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I have found that to be successful, and happy we must know the difference between doing and being. We talk about doing, doing, doing, but forget about being. The reasons some moments are so effortless or meaningful are due to the integration of both doing (purposefully) and being (intentionally). The doing creates or completes things, doing can accomplish tasks, or take action to solve problems, but the being keeps you in the moment, in the joy of doing. When your attention is deeply, and solely focused in and on what you are doing, then there is joy in the doing; the action is joyous because the moment is intentionally purposeful (in being).

People talk about work/life balance, like it is a scale to be calibrated or a puzzle to be solved, but this will never work, because life is constant, chaotic, and changing. Therefore the balance you should be seeking is between doing and being. If you are self-aware you can recognize when you are doing too much (busy, but not productive), and consciously choose to get back to being in the moment, so that your doing becomes, effective, efficient, and joyous, and conversely you can notice if you are being too much, (thoughtful, but without action), and take meaningful action in alignment with your purpose.

Leaders can create this type of culture that supports both intentional being, and purposeful doing by being heart-centric, by engaging both the heart and the mind, by being authentic, transparent, vulnerable, empathetic, and assertive, and if you do this, or at least work towards this, then you will have gone a long ways towards providing yourself, and others with what so many of us want, to feel seen, valued, and secure.

People seek security and the underlying needs that are fundamental to people’s existence, being seen and feeling valued. And when they don’t have these things people feel anxious, fearful and angry, so to deal with change, and difficulty, you must use your heart and your mind to fully engage with yourself and others.

So the real problem, in companies, or in our own lives is that too many people believe that how they are at work should be different then who they are in life. When people decide to be different then who they really are, they give up their power, they are deciding to be insincere, and inauthentic, to be mediocre, and this has the negative effect of creating distrust, and an ever-widening gap in their life between what is real and what is true.

In all of us there exists a “self” gap, it is that distance between our real self and our ideal or TRUE self, the one that holds meaning in your life.

The reality is that closing the self-gap is the number one thing we can do to increase performance, at work and in our lives. This gap remains as long as we do not feel safe, due to lack of food or sleep, or as long as we do not feel secure, due to instability, or as long as we are left wanting due to not feeling loved, or needed, or if we remain unbalanced in terms of giving and receiving, and lastly if we fill incomplete due to lack of self-respect, self-esteem, or lack of recognition.

To better your life and your performance, and the performance of everyone around you, work on reducing the self-gap in your life that is keeping you from your true self, and support and assist others in seeing and closing their own self-gap. When we decrease the gap, we increase trust, and therefore we improve performance. Therefore, trust is an important factor for an organization that wants to be successful, as it has the ability to enhance employees’ motivation and foster interpersonal communication. Reducing the self-gap take support, time, and persistence, and can be guided by consciously considering and purposefully acting upon these 5 steps.

5 Steps to Shrinking the “Self” Gap

So as to Step Fully into who we are in Leadership and in Life

 Step one– Eat mindfully, and sleep consistently

Step two– Do not worry about the external, especially about things you cannot control, instead consciously decide to create a positive culture, no matter how small the space, or how few the people.

Step three– Be strong by expressing your emotions, not to define what you hate, but to recognize the brilliance and beauty in others, and to celebrate each small victory so as to see the good that surrounds us every day. Do not avoid conflict, or difference of opinion, but see it as an opportunity to learn, by listening and to clarify through responding.

Step four– Give and receive, whenever and wherever you can. Not to gain advantage but to empower yourself and others.

Step five– Learn to “be” quiet, so as to get to know yourself, you cannot be organizationally aware if you are not self-aware. Be grateful while you are being quiet. Recognize your accomplishments, and those of others on a daily basis. Cognitively, and emotionally this predisposes you and those you engage with to perform better, and more importantly to be happier. Happiness is a choice, and it can be learned, and research shows that people that are happy, and have a positive attitude outperform all meaningful metrics, and other types of people. Self-aware, positive people work faster, make better decisions, and contribute at a higher level to the overall good of the organization and their life.

The goal is not perfection on any of these steps, or to check off the steps, but to understand and be aware of where, and when you need to work on these things, so you can step more fully into your true self.

There will always be problems (change, stress, anxiety), the choice is yours whether to be defined by your problems, or pushed forward by your purpose.

Mike Watson

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