Chapter 18 of my First book: Finding Dave. Finding ME. Finding the Authentic ME
CHAPTER 18: Finding Dave. Finding ME. Finding the Authentic ME
When it comes to making and maintaining CHANGE.
They say, that self-awareness, is 9/10th of the Journey.
And, when it comes to successfully undertaking those Journey’s of change.
Supposedly, a better understanding of our WHO (i.e. what makes each of us tick)
is key to choosing the best path forward (i.e. the WHAT we do and HOW we go about doing it).
Hence my focus and fascination with being more self-aware of My WHO.
If you don’t believe me, just ask to take a peek at my workbook.
My WHO are YOU workbook!
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter
and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde
My journey of self-discovery. Filling in the sections of MY WHO are YOU workbook
My Who are YOU, in my case, ME (a.k.a. David Arthur Walker) workbook did not start out as a workbook, but that is where it has ended up. As I mentioned in my blog, “WHO are YOU? The Unique YOU! The Authentic YOU! How well Do YOU know YOU? Sharing MY Top 10 Ways that I got to know ME better” (wow, that is a mouthful) there are now 11 sections (a.k.a. self-assessments and feedback opportunities) in my workbook, and growing. I have had to include a table of contents in order to keep track of them all.
From “playing to my strengths” to “reaching for my dreams” to “not being shy to share my love language”, I have covered a lot of ground and topics since I initially embarked on my journey of self-discovery a little over 4 years ago. I have also taken a lot of self-assessments during that period of time, and by a lot, I mean a LOT. I like to joke that, if I got a nickel for every self-assessment that I have taken, then I would be a millionaire and being a millionaire would certainly add a few points in the financial section of my clean sweep self-assessment score.
All joking aside, although I have not become rich from a financial standpoint from gaining a better understanding of myself through my journey of self-discovery, I am a lot better off in many other ways. And that is a good thing, because I have come to the realization that my journey of self-discovery, is a journey that will continue for the rest of my life, as I continue to change along with the changing times and situations and people who are part of that life.
But this journey of self-discovery, and all the self-assessments and time spent reflecting and discussing the results of them with others, all started out with a simple personality test. As previously mentioned, until I was called out by one of my program leaders at my former employer, I had somehow come under the mistaken belief that I was someone that I was not. My true personality was almost the polar opposite of what I had thought it was at that time. Talk about not feeling comfortable in one’s own skin. I did not even know what my own skin was.
Not having a good handle on my own preferences and communication style impacted, not only the way that I interacted with others, but also the way in which I interacted with myself, and the type of activities that I would invest my time in. Talk about an eye opener. Talk about gaining some insights on myself from a self-assessment. An Ah-ha moment as we like to call them in coaching. And talk about good timing. It was about a year before I was about to undertake another period of self-reflection on the career front. In hindsight, when push came to shove, and I was trying to decide on whether I would stay or whether I would go from my current role and employer, I can’t tell you how much more comfortable I felt knowing that I had a pretty good sense of what made me tick.
Wow! What can I say! Self-discovery and self-assessments. I became such a believer in the power of better understanding one’s preferences and communication styles, and those of the other people that we interact with, that I actually ended up becoming accredited on one of the tools, and I started developing and delivering sessions on the concept. Ironically enough, connecting with others turned out to a very important part of my personality. One which I only really realized when I finally decide to connect with myself, starting with, you guessed it, a self-assessment. Self-discovery and self-assessments. Bring them on!
January 2016. Finding MY GPS. It only took me a year
Now that I had discovered, or maybe re-discovered, MY person (a.k.a. my personality and preferences) I was ready to tackle some more dimensions of ME, and my foundational coaching courses provided me the perfect opportunity to do so. I still remember one of my first classes, when we discussed the concept of values. When we discussed the importance of one’s values, one’s unique and authentic values. They were described as being our GPS. They would help guide us on our life journeys by keeping us on the straight and narrow, or at least, guiding us back to our chosen route whenever we venture off in the wrong direction. Sounds good to me. Is there a self-assessment that I can use to find out what mine are? Turns out there were many. Just google it, and you will have hundreds, if not thousands, to choose from. I know. I did it. I tried a few. Some resonated and some did not. In the end, I ended up making a few of my own tools to help me out.
