A chance remark by a friend, boss, family member, or co-worker takes
you by surprise; "You're always so ____________!" (fill-in
the blank.) You wonder how they ever got that impression. It isn't
how you see yourself at all, and yet this is how the individual perceives
you. How many people in your life really know who you are, and what
you stand for? Have you checked your self-concept lately?
Intentional Identity™ is one of the fascinating concepts discussed
in Michael Crow's forthcoming book, "The "I" Handbook:
An Inner Course to Individuality through Intentional Identity."
It leads readers on a journey of self-discovery and challenges us
to re-examine our individual identity and integrity. Through a series
of focusing exercises, we discover that, our own carefully thought-out
and individually crafted self-concept may have less influence on our
thoughts and actions than our interpretation of external events. We
begin to understand that behaviors, positive or negative, affect not
only the way others perceive us, but more importantly the way we perceive
[Emotional Path] Imagine it is Monday morning and you are late again.
You don't wait for the "cross" sign, but dodge between traffic.
As you reach the other side, a police officer gives you a ticket for
jay walking. In frustration you demand, "don't you have more
important crimes to solve?"
Your perception of the officer is negative. Because she wrote you
a ticket? No, she's just doing her job. The truth is: your late again
(negative behavior pattern); you're upset being delayed by her (Emotional/stressed);
so you respond with a negative perception about the officer (irrational),
and no doubt she has a negative perception of you. You have transferred
your frustrations to someone else - perceiving the individual in a
negative way, when in reality, the responsibility, and negative behavior
Combine these negative perceptions with those of your co-workers once
you reach the office (they aren't having a good day either), and it
is easy to see how a negative outlook leads to poor communication,
decreased productivity, low morale and strained relationships - in
business and at home.
The challenges is that there will always be someone with influence
in our lives-bosses, co-workers, partners, or spouse-that has a different
perception or agenda. Often, we are forced to re-examine our perceptions,
make tough decisions, or compromise. However, if we continually compromise
what we believe in, resentment builds and we will question our integrity
and self-concept. Since the self-concept defines our beliefs about
who we are, and influences what we believe, continually compromising
can lower our self-confidence, self-concept, and hinder personal growth.
Understanding how our perceptions and beliefs shape our identity,
is an important step toward discovering who we are, what we stand
for, and what we won't stand for.
The bottom line is, that until you are comfortable with yourself (identity),
and your integrity (behavior); until you live congruently with your
individual values and beliefs, you will not reach your full potential
or enjoy healthy personal and business relationships.
How do we begin to apply this in the real world? Start by answering
the following questions each morning. This will put your focus on
your potential and the positive opportunity's that surround you.
- What am I most grateful for today?
-Opportunity, health, ability?
- Where my happiest about right now?
-Potential, accomplishments, achievement?
- Who or what am I proudest of in life?
-Contribution, attitude, Family?
- Who do I love? Who loves me? - Children,
Be honest in your evaluation; keep it positive, and keep in mind:
- You are not your job.
- You are not anything you own or possess.
- Who you are today is not who you were
yesterday - or who you will be tomorrow.
You are: your thoughts and actions, keep them positive
You are: a responsible, learning, growing, transitioning, changing,
complex, interdependent, human being; part of something much greater
than yourself, with unlimited potential to be an active, creative, and
productive influence in the world.
In the course of our lives, we will transition through various beliefs,
perceptions, principles, and value-centered focuses - a personal evolution
of common sense and nature working in harmony. Life is a positive and
exciting journey of joy, growth, self-awareness, and self-actualization
- if we just take the time to really know and understand ourselves first.