We all have certain things we value; things we consider important to us in the way we live or work. Our values tend to determine our priorities in life and will often be the yardstick we use to measure whether or not our lives are turning out the way we want them to. Many times, they will govern our expectations when relating with others and even how we treat those we connect with.
The late Maya Angelou was right when she said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I cannot count the number of times this quote has come to my rescue when dealing with difficult situations.
Inspired by the late Business Philosopher, Jim Rohn, many years ago, I set an intention to always do my best to leave people, places and things better than I find them. This has made a world of difference to how I work, live and communicate, especially whenever the temptation arises to act otherwise.
At different points in our lives, we all have things we value highly. They represent our unique and individual essence, our ultimate and most fulfilling form of expression and relation. At the point in my life when I set the intention mentioned above, I had come to the awareness that one of my top values in life is ‘value for people’. This value serves as a compass pointing out what it means to be true to myself in life and businesses.
I was considered a ‘sensitive’ child and would often become pensive or cry if someone I loved was hurt or someone hurt me. Much to my amusement, it made adults worry about my future ability to make it in life because apparently, “the world is tough and you need to toughen up!” There is widespread societal or cultural conditioning that sensitivity and strength cannot stand side by side.
It takes great courage to be gentle in a world that equates aggression to strength. – @noreenmakosewe
Despite this sensitivity, I was quite a confident kid and willing to fight back in playgrounds to defend myself which threw bullies off a little bit because they didn’t expect any retaliation from a seemingly quiet and introverted girl.
As I got to my late teens, the “You’re too sensitive!” comments followed me and sometimes made it difficult to interact with my more extroverted peers. I developed a stance of being assertive, which came across as aggressive, and I knew deep down that it wasn’t really who I was. I started guarding that sensitivity with silence and decided to travel down the road of self-awareness not to find myself but to shut out the external voices and to learn how to communicate my truth with clarity and confidence.
Whilst on this journey of self-awareness, I took a self-discovery test as part of an annual appraisal/review at my first corporate job. The test, StrengthsFinder®, brought on the wonderful realisation that THAT sensitivity, which many had considered a weakness, was actually a key strength; one of my top five of thirty-four strengths. Created by research-based, global performance-management consulting company, Gallup, StrengthsFinder® describes this sensitivity as connectedness. CLICK HERE to read the description in full.
That connectedness had influenced how I related with people at every age, how I prioritised work and the goals and dreams I set for the future. This knowledge would later serve to guide me in making important decisions about my career and would eventually help me realise my passion for business strategy, leadership and philanthropy.
FREE Self-Awareness Assessment
Have you ever felt like things in your life have shifted and what used to matter has also changed? Have you wondered why you care about certain things those around you don’t care much about or why you are drawn to specific job roles? Have you wondered why you are drawn to certain personalities or causes more than others? Would you like to gain more clarity on what is important to you at this point in your life and how you can use that to drive your goals and dreams this year?
Here’s a short exercise that will help you raise your self-awareness so you can make informed decisions about where in your life you would like to change or grow. The assessment is simple to do but does require some soul-searching. Once completed you will receive a copy of it via email. Feel free to share the link with people you believe will benefit from it.