already be a philosopher. Bravo! For the rest of us who struggle with not just answering these questions but knowing what to do with the answers, there is usually a need for a guide, dare I say, a coach.  Someone to take us through the journey (or at least get us started) taking one baby step at a time. Your coach will encourage you to explore your individuality by asking probing and powerful questions that will help you turn over the rocks and clear the dust from the artifacts you are in search of – your uniqueness that must be shared.

If you are like me, you took one look at those questions and froze. Writers block! Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. Let me see if I can help just a little.  Instead of the open ended questions above, what if you had to select one statement or word from a group of 4?  Think of this as a multiple choice question with no right or wrong answer. Here are a few examples:

1. Which of the following best describes your beliefs?

  • -If I prove my worth by working hard and seeking excellence, the good things of life will come to me.
  • -If I get results by being competent and seizing opportunity, the good things in life will be there for the taking.
  • -If I think before I act and make the most of what I’ve got, I can build up my supply of the good things in life.
  • -If I please other people and fill their needs first, then I can get the good things in life that I’ve wanted all along.

2. Which of these words best describes what you value most?

  • -Harmony
  • -Excellence
  • -Action
  • -Reason

3. which of these describes your behavior best

  • -Thoughtful, trusting idealistic loyal
  • -Results-oriented, go-getter, self-confident persuasive
  • -Logical, tenacious practical precise
  • -Flexible, charming, enthusiastic, tactful

Now examine your selections (on your own or with a coach) and probe into the various layers that make up your uniqueness.  This is but one small step on the journey. One that we often overlook. And to honor your uniqueness it is important to recognize that this is only one way to uncover it. Use the method that fit’s you best!  These questions are an example of a tool called the LIFO Method, one which I utilize with some of my coaching clients.  This is one way you and your coach can begin to explore your strengths.

So where are you in your self discovery? Do you know what makes you unique? Do you know your strength? Could you use the help of a guide on your journey? My challenge to you: Identify 3 strengths that are part of your individuality. Now, identify where you are utilizing those strengths in your life of business. Are they helping you to be productive? If you are not already utilizing them, why not? Are you ready for the challenge of a coach?

Your thoughts and experiences are encouraged! Please share them on the comments.