Do you pay attention to what’s around you? Sometimes I notice everything. Yet there are other times when I’m distracted and it seems like “life” passes me by. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were walking near the Hotel del Coronado just off San Diego. We were on our way to the beach for a sunset stroll. And then I saw them. Black flowers!
Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never, NEVER, bought black flowers. In fact, I’ve never even looked for them. Red roses, white daisies, pink tulips, and so on, but NEVER black flowers. When celebrating my wife’s 40th birthday, I thought about it. THOUGHT. ABOUT. IT. Didn’t DO it. Know what I mean?
Yet somehow these black flowers in San Diego, correction – Coronado, stood out to me. Proud. Different. Unique. Confident. Some of you may know what type of flower they are. You may even know of many types of black flowers. But me? These were some of the first black flowers I’ve seen in the wild. And I’ve been around.
While tempted to pick a couple and take them back to our hotel room, I did not. First, we weren’t staying at “the Del.” Second, it’s not my thing. I sometimes live on the edge and push the limits, but I’m not likely to take a rock from the Petrified Forest or “borrow” flowers from someone else’s garden. So instead, I did the next best thing. I took a picture.
Honestly, I’m not sure if I really liked these flowers. They were different. They were unique. They were bold and confident. And they were “special.”
But I prefer yellow and pink flowers, such as those found on my favorite flower of all time, Graham Thomas old English roses. So, unique, but not my thing.
However, as my wife and I walked along the beach and dipped our toes in the Pacific (cold!) I kept thinking about those black flowers. Unique. Bold. Confident. Different. And it made me think about my own colors. My own walk. My own path. Was I willing to stand firm? Who I go against the flow? Would I take a stand? Would I be willing to be bold, confident, different and unique if the situation called for it? Or would I go with the crowd? Cave to peer pressure?
Over many (many) years, I’ve learned that people are different. Families of origin are different. Goals and approaches are different. Even those of us who have similar values are different. Some are pink tulips. Some are red roses. Others are white daises. And, yes, some are even black flowers.
Who are you? What are your values? Are you willing to take a stand? Are you willing to be different? Are you willing to go against the grain, swim against the current? Maybe I have an unfair advantage. I’ve always done my own thing. Those who know me well know that I’m a bit unconventional. I don’t follow the fashion trends. I don’t enjoy being like everyone else. I want to be my own person. I want to be unique. I want to add value in a special way. I want to be a black flower.
You can do it your way. Perhaps you like to blend in. That’s fine. But know who you are. Know why you believe what you do. Know why have the values you do. Know who you are.
Me? I’m a Christian man. I’m a father. I’m a dad. I’m a son. I’m a worker. I’m a boss. I’m a neighbor. I’m a helper. I love helping others be successful. I love being part of a winning team. I love being part of a close community. I love adventure. I love good food. I love family. I love developing others and helping them grow. I love helping people and teams achieve high levels of success. That’s me. Who are you? I know who I am. Do you know who you are?
Great leaders know who they are. They know where they’re headed. They know their values. They know their limits. Do you?
If you have good self-awareness, you probably have a good idea who you are. If you don’t, get help. Get an executive coach. Get a close friend. Get a trusted colleague. Ask for feedback. Get their perspective. Participate in 360 degree feedback. Any way possible, get some objective perspective on who you are. Know who you are. It is the beginning of growth. And the beginning of true contentment. Be who you are. Stretch and grow. But always remain true to yourself. Don’t try to live someone else’s life. Great leaders know who they are. Do you?
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
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