Occasionally, I ask myself what people think about my writing this blog. I wonder if they understand the purpose behind it. It’s simple: like any teacher, I have a desire to (a) tell people about the things that I find interesting, that (b) I would like them to use to their benefit; but also (c) so I can hold myself accountable to the things I ‘preach’. The first of those three is the easy part – the other two are damned hard.
People are reluctant to carry out meaningful self-examination, particularly when they are encouraged by others to do so. They sense judgement, an ulterior motive and, in extreme cases when talking about The 7 Habits, religion – even when all of these, and the other rationales for resistance, are actually absent. It is as if they think, “If I didn’t discover it, it’s dodgy.” Then they discover something and wonder why we apply the same thinking!
The funny thing is – and I refer here specifically to personal and professional development training and advice – the motive is unlikely to be negative. Okay, if I am trying to sell it there will be a perceived self-interest to espousing the principles, but in this field the chances are high that we believe in what we are selling because it did something for us. But what if I am trying to persuade you to just read a book written by someone else? Or providing advice I paid for, but for free? I promote the writing of a personal mission statement, or at least the discovery of a defined set of personal values, and you don’t have to pay for either. You just have to accept that doing so will be of benefit.
The other part – (c) above – is the other motive. I want to be better, I want to hold myself accountable and I want you to hold me accountable. But here’s an important caveat – I want you to hold me accountable to my values and how I define them, not to your values or how you define mine. So if I value fitness, then just because you love swimming does not mean I have to get wet. Make me run, if that is my chosen route to a healthy physiology. Ask me first what my intended route is, and encourage me to take it. Only after doing that might you say, “Have you considered X”, and if I want to know more, tell me then.
Hold me accountable to what I have promised. There’s a big clue on the Personal Mission page of this site. And have a look at your own sense of purpose – or try to discover what it actually is because I bet many people don’t really know.
Just to be clear – in terms of my own MS, this week I will be training someone to drive at an advanced level and representing my industry at a national standards-setting institution 160 miles from chez moi. (I’ll also be trying to diet……)
Apart from your paid work, what will you be doing that is keeping with your values-system this week?