This post is inspired by this short and fascinating article.
In the last months, I’ve been searching a lot about goals vs habits, and behaviours vs identity.
I started this quest because I struggle with goals. I tried many strategies, methodologies, tools without cracking the code of this limit.
Until I started focusing on habits instead of goals. Creating patterns is definitely more in tune with how I operate, and it helped me improve in many aspects of my life. Still, sticking to some habits has been and still is harder than others.
The next shift in my quest was realising that only when my habits are in synch with who I am, I can be more consistent and create significant results.
These are my learnings so far.
Your identity informs your behaviours.
The starting point is the WHO, not the WHAT or the HOW. Once you have clarity about who you are (“I am a writer”), then you can design your goals or habits (depending on what works better with you) as a way to become more of who you are (“I am a writer because I write every day”).
Unfortunately, at least for me, this is not enough to really create an impact in my life.
Your behaviours shape or reinforce your identity.
To know what to do is not the same as doing what you know. Once you have clarity about who you are and you have designed your goals or habits, you need to infuse discipline in your practice.
That means creating the structure that will support your newly designed behaviours. Over time these identity-based behaviours will shape and reinforce your identity, that in turn will infuse more energy in your behaviours creating a positive growing loop.
There is something no one can give me or teach me.
Yes, there a lot of beautiful visions out there I could embrace.
There are charismatic people I could follow.
But my purpose is something unique.
Something I need to feel before I know it.
It’s not easy, not for me at least.
My rational mind wants to find a logic in my purpose, a connection to reality so I can transform it into actions.
And my emotional mind seeks gratification and a sense of belonging in that same purpose. So, I keep exploring connections with other people purposes.
All this effort can get in the way.
It can clog my life with doing.
Seeking connections with reality and others, I weaken the relationship with myself.
So, I have to pause and take a deep breath.
Only when I am in connection with myself, I can feel my purpose.
To empower means to give (someone) the authority or power to do something. Or, more broadly, to make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
Being able to empower others is often listed among the pillars of an effective leader.
When we empower someone we are giving the same power we have. An empowered person gains control over her work or life.
In organisations, empowering everyone is a crucial ingredient to create a democratic and flat organisation. One in which, everyone raises to the same level creating co-leadership.
Though, there is a fascinating paradox in empowerment.
When we, as leaders, are empowering others, somehow we are elevating ourselves one layer above them. They may have now the power to do something, but we are the ones who gave them the power. So, we are still above them, and they have less power than we have.
Isn’t that through the empowerment of others we are in reality reinforcing our own power?
What would change if instead of empowering others we create the space in which they can awaken their inner power by themselves?
Have you ever heard of a product called VantaBlack?
It’s a paint developed in the United Kingdom, and it is one of the darkest substances known. It can absorb up to 99.6% of the light.
If you search for it on youtube, you’ll find a video in which the creators show a mask painted with this material.
If you look at the object from the front, you just see a flat black surface, like a hole in the space. The mask has no shape, no depth, no form. Only when the camera moves to the side, you can see that the object is not flat.
This is because our eyes use lights and shadows to understand the shape of things.
That video reminds me of the importance of having different perspectives. Sometimes, we get stuck into one view, and we become blind to the richness of what we are looking at.
People, situations, problems.
To be able to perceive their depth and their substance, we need to embrace different perspectives.
We can shift the lights or move to a new point of view.
Only seeking multiple perspectives, we can see the wholeness in everything and everyone.
Energy flows where attention goes.
You probably read this quote in many books and articles.
If you ever rode a motorbike, you undoubtedly experienced how the bike follows your gaze. If you look at the obstacle, you will hit it.
If you watch a professional motorsport race, you will notice how the riders and drivers are always looking where they want to go and not where they are going.
So, where are you putting your attention?
More and more I see on social media people complaining against obscure big enemies or crying about big humanity problems about which there is nothing they can do.
As a result, their energy goes consumed by rage or wasted in words without actions.
What would happen if every person put all the attention in something maybe smaller but doable? That energy would create an impact, albeit small, that will make a difference.
And you know, even the biggest ocean is made of drops of water.
This is fascinating.
I picked a BeTheChange card this morning.
One that says “Being Creative by BEING who you are”.
This card is an invitation to explore my bigger me.
It challenges me to think about when I’m most of who I am.
I started writing about the quest for who we are.
But words weren’t flowing.
I wrote and rewrote each sentence.
Until I realised that I wasn’t me.
Sometimes, the search for something can take us away for that same thing that we are looking for.
Like in this case.
In my desire to find the real me I was walking away from it.
My bigger who is not in the answer.
It lives and expresses itself in the question.