Who Are You?
Really, who are you? What are your values? What do you believe in?
I don’t want to patronize you by implying that you don’t know. I just know that often our values, purpose and beliefs are asleep in the depths of our conscience and our actions and words are not always driven by them. Our lives are short and more often than they should they’re pre-recorded; let me explain, we’re told that we have to go to school and university, that we have to find a job and do well at it (even if we don’t like it), that we have to find a partner, get married and have children and that we should cook for our families at Christmas and go to Cornwall on holidays in our family car and repeat ever after until we retire and die. This is what I call ‘The Script’, the invisible script that we’re handed when we’re born and that controls our lives without us realizing. That form of self-destruction ended for me when I asked myself the question. Who are you? Who am I? What are my values? And this is how I found the answer to those questions:
When I was 15 I ‘discovered’ a woman who had been working hard all her life. She’d been adopted by a working-class republican family in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War because her real parents couldn’t feed her. Following a difficult childhood, she married a man she didn’t love to escape the hardship of rural Spain and begin a life in the city. She had 5 children and devoted her life and her time to them. She ended up divorcing in her late sixties and today lives in Valencia, a Mediterranean city. She has a weak heart and a strong will. That woman is my mother and she has taught me the value of gratitude. Being grateful to those who help you, looking back and lifting those left behind and acknowledging good deeds when acknowledgment is due. Being grateful is a value I live by.
In 2009 I met a woman at Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org) who had been working hard all her life. She’s known for being a distinguished speaker, for being an organizer, she is very good with detail and planning. She doesn’t like loose ends. She is a safe pair of hands, sensible, sound, solid. She run her own business for many years. Not many of her fellow Toastmasters, however, know as much about her role as a devoted mother and grandmother in which she excels even more brilliantly than at Toastmasters. That woman is my friend Mary R. and she has taught me the value of self-mastery. Persevere, do things properly, try and improve what you do and how you do it. Do the right thing and lift those around you along the way. Self-mastery is a value I live by.
There are two young ladies in my life that have taught me a third and key value. Purposefulness. The feeling of getting up every morning knowing what you want to achieve, how and when and feeling an energy that cannot be stopped by challenge or failure. A clear path, a clear road map, a clear destination. Knowing your value and your mission in life is priceless and my daughters Sophie & Maya have taught me its importance. Purposefulness is a value I live by.
As Gary Keller and Jay Papasan say on the book The One Thing: “when you bring purpose to your life, know your values and achieve high productivity on the priority that matters most every day your life makes sense and the extraordinary becomes possible.” This has dramatically positive consequences for your career, your social and family life and, yes, your Public Speaking too as the topics you choose to speak about are increasingly aligned with your values and that sense of purpose equips your speeches and conversations with an unmistakably irresistible sense of passion, direction and honesty. I’ve come to discover the values in my life through the people in my life and I invite you to look back at your own life, your own stories and your own values to create a life that is more meaningful, more fulfilling and has a bigger impact on those around you and behind you. Happiness is a meaningless word without values, without purpose.
And here’s the call to action for you all: find a quiet moment and a quiet corner, grab a piece of paper and a pen (don’t do this with a computer, it’s not as effective) and write down the values you live by, then align those values with your professional and personal lives; if there is a mismatch, you know that changes need to happen; if there isn’t, you are on the way to greatness and the next step is to find your purpose. Write it down too. If you feel comfortable to share your values and your purpose I will be delighted if you can email me or contact me on social media to tell me what they are. If not, keep them private and live by them!
Who are you? What are your values? What do you believe in?