Question : If you’re faced with an issue you’re grappling with, do you find that you sometimes use Google or your social media network as your go-to? Whether it is to see what’s out there, to identify best practices, to reach out digitally to others who may be more knowledgeable than you, there’s more comfort in knowing that the answer may be at the click of your mouse.
How often, ask yourself seriously, do you just sit and stew on it, without pulling information or insight externally?
The truth is you have more knowledge and data, so easily accessible, at your fingertips. But if you stop to seriously consider that knowledge is not insight, you then also realise how important it is for you to develop your own judgement of a situation or issue.
Your insight is borne of your own ability to make sense of a situation, to identify and distill what may be discovered or learned. It is also borne of courage to discover what may be and a degree of comfort with the possibility of failure because sometimes, you can take a mistep or get things completely wrong. It is true that in many situations, you simply go along with the thinking and practices that many others embrace. Why? It is one less thing to think about. It requires far less mental anguish and there is comfort in what is familiar.
What’s the truth?
Yet, you strive to be noticed for the work you do. You look for opportunities where you can shine. You get bombarded by so many messages daily. Go left, says one. Go right, says the other. Do more. Do less. Use this strategy, no use that.
It’s easy to just pick one seemingly good idea and then follow. It’s easy to ask someone to lead or just be wrapped up about what they think. It’s also easy to ignore all the messages or ideas altogether and hunker down, maintaining a comfortable baseline.
You know what the truth is? The truth is within. You have the answers. It’s all there within but you need to invest the time, the interest and the energy to discover it, in your own time.
You can get preoccupied with benchmarking against what others are thinking and doing so much so that you fail to do yourself justice. You forget to turn to yourself as a source of insight and like an unused muscle, your ability to think and to form connections between these thoughts – as complicated or as simple as they are – begins to atrophy.
How do you change this?
One step at a time. One day at a time.
Carve out time to think and dream
Take precious time from social media upkeep to allow yourself the opportunity to do nothing. To sit still with time and let yourself perhaps deal with one pressing issue that’s bothering you. To allow yourself to gather thoughts on how you might do things differently, to relook an issue and to gain perspective.
Practice mindfulness – it’s a way to train the mind to pay attention to changes in your internal and external worlds as they happen at the moment. It trains you to focus only on the present moment and to let thoughts pass by with time.
Reduce the need to have every part of the day accounted for
Busyness for its own sake is not something to aspire to, it’s certainly not a medal you need to shout out loud to everyone around as something you hold dear. But this can only happen when you give yourself permission to just be.
Sit easy with no answers, no path, no decision
To explore your own insight is to build a level of comfort with the notion that you know little and that what you know may indeed be wrong. Alongside this, rests the idea that your goal is to discover what’s possible and what’s true and that not only will you be willing to enter unchartered terrain but that you’re at ease with the idea that you may not find what you’re looking for.
Listen to the inner voice
In a world with many heroes, many established success stories and many tried and tested paths, it is challenging indeed to look within to see what you can achieve and what you can do. While many iconic leaders, across both the political or business landscape, have achieved tremendously great things, should your goals be about you becoming more like them?
No, I say your goals should not be about what is outwardly displayed by such leaders or visionaries. Your goal is simple. It is to be the best version of yourself.
And that only happens when you spend the time to get to know your values, your mission and goals and where you would like to go. It only happens when you figure out the things you are passionate about. It is not about followership.
It is about self leadership. It is about leading your own life.
“The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.”
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