Who am I?
What a haunting question…
People can go their entire lives not knowing who they really are, or worse yet–pretend to be someone else. The question of “who am I?” is a never-ending journey.
Who you are now, your goals, your beliefs about yourself and the world, these things can and do change (albeit reluctantly).
Whenever I think about the idea of self-knowledge, I’m reminded of the following quote:
Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth – Alan Watts
As impossible as defining yourself may seem (It’s pretty meta), knowing who you are is the first step to true creation. Think about it: How can you truly serve others if you don’t know who you are and what your needs are? Self-awareness is a highly underrated skill.
When you develop your self-awareness, you’re able to present yourself in the best possible light. Self-awareness is beneficial for multiple reasons (to name a few):
- You know which activities to avoid
- You know which jobs you are best suited for
- You reduce your opportunity cost
- You’re able to scale projects quicker
- You know what kind of people compliment you (Your weakness is their strength and vice versa)
Self-awareness is a decision-making shortcut, a heuristic.
Companies can use this “heuristic” to their benefit, too…
Start With Who
As a freelance writer, the first question I ask a client is, “WHO is your customer?”
As crazy as it seems, this question doesn’t get a quick response. Why?
It’s that whole SELF-AWARENESS thing I mentioned above. Inevitably, the companies who have the hardest describing their customers are the same ones who haven’t taken the time to define themselves.
But honestly, I can’t really blame them. We all have a hard time doing this, myself included (biting your own teeth hurts).
The fact that it’s hard doesn’t excuse the fact that the hard work has to be done. Companies HAVE to know who they are at their core in order to best serve their customers.
People might refer to this process as “branding” or whatever, but I like to think of it in terms of understanding your story. Understanding your story presents you with the clues, patterns, and core values that define your business model.
Once you understand where you came from, you get a better sense of where you should go.
Unsure of how to tell your story? Consider reading up on the Five Beats Of Storytelling.
People can talk about the newest gizmo or gadget, book or marketing funnel, but self-awareness–that’s the secret sauce. Smothering it on makes everything tastier.