“Puzzling story, eye-catching game,
Tell you the truth if you give me your name.
Yet, I keep you all in the dark for a while
Until I disclose my artistic style.”
Values guide our actions as they stand as the blueprint of life. They are a good predictor of how our life is going to turn out, what kind of people we are going to surround ourselves with or even what kind of profession we are more inclined to follow. Values are not only about who you are, but about who you want to be and who you are becoming. Hence, by knowing this, people adapt existing unhealthy values and nurture healthy ones in order to benefit from them on the long run. My advice here would be for one to try to take values as a guide rather than a box checking exercise. Defining priorities should come next followed by supporting actions, else we will not escape self-judgement as this does not come with setting intentions only, but with taking actions. If we are to look at an example, if you have identified wellness as a value, then the active pursuit of health would become a priority in your life, followed by little actions in the same direction (for example, eating healthy, exercising, meditating).
Comfort zone is a big enemy, yet the unknown is not. When you name it, you can tame it. People are usually reluctant to change due to many reasons, among which the fear of failure, of criticism, of judgement. They don’t realize that life is like a roller coaster that has ups & downs and that the most frightening slopes they too shall be overcome. Change can also lead one to achieve a childhood dream, discover the true potential, leave space to ardent wishes to manifest. No matter how disruptive or distressing change can be, the more you resist it, the more it persists. One should always allow for personal adjustments to fit life, because this is how life will also adjust to fit them. There are things one might lose if they change; but there are also things they might lose if they don’t. In between wanting to change and the fear of the unknown, one only has to stand still and listen. One has to choose change to not have to deal with change. In order for nothing to change, everything has to change. People ask God to change the situation they are in, not knowing that He put them in the situation to change them.
Change is part of our lives and each of us react different to it. Some freeze and others thrive. Some fears are based on what we know, like (in my case) fear of flying bugs because my experience tells me that they are gross and that some can sting, and this kind of fears can protect us from real life-threatening events. Other fears are based on the unknown: fear of not passing an exam, of not getting a job, of being rejected by a romantic partner. How can that be if we have never experienced that in the past? Yes, we might have failed an exam, but that was on a different subject. Yes, we might have not raised at the employer’s expectation during one job interview (or two) but we weren’t as prepared as today. And, in case of a failed romance, the timing might not have been right. So, what can one do to deal with this kind of fear? Well, first you have to ensure you understand where it comes from: is it the lack of predictability, is it the lack of control, or is it the lack of knowledge. Second, you have to assess ways to overcome it: whether it would be of any help to gather more information, or to ask other people who have already gone through that situation, to start with taking little steps towards that direction. And third, you should build a relationship with fear by changing body language to counteract fear and practice talking with the things that scare you, rather than protecting yourself from them.
Protection comes in different forms and shapes and decreases one’s exposure to physical or emotional attacks. From my understanding, being human is wired with being vulnerable. Still, when telling one’s life story, failure and shame still do not make it through the director’s cut. If you Google vulnerability today, the first results are about system weaknesses and system errors. Nobody wants the information leakage in the virtual world, yet, without this happening, you cannot detect the flaw in the system. If we are to translate this into the real world, we cannot get to the root of the problem unless being vulnerable. Without vulnerability, people struggle to bring their best forward and trusting one another. Collaboration and productivity suffer. The lowest common denominator becomes the norm. Your message should convey your purpose. It should be authentic, highly personal and expertise based. Building authentic relationships is based on a few important principles: start with the right intent in mind, build vulnerability and connection by sharing information, listen with full intention and attention, consider things that are important to the other person, be emotionally intelligent and mindful of labels.
Ofttimes, we mix up between two essential questions “who am I in reality” and “whom am I posing as”. Navigating choices of what to do to show up as your authentic self might not be easy on the short run given that we live in a society that labels whoever steps out of the crowd. But what I think society judges is not the sparks of authenticity, but the lack of coherence. Having the society witness our transformation is one, but having it witness a 180-degree personality make-over is what makes eyebrows raise and question marks arise. That would be like stepping into somebody else’s shoes without trying them first. Being your own brand is having a unique identity and a coherent message that sets you apart from others. Your personal brand goes beyond the screen to how you actually carry yourself in real life. Becoming an authority in a field comes with responsibility once your message reaches a large audience and influences people’s lives. Your message should be an elevator pitch that shortly and concisely conveys who you are, what you do, how you can be of service. Building a true narrative is probably the most effective personal branding strategy that leads to everlasting legacy.
Transformation is about changes and can be found in nature, in cartoons, in pasta. Transformation is about using what you have and have it undergone a certain process in order to become what it is meant to. So, how do we translate that to humans? The 1st thing to asses is where you are and where you want to get in life. The 2nd would be the process of getting there: behaviors or beliefs needed to be tweaked in order to lead to new results in your life. Among these, I shall name a few: patience is required as transitions take time, keeping yourself inspired but realistic, expanding your comfort zone not necessarily challenging it, witnessing your progress although not linear, accessing your humanity by cheering yourself up. As Skittles would say it: follow the outcome, catch the outcome, taste the outcome.
With this in mind, I shall let you reflect on a question at your own time:
“How does the best version of you look like?”.