Step 2: Know How You Behave

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In my earlier post “Where to Begin? “, I shared two critical steps in self-evaluation: first, “Know What You Value ” and second,  “Know How You Behave”. In this post I’ll clarify the second step in the process.

Hopefully you’ve taken time to read and contemplate on the first step. Knowing what you truly value can become a grounding force, preventing you from straying too far off course on your journey. What are those principals and truths that are core to your story? I encourage you to revisit them often, especially during times of personal growth and transition.

Once you have a good sense of your values, let’s take a critical look at your actions. In a well balanced flow, actions should mimic core values. Not because they are well practiced, rehearsed or memorized. That would be considered manipulative and deceitful. Our actions, especially those that are spontaneous and reflexive, provide insights into our strengths, as well as our shortcomings.

Set aside some time to make some notes. Think about some of the interactions you have had with different people over the past few days. You might want to divide your notes into segments of your relationship to each of them. For example, interactions with loved ones, interactions with coworkers, interactions on social media or interactions with workers at places you patronized. As I mentioned in my previous post, be as transparent and genuine as possible in recording your actions. This is for your growth.

As you recall each interaction, think about your body language and the language used. What impact did the environment and circumstances of the interaction have on your actions? Did the time of day or your mood affect the interaction? Jot down patterns or inconsistencies you uncover. You might find it useful to carry around a journal for a few days to take notes as things happen, to better identify patterns and trends.

Let’s filter what you have discovered about your personal actions, how you behave, with your earlier notes on the five to ten core values/beliefs that represent your true self. There will be a disconnect. That’s where the opportunity lies.

Take a few final minutes to consider what are the “triggers” – environmental, physical, social, etc – that spark those actions that are not in line with your story. Think about where they are coming from and challenge whatever fears, insecurities or limitations you uncover. Choose two or three actions to modify, reduce or eliminate over the next several months. Create a plan of action, involve at least one friend and track your results at least weekly.

Your actions do speak much louder than your words. Pursue living true to yourself, in spite of your circumstances and moods. Please share any feedback you may have.

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