Monday, September 30, 2013

Inquiring about yourself? Some reflections of the notion of self…

As a leader a large part of your time is expended on others, and the time you have with ‘your self’ can be quite brief. I invite you into some ‘me’ time…grab a coffee and take 10 minutes to consider:

  • ‘Who am I?...Who am I …really?”
  • ‘What should I do with my life?”
  • ‘Who or what do I want to become?”
  • ‘What is the right thing to do?”

Ok so these are fundamental existential questions, they are about your identify and sense of direction and purpose in life. The offer to consider these in 10 minutes could be unrealistic because as humans we ask ourselves these questions on and off throughout our life. Central to each of us is the concern for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. If you are about to take a lunch break I invite you to grab your lunch and consider:

  • Does your sense of self work for you?
  • If you are a self, then how did you get to be the self you think you are?
  • It is possible for you to be a different self? 
  • How would your life be different if you were a different self?
Some head spinning questions here that can throw you into a space of nothingness. However if you do not engage in an inquiry about ‘self’ you may take ‘self’ for granted. You may be blind to your own blindness about what you think of your self. If you are not willing to consider the possibility that you are blind in this area of your life you may well put limitations of your self and those you lead.

You may downplay your positive traits which can mean you give off a negative spin to something that is objectively good. This notion of your self is created in your language. According to Truett Anderson

‘By self I mean the person that you construct with words and with the help of people around you. The human being is always changing, has no clear boundaries and cannot be described fully. The self craves stability, has a strong sense of boundaries and maintains its existence through a continuous act of descriptions. Your self takes over your consciousness so that you come to equate it with the human being that you are. You describe yourself by using language to identify with various things- your nationality, your profession, your place in the family”.

Sieler argues that the fundamental concept of the self can be seen as a story that you use to make sense of your ‘beingness’ as a human. However consider…the self is not a phenomenon which exists as an independent and absolute reality, your self is not fixed, permanent and unchanging, the self as a process of continual change reinvention and becoming and some time we have no self or egolessness.

Maybe take the weekend to consider “How well do the stories you hold of your self serve you as a leader?”

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