Know Thyself

“‘Know thy God’: [1 Chronicles 28:9] rather than ‘Know Thyself’ is the categorical imperative of the biblical man. There is no self-understanding without God-understanding.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

Cherry blossoms in Washington DC
Cherry blossoms in Washington DC

“Good leaders learn their specific personal strengths and weaknesses, especially in dealing with other people, then build on the strengths and correct the weaknesses.” – Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

“Unless we can bear self-mortification, we shall not be able to carry self-examination to the necessary painful lengths. Without humility there can be no illuminating self-knowledge.” –Arnold Toynbee

One of the things I have enjoyed (most of the time anyway) here at Ambassador Enterprises is the focus on understanding yourself as well as those you work with on a daily basis. If you lack self awareness you are unable to know how to develop your strengths and to correct your weaknesses and thus are less effective.

There are some challenges and difficulties with coming to know ourselves better. First of all, once you get a correct view of yourself, it is almost always never as flattering as the image you have built of yourself. True self awareness can be painful as it shatters some of your delusions about yourself, so sometimes we avoid really confronting ourselves. As Toynbee states above, it requires humility to know yourself.

Secondly, knowing yourself is not really about you. Sounds a little backwards right? Knowing yourself better so that you can grow in your strengths and correct your weaknesses is not really all about you. It is about you learning to work with and to serve better those you serve with in the different spheres of your life. It is about you becoming a more effective member of your community. It about you having a greater impact for God’s kingdom and ultimately about bringing Him glory.

Another of the challenges of learning about ourselves is that we label ourselves and then excuse some of our behaviors and weaknesses. We just say, “Well, I am a WXYZ and that is just the way we are.” Wrong, self awareness gives you the opportunity to start dealing with your weaknesses and to learn how to better work with others. You can change.

Learn who you are, discover how the Lord wired you. There are many good assessment tools out there and one I recommend is the MinistryStyles Assessment – it is very thorough and very helpful. So learn and capitalize on your strengths and work to mitigate your weaknesses. Understand how you relate with and impact others. Become a more effective member of your community and have a greater impact on your world.

Hope you have a great Wednesday!