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Getting to know the real you.

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

How many of us really know ourselves?

I for one have made a really conscious effort for many years to really understand what makes me tick, and yet I still get surprised by my reactions to certain things.

Take the time, albeit many years back, where I was on a plane and the tannoy came, and a female voiced announced, “Welcome Ladies and Gentleman, my name is X and I’ll be your captain for your journey today”, my reaction, and I’m not proud of it, was a very flippant comment to my male colleague sitting beside me along the lines of “I hope it’s not her time of the month”. Let me tell you, the horror on his face of hearing something so sexist coming from a female, was something I will never forget.

The years of working in IT, and a predominently male environment, had impacted me in ways I was completely unaware of, I had adopted the mannerisms of my male counterparts, even down to the banter.

If I had been affected by that, then what else had I taken on board without even realising it.

It was this particular incident that set me on my journey of self-discovery, what was it that I really valued; taking heed of what Richard N. Bolles said in his book, “What Color is Your Parachute?”,

“Values are a matter of what guides you through every day, every task, every encounter with another human being.”

Each ‘value’ that we hold can dictate to us our standard of behaviour; it’s our judgement of what is important in life, but as I found, are they really our own?

Unless you’ve already got to know the real you, probably not, you’ll have picked a lot of them up from your parents, peer groups, and people that you’ve held in high esteem along the course of your life, and now you could be driven by their values not your own.

For instance, you may be carrying a value that you acquired as a child around safety, however as an adult developed an interest in travel to far flung places. Such a dream may well be hindered, as to travel into the forests of the Amazon for instance may will be directly at odds with your need for safety.

Part of a getting to know the real YOU, is in understanding our natural traits and tendencies, it is knowing our strengths, our weaknesses and all of our little foibles.

Let me make a suggestion, work out your top five values :

1. Recall times when you have been so absorbed in what you were doing that you hardly noticed the time. What were you doing?

Think about those things that have meaning for you, perhaps that’s your family, your friends, perhaps it’s a sense of health, fitness, etc.

Look back to a time in your past, when did you feel most fulfilled, what were you doing at the time, where were you living? Immerse yourself in the feelings that that time evokes.

2. Think about the things that you find meaningful. What do you think of?

Be sure to include ideals, feelings, and activities.

In noting how you felt about those special, meaningful times, the chances are you’ll have hit upon those values that drive you. It might be having fun with a loved one, it might be the gratitude of an honest relationship, or the time where you exercised your creatively and came up with a fantastic idea, do this from your gut, don’t think too hard about it, just go with your flow.

Spend some time then analyse these align with your values, which of your values did this time satisfy?

Perhaps it was a value that says that to feel personally uplifted you need FUN in your life, or HONEST rates highly, or CREATIVITY.

Try it, take a look at what really makes YOU tick. And then take a look at your life, is it providing enough to satisfy your values?

Elaine Sullivan

Founder, Elaine K Sullivan Ltd


Training, Coaching and Mentoring

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