A milestone birthday mixed with a longer work engagement left me needing some introspection and reflection. As a coach, I often guide people in focusing on where they want to be in the future. But these last few months I’ve taken a new approach – looking at my past to get clear on the now.
Diving through 40 years of memorabilia, letters, and journals showed me some key themes in my life.
For those that know me personally, get ready to smile…
- I was the “Most Questioning” in 5th grade
- In all of my yearbooks, people thanked me for helping them with their problems.
- I regularly wanted more “space” for reflection and downtime.
- I was always searching and seeking – looking for growth and authenticity at every turn.
Taking this tour of my past helped orient me to who I am. Not what I do. Even if I didn’t coach and consult, I would still be me. I would still question, help, guide, and search. THAT is Jen Spencer.
In the almost 10 years of doing this work with individuals and companies, I’ve recognized that people and corporations are both very consistent. We have wiring and habits that we don’t even recognize because they are so reactive and automatic. This is why change and evolution can feel very hard. It’s you working against years of conditioning to change direction, take a new perspective, and try new things.
The thing is – when you get really clear about who you are it gives you new capabilities.
It helps you see your own filters – where they work for you and where they might get in the way. It helps you align what you are doing to better suit who you are.
But every now and then, you get an insight that helps you override habits that aren’t working and create a new path. Where that insight comes from varies. But you have to listen closely, or you’ll miss it.
Enhanced self-awareness not only helps you as an individual, but it also helps you lead your teams, too.
When you are leading a team, this form of self-awareness can help you understand where your own biases and preferences might lie. It also might inform who you need to bring in to complement your style, focuses, and passions.
When you are a part of the team (either peers or being led by someone else), these insights can infer where you might want to spend your energy AND identify the contributions you can use for this specific experience.
For example, if I’m a seeker, I have to accept that I may never be 100% settled – with my location, with my home, with my focus areas, with my passions. Acceptance of this allows me to know that if you want me to do a project with a very specific, rigid process and format, I’m not your gal.
If I’m a crafter, then I also might be prone to perfecting. Good to know when I’m working with others, so I can communicate that information to them…and they can help me determine what’s good enough.
We live in a fast world that doesn’t slow down unless you demand it. Chances are you have been working your ass off. Take some of that focused energy you pour into your business and career and devote it to yourself. You deserve it. So give yourself the gift of a morning or afternoon this holiday season away from your work, kids, friends, and loved ones to have some time and space to reflect on all you have done this year.
Here are a few questions to guide you…
- Where have you excelled at your goals?
- Where did you fall short of your expectations?
- Where have you surprised yourself?
- Where have you gotten in your own way?
- Where did you authentically show up as you this year?
- Where did you hide who you are — out of necessity or choice?
- How do you want to use this information to create possibilities for 2017 – personally and professionally?
May you relish all the things that define and orient you to who you are, your TRUTH.
May you have the clarity and gumption to adjust those things – internal and external – that keep getting in the way of you sharing your talents and presence with the world.
You have a lot of gifts to share, and in order to share them, you must be willing to celebrate them with yourself.