Everyone wants to be successful, but what is that separates the truly successful from the rest? John Maxwell says that success is a journey, not a destination. Over the next few months, I want to explore what that journey might entail.
I’ve identified four stages in the journey of success:
- Know Yourself
- Define Success
- Develop the Vision
- Pursue the Goal with Determination
Today I’ll start by describing the first stage, and in future posts I’ll describe the other stages.
Stage 1: Know Yourself
What does it mean to know yourself? I mean, you spend 24/7 with yourself; if you don’t know yourself by now, when will you?
Actually, I have found that a lot of people are not particularly reflective and don’t take the time to understand who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, their passions and motivations. A tool I found in Pastor Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life has been very helpful to me in organizing my view of myself. He talks about being “Shaped for Service,” SHAPE being an acronym:
- S – spiritual gifts: the innate gifts God has placed within each of us for the purpose of touching the lives of others
- H – heart / passions: the key motivations that drive us
- A – abilities: the skills we have acquired
- P – personality: the way we interact with the world
- E – experiences: the things we have gone through, both good and bad
Years ago I started a journal to track my SHAPE, and I revisit it whenever I am facing major life decisions or go through major life events. It has been very helpful in making intentional choices that line up with how I believe God designed me. For example, my decision to start writing this blog was in line with my SHAPE:
Spiritual gifts: teaching, giving, encouraging – My goal in writing this blog is to encourage people to communicate more effectively and to teach them the strategies they need.
- Heart: to be a bridge – The title of this blog reflects my passion to bring individuals and groups together that might not otherwise connect.
- Abilities: communicate in writing, build stronger relationships – I have been intentionally building my skills in the area of relationship development and connecting with others, and I am happy to share my learning experiences to help others.
- Personality: INFJ according to Myers-Briggs – Part of the description of my personality type is that we express ourselves more easily through writing.
- Experience: over 10 years teaching professional communication skills – I have spent more than half of my career developing and teaching the communication skills I write about in this blog, working with hundreds of adults to help them become more effective communicators.
More recently, I have begun discovering new tools for exploring the different elements of my SHAPE. You will find some of them here: Discovering Your SHAPE.
In my opinion, a major key to living an intentional life is understanding yourself. You can not intentionally pursue a life of purpose if you won’t take the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and motivations. I challenge you to take some time today to explore your own SHAPE – I can promise you will find it a helpful exercise.
If you are interested in working though and applying your SHAPE with me, I can offer you a free exploratory coaching session. I have a few activities that are intended to help you identify different elements of your SHAPE. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 30-minute session.
A Life of Purpose – A TED Talk by Pastor Rick Warren