In order to build a house, you need a solid foundation, right? To build a life, we need a solid foundation; however, we may not be aware what our foundation is. All too often we define ourselves by what we do but do you know who you are? How did you wind up where you are today? There is a need to consider your foundation and once you are aware of this, then it helps to provide clarity on the direction you need to go. Think of it this way, as opportunities emerge, how do you know if you should embrace it and it is what you should do?
There is a simple exercise you can start doing to help you vision the path that is right for you. What are the five things that make up your foundation? What are the five things that you are not willing to compromise in life and career…life and career and not just career. By thinking about, and creating your inventory of five key areas, you have a place to now compare opportunities. My five core elements are: servant leadership, storysharing, champion and enabler, activator and igniter and a community do-gooder. When any opportunity comes into my life, I balance it to the five things that are important to me. When you hit five out of five, you don’t have a job or career, you have fulfillment and isn’t that a great place to be? Why five? Less than five may not provide you enough depth and over five starts becoming too difficult to get all the components.
There might be some fear, what if I don’t pick the right words? I am encouraging you to take a stand and make a statement of things that you are not going to compromise. Well, you can change this in life as you grow and take on responsibilities. You are never stuck with the words but it is important to start finding words that resonate.
I have shared with you why coming up with the Five Core Elements is important, so how do you come up with your words? It means being reflective and introspective. Think of past classes, jobs, social activities. What did you like about them or did not like about them? The critical part though is to ask why. By asking why, you can start seeing words emerge or a pattern. For example, when I have asked someone, “what is important to you and you are not willing to compromise.” A response might be, ‘family’. I ask why and they respond that it is because of the importance of being connected and relationships they hold. I go deeper to say, “So it might be a broader term of connections and relationships and that it embraces family and the relationships you can have with your fellow employees and customers.” Often times, they respond with yes. It means that you might pick a word, but then going deeper, you are able to find purpose and meaning in the word that reflects who you are. The goal is to eventually have the Five Core Elements and that now becomes your personality DNA. It helps you to articulate who you are and what is important. Can you imagine how impressed an employer will be where you can state the importance of five aspects.
By doing the Five Core Elements piece, you will have a better understanding of who you are and then what you can do. It will provide you clarity for where you are and what is missing. You will be able to then consider how to incorporate what might be missing. More importantly, anything you do in life, you balance around the five things you are not willing to compromise. Do this and it could unlock your purpose and fulfillment. Isn’t that something worth pursuing? Always remember though, the Five Core Elements are not a final destination but rather the journey forward.
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