Knowing thyself is a necessary part of growing yourself. You cannot grow what you do not know. It is like someone watering a flower that was never planted. It obviously does not make sense. So also is anyone who is trying to pursue a growth into authentic leadership. The first step is self-awareness. You have to know yourself to grow yourself. Granddad once told me a story that taught me the need for this.
A Lioness gave birth to a cub and died shortly. Out of compassion, the goat family saw the helpless cub and take him in. They fed him grasses and moved along with him wherever they go hunting for food. The goat family laughed at the cub because he was not bleating like them and he looks so different from. “Oh how terrible you look, you cannot even bleat”, they mocked him. Since the cub had no option, he continued staying with them while feeding on grasses. One day while grazing, an older lion came into the scene. All of them ran, including the cub. The older lion pursued the cub and held him. The cub begged him, “please don’t eat me, please”.
The old lion shouted at him and told him that he is, in fact, and ought not to run with a herd of goats. The cub resisted and tried to run. Holding him, the old lion dragged the cub to a well and asked him to look. He looked into the well and realized that he looks just like the older lion. The older lion taught him how to roar like a lion and he did. The moment he roared, it came so loud and strong that the goat family who were peeping from one corner to see how the drama will end flee out of fear. That was how this cub realized that he is a lion and should not eat grass with goats not matter the economy of the jungle. This is self-awareness.
We will begin to grow towards the kind of person we want to be the moment we realize at first who we are. Knowing yourself is like situating yourself in the map. Over the years, I have observed that there are three kinds of people when it comes to finding direction in life.
I don’t know what I want:
They are the people who do not even know what they want in life. They live in a state of confusion, floating along the river of life. Without direction, counsel and purpose, they just sleep, wake to eat, do just normal daily kinds of stuff and that’s all. They cannot reach their potential because they don’t even know what they want.
I know what I want but I don’t do it:
These are people who have a sense of what they are looking for, but they do not go in pursuit of it for one reason or the other. There is usually this gap between where they are and where they want to be. They make excuses about why they are not doing what they want to do. They allow fear of one thing or the other to becloud their sense of direction and all the while stay in the frustrated state of “I wanna”.
I know what I want and I do it:
These are the achievers. They are the people who know what they want in life and go out in search of it. Instead of waiting for their ship to sail to them, they dive in to meet their ship. In addition, they possess a strong sense of passion and purpose and are ready to pay the price to achieve what they want to.
A number of persons are in the first category. They are like the young cub living with the herd of sheep. They do not have the courage to look into the well and realize who really they are, their purpose and direction in life.
Knowing yourself is not as easy as presented. It takes courage to look into the well and see things just as they are. We live in an age that is chaotic, disturbed and afraid of its own forces and in search of direction. There are many voices speaking but few voices of direction. There are so many excitements, but few thoughtful purposes. We, therefore, get drown, lost and confused amidst all of these. Our primary task, therefore, is to find ourselves. To discover ourselves on the map. That is one of the steps towards intentional leadership.
We have to do this by self-awareness with a strong will to follow our passions. Our passion will help us discover ourselves and this same passion is what drives us to grow. The question now is, how do we find our passion and purpose?