If you missed my last few posts, in those, we discussed the first 5 steps of the 10 Steps to Meaningful Change. In case you don’t have the time to go back and read about steps 1-5, here’s a brief recap:
Step 1. Have an Honest, Deep, Heart-to-Heart with Yourself – Ask yourself if you’re making you a priority. Are you accomplishing what you need to accomplish for you?
Step 2. Make a Dreams List – Think big. What would you love to do in life?
Step 3. Stop Dreaming and Start Doing – I asked you to make a list of up to 3 meaningful, obtainable, life goals.
Step 4. Ask Yourself: What’s Stopping Me From Pursuing My Dreams and Goals – Make a list of the major obstacles in your life, both internal and external.
Step 5 – Take “The Beach Ball True Me Self-Assessment” – Step 5 involves identifying the most important realizations about yourself in four major categories: Values, Strengths, Weaknesses, Geniuses
Today, we’ll discuss Steps 6, 7, and 8.
Step 6 – Value Your Values
Identifying your true values is important work, actually staying true to your values is the hard part, and a necessary ingredient in the quest to achieve meaningful change. You can’t have your values tucked away in the corner of your mind waiting to one day tap into them. You need to put your values at the forefront of your decision-making process. Ask yourself whenever possible, “Am I staying true to what is important to me, and am I taking action that will reward me in the ways that I want to be rewarded?” If you aren’t putting your values first, then you won’t take the action necessary to achieve the things that are meaningful to you.
Each of us is motivated into action based upon different values. For example, if you are given a special project at work, you should be motivated (unmotivated) to excel at the project because of your value system, not someone else’s. The different behavioral motivators should be based upon the different personal values that you have. In this example, you might work hard to excel based upon seeking approval, public recognition, career advancement, financial reward, or because of fear for your job, the need to please others, or to feel valuable to the team. Conversely, you might be motivated to not tackle this extra project for any number of valid reasons, but those should be based upon your values, as well.
Remember to focus on what is important to you. If you value acceptance more than financial reward, then allow yourself the freedom to seek acceptance and don’t fake being motivated into action by a boss that tries to fire you up via financial incentives. If you value self-reliance more than teamwork, then allow yourself the freedom to rely on yourself. If you’re doing things to appease others’ value systems, change your approach. By valuing your values, you will be properly motivated to take meaningful, personal, action.
Step 7 – Understand Your Limiting Factors
Limiting factors can be external or internal, but in order to us to change, we need to focus on the internal limiting factors, because we can more easily control those. It is important to accept that you can be limited by both your strengths and your weaknesses. In sports, for example, true champions have to strike the right balance between exploiting their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. If an athlete focuses too much on fixing their weaknesses, they could lose command of their strengths. Similarly, if the athlete only works on improving the things they are good at, then their weaknesses could more easily hurt them.
You have already identified your strengths and weaknesses. In order to effect meaningful change in yourself, you need make sure that you employ the things you’re good at, and eliminate the things you’re not good at, but you also need to make sure that neither are getting in the way of you doing the things you need to do to achieve your goals. Don’t worry about getting organized if your disorganization is not really hampering your progress. Don’t rely on your strong sense of creativity if the task at hand requires a strictly analytical approach. In order to effect meaningful change in your life, you need to minimize all of the limiting factors. Utilize your strengths, avoid your weaknesses, but don’t let either limit the changes you need to make in yourself.
Step 8 – Leverage Your Geniuses
Strengths and weaknesses are one things, but geniuses are another thing entirely. In Step 5, you identified the things that you do better than anybody you know. If you’re a natural born leader, are you always putting yourself in a position to lead? If your level of commitment is unmatched, are you spending your time on worthwhile endeavors? If you have the best and most positive attitude ever in life, are you surrounding yourself with enough people to influence?
If you could be a successful business owner, an amazing artist, a world-class coach, the best conflict resolution expert, or the most compassionate community leader, are you leveraging your genius? Are you utilizing your best and strongest qualities to your maximum benefit in life? Are you doing what you should be doing?
In Steps 1-5, we got to know to ourselves better. In steps 6-8, we need to use that knowledge. Steps 9 and 10 will wrap up the process in order to make sure you continue on the path towards meaningful change.
As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions. Please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org