09 May Ferns Don’t Grow in the Desert
Have you ever worked somewhere that just didn’t feel right for you? Maybe you’re working there now. Have you worked with people who just didn’t seem like a good fit for the organization? You, just like everyone else, were created to thrive in a certain ecosystem. At a recent Quarterly meeting of EOS Implementers, Sue Hawkes shared the following insight on this topic: “Just as ferns don’t grow in the desert, cacti don’t grow in the rainforest.” Core values and culture are like ecosystems. The world is full of many. And in their own ways, all are good for certain inhabitants.
There are two key components you must discover about yourself in order to find your ideal ecosystem.
First, you must understand what it really is that you value at your core. Just like an organization needs well-defined core values, so do you as a person. These personal core values are values that will not change over time and values that you will not sacrifice for easy gain.
Second, you must discover your Unique Ability®. Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, says it like this, “At the heart of who you are lies the secret to your greatest success, best quality of life and biggest contribution to the world. This is your Unique Ability—a hard-wired set of natural talents that you’re passionate about doing in every area of life. It’s you at your best.”
STEP 1: Discover Your Personal Core Values
Begin by thinking about some of your greatest experiences in life. Make a list of what was going on and what values you were honoring that made the experience so great. Write down those values.
Next, think of times when you have been really frustrated, angry, ashamed, etc. What were you feeling? Can you turn those feelings around and see the values that were being denied? Add those to your list.
Finally, think about your passions. What makes you the happiest or most content? What are the values that are being satisfied in those situations? Add those values as well.
Now take your list and start grouping the words together by themes. You should begin to see a pattern or trend emerge. Once you have compartmentalized those values, you can begin to look for keywords or phrases that sum up each of your personal core values.
When that work is done, test yourself: Are you really living out these values? Do they really define a significant and joyful life for you? Once you have been able to get to a yes, then you just need to find the right organization that has similar values in order to find a great fit. One word of caution: Beware of aspirational values. Those are the values that you would like to hold, but if you are totally honest with yourself, you do not. Perhaps you can modify your behaviors out of awareness, but that can be a slippery slope.
STEP 2: Discover your Unique Ability
Unique Ability® is a concept created by Dan Sullivan and is a registered trademark of The Strategic Coach, Inc. In its simplest form, it is best described as the intersection between those things about which you are passionate and those things at which you are most talented.
One simple exercise to take a step toward understanding your Unique Ability® is to take a piece of paper, turn it sideways, and draw two large circles side by side so that they overlap by about one-third. In the circle on the left, but not in the overlapping space, write down things that you are passionate about. In the circle on the right, but again not in the overlapping space, write down things at which you are talented.
Step back and look at the big picture. What commonalities exist between some of your passions and some of your talents? Group those together in the overlapping space. Finding a meaningful career or building a meaningful business based on the intersection between your passions and your talents will lead to a rewarding life of significance.
Now that you have defined your core values and Unique Ability®, what is the best ecosystem in which you can thrive? Be patient; if you are not already there—and I hope that you are—it is out there. Leverage your networks to seek out opportunities where you can grow and flourish. It will be worth it. You are the best asset that you have.
- Take a short test to see how your organization is doing. Click here to take a brief organizational check-up that will tell you how you’re doing in these six key components.
- Learning more. Schedule a call to see if EOS® and SMART-Direction are a good match for your organization.
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