We all would prefer to live in our own fairy tale world - where things go just as we want them to, no one ever questions us, and we never compromise our values and personal standards. Most of us would also agree that this world doesn’t really exist. It’s a myth.
However, there are far too many people living as if it were a reality. They ignore the inevitable challenges, dismiss anyone that questions their performance or behavior, and claim to stick to their values regardless of the situation. On the surface this may appear as strong and noble, but under the armor it’s soft and weak.
Our goal should not be to SEEM to be anything - it should be to BE something.
Why Should We Care? When we are sold on SEEMING, our actions are not set while our desired results are. We enter into a situation knowing what we want it to SEEM like to ourselves and others. Our actions will fluctuate however they need to in order for us to SEEM the way we desire. Rather than being focused on our actions, we are consumed with the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that our actions create. These varying lenses lead to varying actions depending on the situation, circumstances, and people involved.
A commitment to BEING is different. It’s action-centered. Our actions are set, the results are not - kind of. When focused on BEING, we commit to the process while surrendering the results. We don’t concern ourselves with what others may think, but simply focus on what we believe and trust. Operating with this type of clarity, and simplicity, relieves us of much of the stress and anxiety we experience trying to play politics and please everyone around us.
REAL TALK - Action Steps The missing ingredient in all of this is the action. What actions should we be taking? We all experience so many different situations in a single day, how are we supposed to know which actions to take? The answer to that question should lead you back to your core values. A lot of people, and businesses, have core values - or SEEM to. They have posters and signs. They can recite them and tell you how important they are to everyone there. They SEEM to have values, but we can talk about a lot of things.
How family is so important to me, yet I consistently miss family events for work. How service to others is important, yet I spend 16 hours a week golfing and haven’t volunteered anywhere in 2 years. How I value hard work and commitment, yet I hit snooze five times on my alarm clock every morning.
While thoughts and theory drive SEEMING, it’s action that drives BEING.
Every year in our leadership class we take about a week to explore the values of fast food restaurants. The big question is - do what they say they value align with what you experience when you go there? That’s the same question for you. That’s the difference between SEEMING and BEING. Take a look at your values and decide what each one looks like at its most basic, foundational level.
Once you have an action for each of your personal values you need to develop the habit of practicing that behavior daily. Create a check-off chart, journal each evening, or use an app on your phone in order to hold yourself accountable to living those actions each day. It’s important to also be aware of when your actions didn’t align with your values. What pulled you away? Why did you choose different actions at that moment? (I’m betting seeming had something to do with it …)
It seems counter-intuitive, but asking others to evaluate how you’ve been on the actions you are attempting to live by is a great way to gain feedback and direction. The critical part of course is asking the right people. The more critical, the better, in my opinion. A simple question such as - based on my actions, what are four values that you think are really important to me? They may not get the exact same words, but they should be able to be in the ballpark. If they have no idea, you aren’t living your actions consistently.
So, are you SEEMING or BEING? Fixated on the results or committed to the process? Remember, it’s our actions - not our thoughts, words, signs, or mission statements - that determine our future. Act boldly!
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