In this video, the viewer learns how to become self-aware. He examines his life story; he identifies the crucibles he has had to endure.
- The essence of understanding yourself and the key to being an authentic leader is knowing your life story. Knowing where you come from, who you are, what's your ethnic background? What are the values you were raised with from your parents, and all those people that influenced you, your coaches, your teachers, and knowing your own values, your own belief set, and the principles you lead your life by. That's really the importance of your life story, and so let's dig into that further. One of the ways to do this, one exercise that I would encourage you to try to really understand your life story is to have a life time.
Start with age zero to say every four years until your current age, or every eight years, however you want to do it, and plot the high points and low points in your life. Maybe when you did well in school, maybe when you got to start on your high school basketball team, or you won a tennis match, or you met your first love, your first girlfriend. These might be your high points. What are the low points? You felt you got rejected by a girlfriend. You feel you got turned down. You violated your own values. You got in trouble in school. You got a bad grade and you felt shame.
Those are the low points, and as you go through life, those compound and become more important. You didn't get into the college you want. That's not a death sentence, but some people feel it is. It's not, I can assure you, but those are the low points. What are those things when you felt really bad? Like I felt really bad when I lost seven elections in a row, and that put me right down to the pit, because I felt like I was being rejected. You know, I carry that today, the fear of being rejected and getting a bad evaluation when I'm teaching.
Or I meet a group of people and somebody doesn't like me. I take that very sensibly, so in some ways these things never go away, but if you take your whole life and plot your life line and understand the high points and low points, you start to understand, what are the motivations, what are the things that are important to you? Both in the high points and the low points, and why do you consider that a high point? Why do you consider it a low point? Maybe it was an achievement. Does it really matter that you got first in your class, or you got an A on a test? Does that really matter in the end? Or is it who you are as a person? So think about some of the deeper things.
Times you violated your own values. Times you really hurt another person. Those might be some of your low points as well, and plot those out, and then look deeply at them. Look for the lowest low points you've had. That's what we call your greatest crucibles of your life, and when you understand that, that's when you're at the essence and the marrow of life, and the things that really make you who you are today. You would think, well the negatives don't make me who they are. Actually they have a big influence because a lot of your fears come out of that.
My example of losing seven elections in a row was a time when I started to gain more self-awareness, because until I understood why I was turning people off, why I was being rejected, okay I had a fear of being rejected, but until I understood why I was being rejected, I really couldn't go back and deal with that, and deal with other people, and get their feedback, and get that honest feedback. So processing that crucible, that difficult time, and realizing how important it was in my life to have honest truth tellers like the seniors at Georgia Tech that said, "Bill, no one's ever going to work with you, "much less be led by you, because you're moving "so fast to get ahead, it's all about you.
"you don't take time for other people," and you know what? That was like a blow to the solar plexus, because they were absolutely right. I was focusing on Bill George getting ahead and building a resume, and they were trying to tell me that but until they got very blunt and really told me the truth, that was the shock that caused me to look deeply inside myself, and say, "I don't like the Bill George "that I see and I want to change. "How do I go about doing that?" So have you had those experiences? Have you processed those difficult times? Because otherwise you're gonna carry them around with you.
- Understanding your desires and fears
- Knowing and owning your life story
- Seeking feedback
- Accepting yourself