Friday, December 9, 2016

5 Ways To Know Yourself - Living in Alignment - Part 2

I wrote last week about the idea of alignment.  The basic idea is that when we are aligned in various areas of our lives, we're going to be healthy, when we're misaligned, we're going to be unhealthy.   Think of your car.  If the wheels are aligned properly, the ride is smooth and you get maximum life out of your tires.  If the wheels are misaligned, the ride is rough and your tires wear out prematurely.  Misalignment = pain.  Alignment = fully functional.  Alright, it's pretty easy to see that alignment is a good thing, but how do you know if you're aligned or misaligned?

Let's start that conversation with talking about personal alignment.  In the coming weeks, we're going to explore what it looks like to live in alignment vocationally, with your family, geographically and spiritually.  However, in order to gauge your alignment in all these areas, you're going to need some basic understanding of who you are.  We'll call this personal alignment.

Socrates is credited with the saying, "Know thyself."  He was right.  That is the basis for all else in this life.  But, I'd venture to say that most of us do very little, if any, work to figure out who we are.  That's not just a shame, it's a tragedy, considering that God has created each of us as completely unique individuals with a unique purpose in life.  Some reasons we skip "knowing thyself" is that we're busy, we're uninterested or we're afraid of what we may find - all real (but completely invalid) reasons.  However, my experience with people shows me the biggest reason, by far, that you don't know yourself is that you don't know how.  Where do you start? Good question.  Before we get into the how I need you to know that it's going to cost you.  Time, money and effort. You're going to have to invest all three if you really want to get to know yourself.  Below I'll list five ways you can get to know yourself.  Some are free, some are not, but regardless of the financial cost, they will all require you to invest and they are all worth the investment.

  1. Counseling - If you have deep emotional wounds or scars, this probably should be your beginning point.  Let me help release the stigma for you.  Counseling is not for crazy people.  Counseling is for very sane people who recognize their need to heal from past experiences.  If you make the effort, you can find both free and paid versions of counseling.  Many churches offer what is called "pastoral counseling" where you can meet with someone on the pastoral staff at the church.  This is helpful in varying degrees, depending on your issues and the skill and experience level of the pastor doing the counseling.  This could be a good place to begin and a good pastoral counselor will be able to tell you pretty quickly if you need to take the next step and see a professional counselor.  If you know you've got some wounds to heal from, I highly encourage you to start with some counseling.  
  2. Free Online Assessments - Did you know there are different personality types?  Like I said earlier, you're unique and once you understand some of what makes you unique, you can get yourself aligned in various areas of your life. There are many types of personality inventories and assessments.  For simplicity's sake, I'm going to recommend your begin with one.  It's called the Myers-Briggs and it will help you understand some of your tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.  You can do a free 10-minute version right here.  I'm an INTJ.  What are you? Let us know in the comments below.
  3. Birkman Coaching - The Birkman assessment and follow-up are much more in-depth and will require more of an investment, both in time and finances, but the payoff is more than worth it.  A Birkman assessment with a couple follow-up coaching sessions has been a game-changer for countless people.  It's especially helpful when considering vocational alignment.  At Solace Church, where I serve, we use Birkmans extensively with our staff to help us understand ourselves and one another.  It's been hugely effective.  You can begin the Birkman process for you or your organization here.
  4.  Speak the Right Language - We all speak a certain language when it comes to how we express and receive love.  Gary Chapman's book, "The 5 Love Languages" has been huge for my wife and me since before we were even married.  This is going to be most helpful to you on the relational and family alignment areas, but it also helps in your vocational world.  How helpful would it be to know how your boss or your spouse best receives love and appreciation? How helpful would it be to know that about yourself and be able to communicate it to the people who care most about you?
  5. Life-Planning - Life-Planning sounds like a big deal because it is.   Earlier this year, I began facilitating 2-day LifePlan Retreats.  It's too much to try to explain here, but the long and the short of it is that you'll get incredible perspective on who you are and incredible clarity on where you're going in the next three years - personally, professionally, and spiritually. You can click here for the basic information.  I will be running my next LifePlan Retreat March 23-25, 2017.  Unfortunately, this one is just for men and is limited to the first twelve who register. I should have registration info posted very soon.  
Well, I hope this has been helpful.  If it seems overwhelming, just pick a place to start.  You don't need to do it all at once, just start someplace.  I'd love to hear where you start and what you're learning.  Leave us a comment below.  Good luck knowing thyself!


David Setzer said...


Jason Fitch said...

A fellow introvert!

David Setzer said...

Introvert? I thought it meant It Some Fabulos Juggling