I had the good fortune of being invited to listen to organizational speaker Bill Crawford, PhD, three weeks ago at a local manufacturing company. Dr. Crawford kicked off the day with a 5 am session for the third shift employees. Fortunately I was invited for the more sane session at 10am. His discussion was on identifying stressors in our life: from finances, relationships and illness and then providing a better way to handle them. His presentation focused on how the brain stem throws us into fight or flight mode with a rise of blood pressure (adrenaline), muscle tension, (noradrenalin) and increased heart rate (cortisol – which makes us feel anxious and jumpy). The alternative he recommends is that of the elevating our thought process to the Neocortex, each is where we are able to problem solve, our creativity, our interpersonal skills, our ability to think, show compassion, planning, language, judgment, clarity, confidence. Once we get our thoughts to the neocortex, we can regain our confidence, be calm and in control.
As a business-minded person, this brain talk was new to me, but fascinating all the same.
It was when Dr. Crawford asked attendees to “identify themselves” that the Ah-Ha’s occurred: most people in the room provided identity answers along the lines of: provider, sales person, husband/son/dad, or accountant. WRONG! He was looking for responses that described Who I Am instead of What I Am. Which is a slight nuance, but a big difference. When answering the question Who I Am, the answers should be qualities that run through every part of our life, ones that are attractive to others and ones that we want to recommend to someone we love. Examples include: Forgiving, sympathetic, disciplined, dependable, collaborative, respectful, love for Jesus, confident, calm, open, etc. These qualities are different from the What I Am responses, which can vanish with life changes (death), loss of job and unexpected transitions.
Try doing this for yourself. Take a few moments and think through who you are at the core, and just as important, which qualities would you recommend to someone you love and which less than desirable qualities do you want to make sure don’t pass on to the next generation? (yikes!)
Once defined, verbalize and put these qualities in action, so much so that they will become natural and unconscious. Example, if you define yourself as dependable, you need to be dependable whenever something is asked of you, not just when it is convenient to you. If the deadline is unrealistic, be confident enough to speak up and have the deadline adjusted so that you can still deliver on time.
A useful example of this is for your next Performance management review:
By knowing Who I Am as the best you, you are able to focus with those qualities, and have greater confidence and presence. Need some helping figuring out if your life is overloaded with tasks and if you’re taking enough time to dream? Take the Flair survey HERE to dive into these and other characteristics.