I have mentioned that I love movies. Well, I used one approach where I tried to associate myself with characters in scenes from some of my favourite movies. One of them was from a scene from a James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. Toward the end of the movie, he lets down his armour and expresses his feelings to the character played by Eva Green. To me, here was an example of a pretty tough guy sharing his emotions, which in turn helped me feel a bit more comfortable in sharing mine, even though I was a guy. Not a tough guy like James Bond, but a guy nonetheless. Another example was the father in the movie Parenthood” as played by Steve Martin. His devotion to his children just reminded me so much of how important my children were as a part of my life.
I also came up with another approach as well, and, if you guessed that it involved a Top 10 List, then you guessed right. I wanted to come up with MY Top 10 Values. I had done a similar exercise in the past, but I found that there were not enough values to choose from, so I reached out to my fellow coaches and I came up with a list of 500 which soon became 502. Well, long story short. I was able to get it down to a Top 100 and then a Top 25 and then a Top 10, each of which would change, as I reflected upon them, and shared them with others who knew me. I am not sure how many times my Top 10 Values list changed, but it took me about a year until I finally firmed up my list. Don’t forget, I was discovering and changing a lot during that period. Good thing that I had decided to build my tool in excel. That way, it would be easier to change and update.
Yikes! Talk about a lot of self-reflection and connecting with others. So much for the quick tool kit and 6 weeks of accompanying self-help webinars that are often advertised. And I still had a whole set of tools and concepts to explore i.e. My boundaries, MY needs, My leadership Style. etc. Yikes! Still some work to do. Some more work to do on myself. Whoever said that it takes time and effort to make and maintain change seems to know what they are talking about. Yikes! Oh, well, at least I am having fun while I do it.
Oh! And by the way! Guess which values came in as my Top TWO (from a list of 502)? Drum roll please! FAMILY (from the Steve Martin film) came in as value #1. And, Value #2? It turns out it was Growth, Learning and Growth. Wow! Growth! And that from someone who was so scared to come out of his comfort zone, not that long ago, that he had stopped growing. More like stopped living! Wow! No wonder I was in such a dark place back in those nasty days. In hindsight, it would appear that Captain Comfort zone was not adding a whole lot of VALUE to my life back then. I am optimistic that Captain Courageous will. And if he can’t, I can always call on James Bond.
March 13, 2016. Who are YOU? Don’t forget to expand your lens and validate it.
As I shared earlier in my story, it was one of the partners at my previous employer, who first helped me connect, with the side of me that likes connecting and inspiring others. He was instrumental in helping me better understand me, or, as we refer to it in the coaching world, expand my lens on better understanding WHO I was. Expanding my lens, and increasing my level of self-confidence, that I was embarking on a path that aligned with me and where I wanted to go. Remember, I still had not figured out my GPS (i.e. Values) in those days, so obtaining feedback from others on how they perceived me, was very helpful during that period. The period in which I made my big decision to transition from employee to entrepreneur.
It was around that time (i.e. starting up my own business time) that I decided to reach out to others to help me, once again, gain a better understanding of myself. In this case I was looking for some feedback on something that was a bit of a new concept to me back then, and that was MY BRAND. My personal brand (i.e. WHO is this David Arthur Walker Guy?). In the past, my employer, and my employer’s business, often influenced me when it came time to coming up with who I thought I was on the branding side of things i.e. I am a consultant for one of the largest professional services firms in the world.
Now, here I was, both employee and employer. Yikes. What to do? Well luckily for me, around that time, I had decided, as part of my sabbatical, to enrol in a series of webinars that were meant to help people like me launch their business. One of the exercises was to come up with our personal brands, and a little elevator pitch to go along with it. So, I got busy taking a pass at mine, and before you knew it, I had a few dozen of them to choose from, but I could never nail it down to one. I kept revisiting and revising them, and tweeking them, this way and that way. I even ended up in an elevator with a former colleague at one point, and when he asked me what I was up to these days, I totally panicked and blew it. Yikes! So much for my elevator pitch.
