Who am I, What am I, Why am I?

When working with businesses and individuals we often ask our clients to answer the following questions: “Who am I, What am I, Why am I”. We always want to get to the core of these questions early on in the relationship. Experts will tell you that successful people always have clarity of their “values” and “personal purpose/mission”.

The stories of how this has helped people are numerous and the most relevant story to me is my own personal story. Without getting into all the details, I would tell you that there were some events which transpired in my 30’s that started me down a path of truly seeking to understand what “success” looked like for my life. In 2008, I left what some of the world might view as a “successful” corporate position due to the economic downturn. In the initial 40 days after leaving this position, I had the gift of time to reflect on the questions “Who am I, What am I, Why am I” as well as “What does ‘success’ look like to me?”

You see the world would have told me a Director’s position in a midsize corporation with a six figure income, a nice house in one of the area’s most prominent neighborhoods, a second home on a lake with a boat, being a state championship quarterback who married a high school homecoming queen, having two children (boy and girl), and a golden retriever all looked like we were “successful” and “living the dream”. This isn’t to say there is anything specifically wrong with this lifestyle.  However, at the time, I was out of balance. Furthermore, I couldn’t really articulate what “success” looked like nor my personal “values” and “purpose/mission”.

During my 40 day journey and the months following, I continually worked to clearly answer all of these questions. What I first discovered was that my life had been out of balance as I was not in alignment with my core values. While I would have told you God & family were at the top of my values, my actions previously were not supporting these values. These values and relationships were present in my life, however, would tend to get displaced at times due primarily to a “lack of time”.

When reflecting on my purpose/mission, I can’t say that I ever really spent time prior to my 40 day journey reflecting on the importance of being able to articulate this purpose in a personal mission statement. Yes, I would have told you that raising a family, living a Christ-like life, and giving 100% to my work were what I aspired to do; however, what does this look like! And why weren’t these things truly fulfilling me?

So, when we say our business mission is:   “Arnold Business Advisors LLC prides itself in aiding businesses and individuals in truly defining what ‘success’ looks like and building strategies to achieve this ‘success’.” It is our intent to aid individuals and their teams in answering these questions and realizing the connection they have toward achieving results in whatever area of life they aspire to have.

There are multiple techniques to aid people in their discovery of “values”, “personal mission statement”, and definition of “success” which we utilize. One of our favorite tools comes from The Ken Blanchard Companies which is a process Susan Fowler developed for the Situational Self Leadership. For your benefit, we have linked it here for your reference.

At the end of the day, once you have all of this defined, one of the next steps which is often difficult to achieve is that you must “believe” in what you’ve put down on paper. Unfortunately, life gets in the way often, and we run across obstacles that are not in alignment with our “values” and “mission” and will challenge us to the importance of these values and mission. That’s why my wife has created the poster below which is on the wall in my office. This serves as a daily reminder as to “Who am I, What am I, and Why am I?” Even better, it serves as a reminder of what other are seeing from the outside which is priceless.

Chris you are

Being well grounded in your “values” and “personal mission” now allows you to have a strong foundation for evaluating visions and dreams. For example, my values are God, family, honesty, integrity, and freedom. My personal mission is “to utilize my listening and problem solving skills to lead people in the discovery of their purpose and the intentional fulfillment of that purpose.” Now, let say that I have an opportunity for a contract with a Fortune 500 company which will allow me to earn $1.0M over the next year that requires me to travel 75% of my time. Based off my “values” and “personal mission”, what do you believe my response should be to this opportunity? While I remain open to possibilities, it’s not in alignment and therefore, I should not accept this opportunity.  (I do have a few other thoughts of what to do though!)

If not already, we truly encourage you to take time to go through this process.  Even if you already have, it is helpful to repeat such that you can continually refine.  As indicated above, this normally evolves over an extended time of reflection.  It’s also helpful to have outside resources involved as they generally see things in us we don’t see.  We welcome the opportunity to be one of those resources.

Have a FANTASTIC day!

PS…Enjoying today’s newsletter, however, having difficulty in applying it toward a business context?  See our post The Cause for an example.

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