Have you ever felt like you’re not really operating in your zone, at your peak performance? You’re working hard, you’re successful, and yet at the end of the day you don’t really feel fulfilled and you aren’t sure why.
For me, the answer was yes. But why?
It didn’t make sense. I was working hard and my performance set records. My peers and the company I worked for considered me successful. I sometimes felt like something was missing but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I didn’t want to ask anyone else because I felt like I should be able to figure it out and I didn’t want to disrupt what I was doing.
Even as I said ‘yes’ to more of what I was doing, something inside of me was nudging me ‘no’.
Start With Why?
I studied Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking book Start With Why. In it he says: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” (Hi Lisa – I’m putting the links to what I’ve hyperlinked throughout the post separately in case its easier for you https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action/transcript?language=en) I agree. I’m in sales. People make decisions from their emotions. I began to do the purpose exercise he recommended, and something awakened in me.
How can I gain clarity on my why, my purpose, if I don’t understand myself first?
How can I connect to something so powerfully that it drives how I live my life and how I lead others, if I don’t know how I connect?
I came up with: Before you Start With Why, Start With Who – You!
In order for me to gain clarity on why I believed in something, I first needed to understand – for me I realized it was I needed to actually discover – WHO I AM.
The #1 thing holding me back from knowing what was missing in my life was knowing me.
As I began studying me, I became aware of times when I was surprised by how I had reacted to a situation. My emotions seemed to hijack me – to come out of nowhere – and may not have been the best for the situation I was in. I also realized that in those times, I wasn’t able to stay open to possibilities. I began to see clearly when I was operating in my zone, when I was at my peak performance.
A friend of mine introduced me to an acronym for the word F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real. When we know who we are and are connected with our ‘why’, there is no room for false evidence.
When we live our lives through the emotions that accurately serve us, we:
- Make conscious choices about how we think, feel, and act, knowing how to most successfully relate with others.
- Have clarity on our ‘why’. Our connection to it creates our boundaries and supports our choices. It serves as guideposts lighting our path forward and guardrails when something disrupts us, so we don’t react without thought through emotions that may not serve us.
I began searching to understand what’s behind the way I think, feel and act, how I lead myself and how I relate with others. It’s the self-awareness and self-knowledge that are both vital aspects of Emotional Intelligence (https://hbrascend.org/topics/the-five-components-of-emotional-intelligence-at-work/).
My curiosity led me to an amazing resource that teaches us our natural way of looking at the world. It shows us how we naturally think, feel and act from a place of choice when things are going well and how we naturally react seemingly without thought under times of stress. What’s even better is it gives us the pathway to becoming our authentically best selves. We’re able to connect with our ‘why’, open ourselves to possibilities, achieve our potential, and feel great about ourselves.
This resource is the Enneagram.
What is the Enneagram?
It’s been reported the Enneagram originated more than 2,000 years ago. It was brought into our modern use in the 1960’s (https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/the-traditional-enneagram). It’s been called a roadmap to who we really are, a valuable resource for insights into our self-discovery and personal awareness, and a powerful resource for understanding how to effectively relate and communicate with those around us.
Very briefly, the Enneagram identifies nine interconnected personality types – the ways we naturally see the world and manage our emotions. Each of us has one type we identify with most dominantly and we also have characteristics of some of the other types. The Enneagram shows us who we are and guides us how to become our best version of our selves.
Imagine the possibilities with this roadmap of who we are:
- We choose our thoughts, feelings and actions.
- We gain clarity and connection with our why so we move – not just in any direction – in the right direction for our success and fulfillment.
- Team members know how to successfully access the motivations, thoughts, and creativity of each other, making sure the team has the diversity of perspective to support achieving its goals.
- Organizations have a fully engaged workforce with strong retention. According to Gallup’s recent State of the Workplacereport, 85% of employees are either unengaged or actively disengaged.
- Engaged employees are more likely to stay at the company where they’re working, saving companies time and effort that can be applied to growth and success. It costs approximately 20% of an employee’s salary to replace them. US employers are spending $2.9M per day – $1.1B/year looking for replacement employees.
Tell me More
There are a number of assessments that introduce you to your preferences, your skills and gaps, and your personality. When I took my first Enneagram assessment, it was almost eerie. I felt like someone had been following me around. It was spot on and introduced me to both me at the highest expression of who I am as well as my shadow side – the less desirable aspects of my personality. For years now, it’s been providing me with the self-knowledge that keeps me successfully moving in the right direction for my success and fulfillment.
I’m sharing some resources to introduce you to the Enneagram. I’ve found the paid versions of the assessments are more thorough and insightful.
More detailed introductions to the Enneagram:
Free and paid assessment options:
Thorough assessment option:
If you have any questions or if I can help you on your journey of self-knowledge, let’s start a conversation.
I created a complimentary guide, Ten Questions to Eliminate What’s Missing in Your Life and Begin Living Your Best Life, that invites you into the consideration of what doesn’t feel quite right for you. Discover how to begin moving in the right direction – not just any direction – to live your best life feeling great about yourself, satisfied with your success, and fulfilled by your positive impact. Download it by clicking HERE.
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