My spouse and I moved into our home in October. The property had been vacant for a couple years and the wildlife laid claim to the land. The looks of disdain that we received from the red squirrel, the groundhog, and the deer made it very clear they were unimpressed with our presence.
And then there were the birds. My husband got the idea to put out suet for them. And in all honesty, I could identify robins, cardinals, and bluejays. That’s it. I couldn’t tell the difference between a nuthatch and a chickadee. Tufted titmouse? What on earth is that? I classified them as “hoppy” birds because they hopped around on the ground and chirped at me. Very scientific, I know. 😊
Eventually, with lots of effort and observation I found the differences between the birds. And once I knew what to look for, the differences became substantial. It’s the same way with our interior landscape. So often we ignore what’s going on inside of us, which is to our detriment. We haven’t put in the time or attention to recognize our motivation or desires. To identify what we really want and why we want it.
In order to make the most out of our life and work, we need to pay attention. And paying attention takes work. It’s not this inherent skill where we automatically know about ourselves. It’s the opposite. Our ego desires to protect us in such a way that it tries to hide our feelings and motivations from us to keep us on the straight and narrow, what the ego deems safe.
Yet self-awareness is a key ingredient to authentic leadership. We must be willing to observe ourselves with curiosity so that we can uncover the truth about ourselves. Feeling like a part of life is unfulfilling, boring, or frustrating? There’s something to that. Sit with it, ask it questions, make space for it. Tell the ego to be quiet. Noticing that a new project is giving you energy and increasing work satisfaction? There’s something to that feeling too.
Just like it took me intentional work to be able to identify the different hoppy birds in my yard, it takes effort and time to do the work of self-discovery. It’s worth the time and effort because it makes us better leaders in every aspect of our lives.
Stay curious friends!