Don’t Hoard Your Self-Awareness

It’s become a month of visioning within our community, from our current Collective small group to our large group experiences, folks are ready to stop “just plowing ahead” and want to find an intentional and guided path forward on their career journey.

And we love it.

If you’ve been around these parts long enough, you know that Flank 5 Academy is all about starting with self-awareness as a way to get to a vision, an ideal future, a way of working that is aligned with who you are – the stuff that yields that juicy long-term happiness (hint: you’ve got to have a higher purpose) versus the pleasure-inducing short-lived happiness (quick hits of success, accolades or experiences)

Self-awareness being shared at October's (RE)CONNECT event.
Self-awareness being shared at October’s (RE)CONNECT event. (Photo credit: Maureen Kennedy, Collective alumna)

But it’s not enough to be self-aware – and while journaling is a great place to start – the real clarity comes from sharing what you learn about your core ideology and your ideal future with others.

Chade-Meng Tau, Google engineer, self-described Jolly Good Fellow and co-founder of Google’s Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute agrees: “Values and higher purpose are fairly abstract topics and the act of verbalizing them forces us to make them clearer and more tangible to ourselves.”

Getting clear is critical. To get started on your own vision, we invite you to start with a method Tau offers in his (charming and incredibly accessible) book, Search Inside Yourself. Start with the question, “What do I stand for?” What are those core values that drive you – that motivate you – that are non-negotiable in your work? Make a list. Check it twice, and check it against your activities day to day. If you value justice, how are you exhibiting this value on an average Tuesday?

And if you’re not, would you like to? How could you take it upon yourself to introduce it into your orbit?

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business offers great worksheets to take this a step further too.  

Once you’ve done some cataloguing, why not ask others – then – “What do I stand for?” See if there’s alignment – see if there’s something you might be missing, or if you’ve got too much on your list (a list of six is easier than a list of three). Share what you’ve come up with – and what ideas may spark as a result of sharing.

Once you’ve done this, you’re on your way to your ideal future (disclaimer: one with a higher purpose, not one where you’re happy all the time).