The first time I entered a huge shopping mall, I was excited but also worried about getting lost. I was looking for one particular shop for hours in vain.
Finally, I came across a directory.
There was just a small problem; reading maps was a big challenge for me! So how on earth was I going to use this directory? As I was staring at it, I saw the spot that read “you are here”.
When I saw that, everything else fell into place. I was immediately able to find the shop that had eluded me for hours. This experience uncovers a deep truth that I would like to share with my readers.
Previously, I shared about having “a clear vision for your success”, but finding your “you are here” is of vital importance as a starting point if you are to design the future you want.
You are here in this case simply means locating yourself in terms of knowing who you really are, what you are good at, what brings you to life, what ignites you, what are your strengths, weaknesses and blind spots are in this life.
This is key in designing your vision for success. You will agree that it would be hard to live a successful life while operating at low level of self-awareness.
I love what physiologist Dr. Carl G Jung said on this topic.. “Every advance, every conceptual achievement of mankind has been connected with an advance in self awareness”. I strongly believe that self-awareness is the source of our success.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama underpinned this concept throughout her time in the White House. During the United State of Women Summit she said that, “Once we don’t know who we are then everyone else gets a chance to define us in their own lenses”. You cannot succeed in life being someone else.
Lately I have been thinking and asking myself, if self-awareness is fundamental, how come we don’t invest much time and resources in it.
Why should we go through life blindly? I came up with a simple answer - we don’t know how. Let me share two key lessons I have learned thus far.
1- Know your strength: The starting point should be discovering, investing and intentionally living from your strength zone. Author Bob Buford calls it “your one thing” John Maxwell refers to it as finding your “sweet spot”, Psychology Don Clifton developed a strength finder. Being able to articulate your strength is major.
I was inspired by the story of Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). At 65 years old, after retiring, he found himself very poor and receiving not much from his pension. He asked himself one question, what have I done so well in my whole life experience? He discovered that he had always done delicious chicken his entire adult working life in the food industry. He then founded a fast food restaurant – KFC selling his chicken. At 90years old (2013) there were 6000 KFC locations in 118 countries.
My point is, it starts from your strength zone. Fortunately we don’t have to wait until we have retired to figure this out and for those who have retired, it is not late.
Early this year I was invited to be part of a panel at the Young African Professionals in Washington DC to discuss how to “amplify your voice”. The first thought that came to my mind was “ you need to find your own “voice” first before you can amplify it. Because if you find it you won’t need anyone to teach you how to amply it! Our discussion then changed to how to find your voice.
So have you found your voice? Your strength, your sweet spot?
2) Don’t focus so much on your weaknesses. In my coaching career, I have observed how people can easily articulate their weaknesses as opposed to their strength.
I believe that this is largely due to the environment in which we grew up. Just recall when you were in school, your parents and teachers gave attention to those areas where you were weak.
They got you a tutor for math or biology – your weak spot. While this effort is appreciated,; improves your general performance and neutralizes your weak areas, it is of a greater advantage to highlight and invest in your strength and what you are good at.
The truth is, the source of your success will stem from your strength not your weaknesses.
Can you now locate your “you are here” at this point in your life?
I honestly and truly believe that this world would be a better place if; people were busy discovering and living life from their strength zone, took their time to identify their niche and focused their efforts to grow in those areas.
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