So, when, as part of that on-line course, the suggestion was made to us to reach out to others for feedback on how they perceived us, as a way of gaining a better understanding of ourselves, and in developing our brands, and elevator pitches, I was all for it. I had nothing to lose. Worse case, no one would answer back. So, reach out I did, using a tool which was named, appropriately enough, REACH.
I reached out to my former colleagues, and peers, and to my friends. The resulting feedback, which was anonymous, seemed to back up what that partner, and the others, had been telling me when I first decided to leave and start my own business in the first place. Wow! How cool was that! Talk about helping me shape my brand and my confidence in myself and ultimately, my pitch. Thanks for the insights and feedback folks!
Oh! And, what was that feedback? In this case, with this particular tool, it appeared that my “Brand Persona” seemed to bode well for the coaching and storytelling service offerings that I was exploring. According to those around me, my Top 3 ranked brand personas were “#1, the Evangelist: Someone who quickly inspires those around them with their fervor. #2, the Truth-teller: Someone who is honest. Those around them know they can trust what they say. And #3, the Self-Starter: They have the energy and drive within themselves to make things happen”. Wow cool. And, MY #1 leadership competency? “Inspiring. Which includes such attributes as activating, inspiring, nurturing, empowering and developing others.” How cool is that!
Oh! And (Yes, one more Oh!), what did I come up with as my elevator pitch? Here you go:
“INSPIRING, EMPOWERING and ACCOMPANYING my clients, readers and audiences in making and maintaining positive changes in their lives by helping them make those changes EASYer on themselves!”
May 2017. ENTP. You are an Entrepreneur, Not!
In addition to the courage that I received from the feedback from the others, and from my own self-refection on my authentic self, there was one other item that gave me a little more of a boost of self-confidence as I was about to embark upon my transition from employee to entrepreneur, and it came as a bit of a surprise to me at the time. It turned out that my personality type, according to someone who claimed to be familiar with the MBTI 16 personality type assessment, was that of an ENTREPRENEUR. Wow. How cool was that! It had taken me this long to find that out? Oh well, once again, better late than never. So, off I went. Off went the entrepreneur to start his new business.
Well. I received another surprise about a year and a half later. It turns out that my MBTI personality, ENTP, was not that of an entrepreneur. ESTP is the entrepreneur. My source had inverted a letter somewhere along the way. Turns out, that I was the “Debater” personality. Oops! Supposedly entrepreneurs like “living on the edge”. Yikes! That was not me. My biggest fear, like many others, was on the financial side of things (i.e. money to pay the rent and eat). Living on the edge did not appeal to me one bit. As far as I was concerned, the faster that I can get my business up and running, the better.
Oh well, too late now. I will be closing in on two years before you know it. Good thing that, from what I am reading, not everyone has to be a true entrepreneur to start their own business. Anyways, too late for me now. I will let you know how it goes, maybe in another book, maybe in a couple of years. After all, they say it takes about five years to set up and maintain a new business. I still have some ways to go, but for now, I am having fun. I am also learning and growing more than I have at any point in my life and, as I pointed out earlier, that is one thing that I really VALUE, a LOT. How cool is that!
So, What did I learn?
How did I make change EASYer on myself 😊 (or not ☹)
Ever heard of the concept of playing to YOUR strengths? How about taking that concept to a much broader and more powerful level by playing to YOUR YOU (a.k.a. YOUR WHO). The real YOU! The Authentic YOU! Playing to YOU. My hypothesis, which I have been testing out on Myself for the past few years, is that it is EASYer to be YOU, the more YOU get to know YOU! 😊. After all, it is pretty hard to be authentic if you don’t really know you. And, don’t forget to keep at it. Remember, the only constant is change. Your situation will change and so will the people that you are spending time with.
And, speaking of people that we spend time with. Once again. Thanks for the feedback on MY ME folks (a.k.a. all of YOU who provided me with my feedback). I am blessed to have such a caring and supportive group of colleagues and friends. Oh, and let’s not forget, thanks to ME for having taken the initiative to get to know MYself better in the first place. Remember it all starts with YOU, or in my case, with ME.
That was all about me. What about YOU?What are you doing to make your journey of change EASYer on YOU? 😊 (or not ☹)
Who are you?
And just as importantly, are you playing to your real and authentic you?
LOOKING FOR SUPPORT FOR YOUR JOURNEY?