A Golden Key to Success and Happiness

By Guest Blogger Teresa Proctor

Self Knowledge is one of the keys to happiness and success.  It is more important than any degree, certificate, MBA, IQ, PH,D., or your last job reference.  The better you know  yourself, what your values are, what inspires you, what you are made of, the more successful you will be in work, life and relationships.

Self knowledge is the golden key to success and happiness.  It allows you to be inner directed, self referring, and true to yourself. Self knowledge is the jewel in your crown of success.

I had a client, we’ll call her Kate. Kate was a successful woman with a Ph,D., in Forensic Geology, Kate traveled the world through her work, had won several awards and she was recognized in her field for her contributions. To the outside world, her life looked great. She was successful, and well respected. She lived in a wonderful home, financially she was very comfortable, and her relationships were good. Yet, she said, “I am not happy,” “I don’t feel successful.”  Kate went on to say, “without my career, I couldn’t even tell you who I am.” Kate revealed at the ripe old age of 48 she had a heart attack.

Kate is not unlike so many people, who forge ahead and forget to take themselves along for the ride.

Kate had become a member of the habitually hyperactive community. She forgot how to be still, relax, tune into herself, and to connect with how she really feels. She lost the real access or the connection to her inner self.

Kate had been too busy for over 20 plus years to make any significant time for herself. She had become so outwardly directed that most of her decision had become about what other people wanted, so much so that Kate’s decisions were no longer about her vision or values.

Kate was constantly looking for approval, status and financial compensation, which are only external factors. Kate said, “somewhere along the way I have forgotten how to distinguish between good goals and authentic goals.”

Greek philosopher Pythagoras said, “There is no illness, only ignorance.” The “ignorance”, what Pythagoras spoke of is a lack of self awareness. Without self awareness there is no authentic success, authentic happiness or authentic living.

Without self knowledge you will end up chasing other people’s definition of success.  The failure to be true to yourself, be faithful to your core values, and to listen to your innate wisdom, will leave even the most accomplished person feeling unsuccessful and like something is still missing.

My coaching sessions with Kate were all about rededicating.  I wanted her to get to know who she was again. Like any good coach, I asked Kate a lot of questions.

Intelligent questions are often the answer to our problems and challenges.  The right opened ended questions have a way of unlocking awareness and wisdom, along with the potential we have hidden from ourselves for years.

I told Kate her heart had been sending her “messages” (in the way of physical symptoms) for years, but because she didn’t read the message correctly, the messages over time, grew louder and louder, she said, “yes, that was probably true.”

Many Psychologist, Jungian, Adlerian, and Freud touted the belief; that the lack of self awareness can lead to personal disease and unrest.

I gave Kate an “I AM” Self Rating Test Scale, to use every week. I often use this scale with my private coaching clients to help them read themselves better.

The scale begins by encouraging you to notice your response to each statement. For example, “I am happy,” does this feel true or not? Next you investigate your response by asking yourself questions such as; “Why do I feel this way,” and “What could I be doing differently?”  (to take the full “I AM” Self Rating Scale click here).

Kate and I explored the big questions of life together like:

  • Who is the real me?
  • What have I learned?
  • What have I contributed?
  • What am I committed to?

Just imagine you have received an invitation in the mail today, to submit your bio for the next edition of Who’s Who.  Before you go racing off to find your bio, just stop for a moment and think about your life, and about what you really value. What truly inspires you, and what you love. Now answer the questions above.

Just write down your authentic response, no editing please. We want the real you. Now, when you have finished share your answers with a friend and ask for their feedback.  Are you answers inspiring, or surprising?

Want to test your own personal self awareness, click here now and take the “I AM” test scale and use it on a regular basis.

“The questions which one asks oneself begins at last to illuminate the world, and becomes one’s key to the experience of others.”   -James Baldwin,  Writer

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Teresa Proctor

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