Who are you?

“I have found that the greatest help in meeting any problem with decency and self-respect and whatever courage is demanded, is to know where you yourself stand. That is, to have in words what you believe and are acting from.”

William Faulkner

Do you have a written list of the things that you hold most dear? A list of principles or values that you use to guide your thoughts and actions? How long is your list? Is it a list of things that describe the person you want to be or the one that you actually are? I would suggest that if you list is longer than three things it is too long. You can’t be everything to everyone. Your values can’t be aspirational or only apply some of the time. It must be the deep bedrock of who you are as a person so that no matter what storm is going on around you, you have a very clear picture of what is really important.

If you don’t have this written down then carve out some time to think about it. Brainstorm a long list of all the principles that matter to you and then narrow it down so that you can have, in writing, that which truly matters. Look at it every day and ask yourself this question.

Am I living my life in a manner that reflects what I believe?

What are my values?

“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

There is so much wisdom in this quote. Each sentence can and should be unpacked and thought through with great care and intention. To turn this into action begin with the last sentence and work through this question:

What are my values?

Once you have captured these clearly then you can attack the sentences in order but always through the lens of your values.

Are my thoughts reflective of my values?

Are my words reflective of my values?

Are my actions reflective of my values?

Are my habits reflective of my values?

Are my values reflective of the legacy I want to leave?

To live a life of authenticity one must start with the values and build everything up from that. Otherwise life is happenstance and accidental. Which is no way to live.

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