Success is a matter of choice. Your choices dictate the destination you reach in life. So shouldn’t we ensure that we only make good choices?
The challenge? We sometimes make choices that are a factor of external forces and even though our intuition may warn us about it, we still go forward with this. Example, when we were in school and had to select majors, we may have longed to take the art course or the music course but end up signing up for more of the “career” focused courses such as programming, math etc. Along the way, you may have made several other similar choices in your career as well : the place you work, the domain you specialize in etc.
However, it’s likely that these choices were in fact made for us and the decisions were influenced based on the experiences of our family members, friends, colleagues. The reality is that some of these choices are missing a critical component: YOU.
Life is a matter of choices and every choice, makes you- John C. Maxwell.
What’s the magic formula to ensure we make good choices that will bring out the best in us? Self-awareness- becoming aware of your own identity. John C. Maxwell, leadership and personal growth guru best describes this in his book: 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. Law #2- Law of awareness states the following:
You must know yourself to grow yourself- John C. Maxwell.
How does one go about improving our self-awareness? Ask yourself these three questions:
a) What sets me apart? : Do you know what are your unique natural talents? What do you do better than anyone else you know? What feedback have you received from others that further strengthens your awareness of your natural strengths?
“Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess.”- Samuel Johnson.
b) Do I know where I want to go?: A GPS in a car will take you to the destination you specify. If you do not have a good sense of your destination, you will most certainly be lost in life. Define clear objectives for where you want to reach at various stages in your life. Do not only focus on your career or job titles you want to hold at a certain age. This is a very common mistake most people make. Instead approach your life more holistically and observe all areas such as work, family, community to define your destination. Through your self-awareness exercise should you discover that you are on the wrong track to reach your preferred destination, it is not too late to correct course and get back on track.
Don’t let mistakes and disappointments of the past control and direct your future- Zig Ziglar
c) Do I know why I want to go where I want to go?: Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful force within a human being. Knowing your purpose in life will serve as your northstar and guide the choices you make. Simon Sinek is famous for stating : “Everyone has a why” and encourages everyone to “Start with your Why”. Your why is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do.
You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out — Steve Jobs
Once you have answered these questions for yourself, ensure that you have a plan to accomplish your mission. Going forward, you must become very conscious of every choice you make and ask yourself if the choice/action aligns with your chosen destination in life. You must take the necessary actions to achieve the results you desire, including reaching out to others who can help you with your goals, getting help from a coach and developing accountability partners who may include your friends/family.