“Rather than looking outward in an attempt to predict the outcome, you turn inward to your identity. You base your decisions on who you are--or who you want to be.” ― Adam Grant, Originals
It can be tough to predict what will or will not happen in the future with any degree of accuracy in these uncertain times. However, considering the ever-changing times we face, deepening our ability to pivot, reset, and re-calibrate are life skills that can serve us personally and professionally. Still, as much as we acknowledge how essential these skills are, actually putting them into action can be a complicated thing to do when faced with uncertainty in our life or when an unforeseen situation suddenly presents itself to us.
As well-known author and consultant Adam Grant states, the ability to turn our attention inward and genuinely tap into our own identity can help us better understand who we are and who we want to be. Although Adam’s words are very empowering and draw attention to the importance of self-awareness, I would add that we still need something to anchor ourselves to when we reflect on the nature of our own identity. This is especially true when more challenging times suddenly appear in our lives.
Reflecting on the essence of who we are and who we want to be is made much easier when we have clearly articulated values that we hold front and center in our lives. Rather than focusing on what we hope will happen in the future or believing that everything will unfold as we planned for, what if we instead just focused on the extent to which we align with the core values we believe to be most important in our lives? Will essential decisions in our life become easier to make if we do this?
Living in alignment with our core values significantly boosts our consistency regarding our thoughts, words, and actions. In addition, when we live in this alignment with more regularity, we put ourselves in a much better position to know who we are, what we stand for, and whether or not we are on the right track to becoming the person we want to be. Finally, we have a hook to hang our hat on and better reflect on who we are and what we represent.
If I asked you to identify your top 3-4 core values right now, could you? How clearly can you articulate what it is you believe in most? And how often do you reflect on the extent to which your thoughts, actions, and words align with the values you think are most important in your life? As an exercise, try writing out a list of values that you feel guide you both personally and professionally. Once you have your list, flip it into driving questions that can help you better reflect on who you are and who you want to be.
For example, your list may include the core values of Compassion, Courage, Curiosity, and Kindness. It’s OK if you are not completely clear, but at least have a go at brainstorming a potential list of core values. Once you have done this, turn each core value into a reflective question. These questions can be used as writing prompts in your journal each time you reflect on important decisions you have to make in your life.
Compassion: To what extent did I show compassion toward myself and others today (or this past week)? What examples can I provide?
Courage: To what extent did I demonstrate courage today (or this past)? What examples can I provide?
Curiosity: To what extent did I put curiosity into action in my life today (or this past week)? What examples can I provide?
Kindness: To what extent did I show kindness toward others today (or this past week)? What examples can I provide?
Achieving desired outcomes and always hoping that things will work out as planned is a natural part of life. However, having specific strategies to lean on when things don’t go our way or when we encounter challenging times can significantly enhance our ability to make informed decisions rooted in the values that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
In this episode, I interview 2014 Ryder Cup champion, Stephen Gallacher. For more than two decades, Stephen has played professional golf on one of the most elite stages in the world and it is because of this experience that he has devoted himself to giving back to the game through the Stephen Gallacher Foundation that he started in 2012. The mission of his foundation is to grow the roots of golf more deeply in Scotland by providing increased opportunity for juniors to have access to the game.
Stephen has played in 20 majors including 2 Masters, 4 US Opens, 8 Open Championships, and 6 PGA Championships. As well, 2014 European Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, selected Stephen as one of his captain's picks to join the European squad that ultimately went on to defeating the Americans at Gleneagles Golf Club. Stephen had a dream to be able to play on this team as it would have been the first time the Ryder Cup had been on Scottish soil in over 40 years.
Going into the 2013 season, he outlined a very specific plan that would allow him to focus on playing his very best in order to earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Through discipline, hard work, and focus, Stephen was able to win back-to-back times in 2013 and 2014 at the Omega Dubai Classic, as well make 4 of 6 cuts in the majors in from June 2013 through to August 2014. He also had several other strong showings in tournaments during this time.
In this episode, we dive deeply into the important roles that resilience and grit played in Stephen's career, especially after being sidelined for nearly 18 months with a debilitating autoimmune disease. Coming back stronger than ever was not only due to having a tremendous amount of gratitude for being able to play the game he loved, it was also due to the wonderful support network he had established in his personal and professional life.
Stephen is a true gentlemen that leads by example. Whether you are a golfer or not, you are sure to find takeaway value in this episode that you can apply in your own life.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."