I was driving my kids to school and going through the usual “pre-flight” checklist (lunch money, karate clothes, teeth brushed, trumpet, etc), I discovered and opportunity for personal growth and a great blog topic. I always, always, yes, 3 always, forget what days Rocco Jr. has band, soccer, karate, and minimum days. I had an inclination that it was a band day (although as I write this on a Monday, I couldn’t tell you if today is band). He, in his 9 year old, coming of age wisdom, feared being laughed for carrying his trumpet to school if the teacher was out. He wasn’t sure if the teacher, Mr Boyer, was going to be on campus. There was a 99% chance, Mr Boyer would be at work. But the 1% had Rocco Jr. concerned. Rocco Jr. feared that he would be the only band student carrying his instrument to class and being ridiculed. As his wise old father, I told him not to care what other people think. My 8 year old Angelina questioned my insitence on her clothes matching, or at least coming close to matching, if we don’t care about what other people think.
How do you find the balance between being self concious and simply not caring and being out of tune? This is a challenge. The objective is to be successful, authentic, and a good person. Simple enough? Many people find success in one or two of these areas, but finding people checking all 3 boxes (and deserving so) is not always easy. Here is a list of 4 must haves in order to consider yourself for the trifecta of personal growth achievement.
1. Self awareness: Daniel Goleman‘s landmark Emotional Intelligence turned the world upside down on the idea that how you know is at least if not more important than what you know when it comes to finding success. Finding self awareness may not be all that easy. There are thousands of Self-Help books, counselors, and You-Tube videos addressing this. Perhaps the bigget step has already been taken if you are asking how to become more self aware.
2. Intentions: What are your motives behind why you care what others think? Caring about impressing a potenital client, or a job interview is healthy. This is a means to an end. It says “care about my work” not “care about me”. If you are hoping to gain acceptance for a acceptance as an end, the “care about me”, in the wrong situations, this can spell trouble. There’s a time and a place for each. Knowing how to tell the difference is key.
3. Surround yourself with couragous and trustworthy coaches: As with many aspects in personal growth, the people you are around will lead you down a certain path. Which path depends upon the people you allow into your inner cirlce. Friends and family who challenge you in reasonable and realistic ways do you well. If they are well balanced, a quick check in every once in a while about your style and approach is appropriate. ” Does this present as professional?” or ” Am I comming on too strong”, are great examples of easy check in questions. The questions isn’t so much the issue as is asking the right person. Approaching someone with no social norms to advize you is not a good idea.
4. Prepare and be Confident: You are more likely to find balance when you are prepared and confident. This means that you have to put in the effort. If you are concerned about what your kids are wearing; learn. What are your objectives with what they wear? Trend? Modesty? Cultural? Whatever it is, make sure to do your homework. Put a “product” out there and be proud to know you put effort in.As you begin to grow, you’ll find you are confident in certain areas where you are not in others. This is o.k. . Learn from the positives and grow. The key here is that you are ahead of the curve by the mere fact that you are trying to get better.
Work on these a little at a time. Check in with yourself and those around you.
Share with me an area where you care too much? How about when you may not care enough (but still don’t want to change).
Rocco De Leo