Evidently, I was born with a passion for living and early on I seemed to have unconsciously sought out to find and be the real me.
As early as I can remember it seems I have been on a quest to discover, experience, or experiment with just about everything that crossed my path.
I did crazy (and stupid) stuff even as a kid. Before I was 3 years old I jumped off a hill into a creek and I didn’t know how to swim; and then, I sat on a cactus just to see what it felt like; Huh???—it really hurt!! But now I know: don’t sit on cacti. My penchant to try new things still continues after 60 years. But I still don’t sit on cacti!!!
PEACE, LOVE, and UCLA
It wasn’t until college that life truly became a “conscious quest.” First thing: I went to college in the 60”s. That should say a lot. Second thing: I went to UCLA, which should explain even more since it was one of the bastions of hippiedom in that era. The school was filled with hippies. The 1960’s began a new era in US history that still makes an impact today.
Before the 60’s “the establishment” was simply not questioned. We were preprogrammed into believing that we would go to college, become successful, work at a job for life, have a wife (women weren’t supposed to work), a couple of kids, then retire on a golf course.
The problem was that we were the new generation of “baby boomers” and we felt that the supposed perfect life was far from perfect. So hundreds of thousands of us went on a quest to find the meaning of life.
TRYING TO FIND MYSELF
Looking back, I think our basic assumptions were right on—peace and love. If that’s as far as we went, the world would be a much better place today. Unfortunately, although our quest was hyped as being about creating better society, it was actually more about finding something better for ourselves. We called it “trying to find myself.”
So off I went in quest of something in my life that was not based on “the establishment” that preceded me. I grew my hair, read Siddhartha and Che Guevara, bought a 1949 chopped Harley Davison, and then hitchhiked across the US for 3 months.
I “found” two things about myself: 1) I had a really advanced ability to get into trouble (yikes!!) and 2) I had a long way to go to find out who I really was, deep on the inside.
In 1980, when I was 30, I turned my faith and belief system over to God and Jesus. In 1982, I attended seminary and after graduation become a church minster.
I was sure I was onto something with this ministry opportunity until I discovered that church required too much administrative work for me. So I resigned and I started my own little training, consulting and coaching business; learned a lot; helped a lot of people; and had some fun.
My business life became very full. But I was still on that quest to find myself. I tried lots of things, but something seemed always a bit out of whack. My life still felt incomplete, in spite of a modicum of success.
However, I think I’ve finally begun to FIND MYSELF (although, it’s taken 40 years): in brief, I’m creative, I think and feel deeply, I’m an experimenter, I try to be a man of my word, I’m spiritual, responsible and yet I’m still a bit on the crazy side—which lets me have fun but it can get me into trouble.
Please notice that the “me” I choose to describe is not only who I am, but more important, it’s also who I want to be. So it’s important that my LifeStyle and daily activities reflect those same attributes.
The real question though is, “What about you? What are you doing to live your life to the fullest? And is it in accord with the way you were created?”
A friend, named Mark H. who is president of a large company, once told me, “The Mark H. of yesterday was not capable of running this company today, just as the Mark H. of today will not be capable of running this company tomorrow.”
He knows all about the importance of self-development. But even more important he knows how critical self-awareness is to development. A great life requires healthy self-awareness.
You have to know your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and attributes necessary for your growth. In other words, you have to know what you want and who you are, and the critical relationships between the two. You have to know exactly where to improve.
In this series of blogs we will speak about self-awareness many times. Try the exercises below as a start:
How about you? Try evaluating yourself from two windows: 1) what you like about yourself, and 2) who or what you want to be.
- The first exercise is the hardest. I’d like you to list 5 attributes or habits that describe who you are today. (It’s fair—suggested even—to ask someone else to help you.)
- Second, list 3 attributes you might like to add.
- Then list only 2 things you plan to focus on for the next month that will help you realign your activities to reflect your innermost self.
After you complete the exercises, send me a comment. Please. I’d love to hear.