As children, we love to play make-believe. We pretend to be a fireman, a doctor, or a ballerina. We fantasize about becoming a movie star, a star football player, and of course, a superhero. We love playing grown-up and imagining what we’ll be when we do grow up. (Are you seeing yourself in this picture?)
As we enter early adulthood, our ambitions take on a more serious tone as we contemplate our chosen career — what we want to do and how we want to live our life. The challenge, as we see it, is to make sure our career meets our professional goals and our personal desires as well.
It’s interesting to consider how much time we spend contemplating what we want to do and the lifestyle we desire and yet how little time we spend defining who we want to be.
It’s not what you have but who you are that counts.
Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
You may be thinking, why is that important? First, when you discover who you want to be, those character traits become a priority, etched on your conscience. They will influence your decisions, guide your behavior, and inspire you to achieve your full potential.
Second, if you don’t identify those character traits, those signposts, you’ll never know if you’re on course or working against your best interests. Goals enable you to compare your progress against objectives and to adjust your behavior accordingly. As the famous cliché says, “What gets measured gets done.”
Third, moral standards encourage you to remain on course. When values are top of mind, you may think twice before deviating from them — even if you can get away with it. While you may be able to fool others, you have to answer to a higher authority — your conscience. That alone may dissuade you from veering off track.
In addition, establishing yourself as a person of high moral character will boost your confidence, strengthen your relationships, and bolster your career. It will improve your health, enrich your success, and increase your happiness. Know who you are! You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
The Importance of Knowing Yourself
Here are six valuable benefits to knowing yourself:
Make yourself proud. People won’t respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Set standards of excellence that make the most important person — you — proud.
Achieve inner peace. Be satisfied with what you have and who you are rather than seeking validation or living up to others’ expectations. The result is that you’ll spend more time listening to your inner voice than being sidetracked by others.
Build trust. When you know who you are, your behavior is consistent. This enables others to anticipate your behavior, which helps to build open, honest, and trusting relationships.
Cultivate strong relationships. Know what you stand for. Shared beliefs and values form the heart of every successful relationship and ultimately determine its success.
Keep things in perspective. Focus on what really matters. Possessions age and lose value over time; memories last forever.
Live a purpose-driven life. Follow your North Star. Identify activities that matter most to you and spend the majority of your time and effort in those areas. Cherish every moment and seek to live life without regret.
One day you’ll look back and reflect on your life. You’ll care not only where life has taken you, but how you got there as well. You’ll take great pride in knowing that you set the bar high and pursued your dreams with gusto. You’ll delight in observing that you accomplished great things and did so with honor and grace. You’ll relish the fact that you gave more than you took and helped to make the world a better place. At that point you’ll acknowledge the fact that the real measure of success wasn’t what you accumulated, but what you gave back. When you were a little kid, you fantasized that you were a superhero; now you’ve become one.
How Well Do You Really Know Yourself?
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