The Answer Isn’t the Answer. . .
The answer my friend. . . is the question!
And the 1st question to ask of ourselves is always the most basic. It’s also the most relevant. All other questions, build on the answers we give when we decide to delve into who we are as a woman – as a Christian woman and as a Christian woman in business.
My reasoning for the post rests on what we at AWI are pursuing this month, which focuses on “being – and celebrating – our unique selves.” In order to engage in the “being and celebrating”; we must first ask basic relevant questions of ourselves – and others. Questions that permit us to look deep within to discover our personal “me”. And in the process of that discovery, the opportunity to celebrate how we are individually unique!
So Which Comes 1st, and Why?
In the process of self-discovery, questions are more important than the answers we receive. If I’m not open to learning who I am, positive and not-so-positive, then I won’t ask questions that reveal the truth! And if answers hint at anything other than personal perfection at my core; I’ll play the 3-monkey game: see, hear, speak no evil! Ultimately, I’ll simply become silent and shut down the discovery process.
But if I’m serious about learning as much as possible about who I am as a “unique” woman; then I’ll take time to develop thoughtful, in-depth questions. Questions that elicit answers designed to help me gain valuable insight into my unique self. Those answers, whether from my honest personal reflection – or from those with whom I am in some level of relationship, are the key to self-discovery.
The “why” is self-evident. Again, if I’m serious about gaining a clear understanding of who I am; then I’ll be certain to pursue that understanding using the best at my disposal. And I’ll start the process with quiet reflection that leads to the best questions to ask before I do anything else.
Somewhat like making certain to tie my shoes before taking to the running track!
A Window Into My Unique “Who”!
Those of you who have been in our AWI circle of social media friendship over time, know my fondness for what I consider to be one of the best self-discovery tools – the Johari Window! This simple tool by Ingham and Luft is noted for use in developing “self-awareness, personal development, group development and understanding relationships.“ (businessballs.com)
As a grad student in psychology, I used the Johari with individuals and small groups. It was amazingly accurate in it’s revelations about self. Most of all, the revelations of friends, family and co-workers were of great value for understanding how others see us relative to how we see ourselves.
I encourage women in general, especially Christian women and those in business, to use the Johari with self and those in close relationship as the first “question” to ask on the road to self-discovery! And pay particular attention to the upper right quadrant we call the “blind spot”: that which others know that we do not!
Ultimately, the Johari is truly a “window” that provides a credible view into my unique self!
In the End, What Difference Does It Make?
In business, it’s common knowledge that folks do business with those they “know, like and trust”. I can’t know, like and trust someone I know little about. You can’t let me know you if you don’t know yourself. And if you don’t, I certainly won’t wait around long while you figure it out. In fact, while you do. . . I’m building a relationship with another who engages me with honesty, integrity, openness and strategic vulnerability!
Not perfection mind you; but a confidence in self that lets me know she is not perfect – and that she does not demand perfection of me either!
The difference it makes is the difference in whether the success we desire in business, as well as life-in-general, is what we ultimately acquire. More than that, it is the difference between what satisfies us at our deepest level of being. And whether we can experience ourselves as honest, open and yes – trustworthy. Of course, it goes without saying that for us to be successful; others must experience us as honest, open and trustworthy as well!
Am I the Unique Woman I Want to Be. . .
. . . Or the “unique woman you need me to be”?
I can’t guarantee that who I am can meet the needs of others. But we ought be able to meet the needs of those with whom we enjoy a close relationship. . .in marriage, as a parent, sibling, child or close business associate. If I pursue learning all I can about “me” at my special unique center; then most likely I’ll be the woman you need me to be. And if I’m the unique woman at my center you need me to be; we’ll accept those times when I can’t be. . .with no damage to the relationship!
Make sense? I think so!.
The most important aspect of our May focus on being our unique self and celebrating same is the encouragement it offers us to pursue self-awareness as a way of life. Because with each season of life; we change. And we may just shed a few masks. Masks we’ve worn that hide our unique brilliance from the world. A world in which we seek to celebrate our greatness!
I encourage you to not vacate the road of discovery. And I urge you to touch the beauty of your unique self with a shout of celebration heard ’round the world!
Are you in? I hope so!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Enriching Women in Business Worldwide
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