Temet Nosce (Warts and All)

TemetNosce_croppedLast week we began on the topic of “rebuilding”—which is what so many of us find ourselves doing these days. Some of us are doing so as a result of the slugging economy—either business has dropped off and we are attempting to add to our client base; or perhaps we are seeking a new job and in the process, executing a positive turning point in our career.

Building new, if we all agree that’s what “rebuilding” is, starts with a strong foundation. To this end, we must identify the weak spots–our weak spots.

In the 1999 movie The Matrix, there is a scene in the apartment of the character known as “the Oracle.” She’s an old woman who is assumed to have all the answers. Above her kitchen door hangs a plaque with the following inscription, “Temet Nosce,” which is a translation of gnōthi sauton, Greek for “Know Thyself,” from the temple of Apollo at Delphi. (Find my reference source here.) People come to the Oracle seeking answers, and yet she freely admits that she cannot tell people that which they do not already inwardly know (or at least have the capacity to self-discover).

This leads me to recalling the brief yet simple Serenity Prayer adopted almost universally by the recovery movement:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

There is a heck of lot of wisdom packed into those lines: acceptance of what is, and the freedom of surrender. In this spirit (that is, your spirit), as you build new it’s important to run a “personal balance sheet,” like suggested last week. Know your strengths, but also know your limitations.

Put simply: What are you not good at? Are you attempting to be something that you are not?

Face it–every one of us has limitations. We have physical limitations, emotional limitations, intellectual limitations. List them out. Know what they are. Once you inventory these limitations, inwardly and honestly, that’s not the end. It is just the beginning.

Some of those limitations can be changed–that is, you can overcome them and improve yourself in those areas. This might be in becoming a better listener or prospector. Perhaps it is simply rising each morning at the same early time. Indeed, we are always in training to improve ourselves.

But you also have limitations that you cannot change–at least for now; and often forever. This is where you must pray for “…the wisdom to know the difference.” Indeed, the limitations you possess are not intended to hold you back–rather it is your opportunity to delegate. It’s your opportunity to explore partnerships, and thus new prosperous relationships.

How many of us have encountered colleagues or even business owners who could not be honest with themselves about their own limitations? Even to the point of hurting their personal and professional lives? We have all seen it in others, if not in ourselves.

As far as delegation, the cost of NOT doing so IS much higher! Be honest about what you do best, and focus on that.

You have limitations, just like everyone else. But that does not mean that they have to limit you. Indeed, that’s what we have each other for, is it not?

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