Define Yourself

This is an excerpt from Be the Master: 2019 Edition. You can participate in the development of this new edition by purchasing the e-book at Leanpub.

One of the things in Be the Master is a series of steps for moving toward your own success and Mastery. The third of those is to Define Yourself, and this excerpt offers some advice.

This is the step where you decide who you want to be. It’s hugely important that you be thorough. For example, I’d had an opportunity to write a book applicable to my industry. That opening exposed me to a whole group of people — book authors, conference speakers, and the like — that I generally wanted to emulate. After a couple of years, though, I still felt unfocused. It took some serious sitting down and thinking, and I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted my career to closely emulate a specific person in my industry. That decision led me to really lay out who I wanted to be — not just a copy of that other person, but what I wanted to do differently. I also needed to fill in some details that weren’t apparent about that other person’s life.

For example, you might include, in your definition of yourself, things like “I always make it to my kids’ soccer game,” or “I always make it to church, every week,” or “in addition to my career, I play the piano fairly well.” I suppose you could think of these as life goals, but I don’t — a “goal,” for me, is a thing you achieve, and then you’ve done it. My “self-definition” isn’t something I accomplish and then move on from; it’s as complete a list as possible of who I am every day.

And you needn’t start with a person you admire and want to emulate; that’s just what got me thinking in this direction. You might create your self-definition entirely from scratch, or you might pick bits and pieces of things you admire about a variety of people you know.

Take some time to review your self-definition, when you’re done, because there are often compromises and conflicts. For example, if you’re the type of person who puts in a hard 10-hour day, makes it to hockey practice three nights a week, attends the opera once a month, and volunteers at a soup kitchen every weekend — you may have overloaded yourself a bit. Your self-definition needs to be possible, or it won’t come to pass.

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