Following is an article by Wendy Appel, Author of the recently released InsideOut Enneagram: The Game-Changing Guide for Leaders. I am thrilled to introduce Wendy and her book as a wonderful resource to support your personal journey to leadership mastery.
“When should I get up in the morning?” “What is the first thing I’ll do when I get out of bed?” “What will I eat for breakfast or will I eat breakfast? “Today I am going to buy that shiny new object and accrue debt.” “I can cross this ethical line, just once.”
On and on … we make little daily choices.
They add up. Over time, these choices become our habits – conscious or unconscious, wanted or unwanted.
While they may seem somewhat benign at first, these little choices make up how we live daily.
Unfortunately there are some choices that are not in our best interests or in service of our commitments and values, so our mind starts rationalizing: “OK. Just this once. A few more times won’t hurt. I’ll have that conversation with X later. I’ll start/stop doing X tomorrow, next week, after I turn 50 … ”
Yet think about it. This is your one precious life. How do you want to create your life?
All these little choices add up to the life each of us chooses to create. It is the “drip, drip” of the water that over time carves out a rut that keeps us stuck, or a flow that carries us forward.
These aren’t just habits that we have at home. I am talking about the whole YOU. Meaning, your private and public self; the way you are with your family, friends AND the way you LEAD. There is no separation, much as we’d like to think so.
Wherever we go, there we are.
Some of these choices create the pile of dirt and dust under the carpet that we ultimate trip over, and end up hurting ourselves, and often others.
These little habits become our patterns of living and interacting. They affect our mental, physical, spiritual health and wellbeing.
…If I decide, upon waking to meditate and this becomes a habit, my spiritual, emotional and mental wellbeing can be enhanced dramatically.
…If I choose to build exercise into my day, my overall health will improve.
…If I choose to support rather than criticize, my interactions with people will become more joyful and loving and they in turn, will benefit. I will feel better about myself too!
When faced with BIG CHOICES–the forks in the road that determine the course of our life–our little choices feed into the forks we ultimately choose.
These choices determine the course and direction for our life. Yet, many of us are sleepwalking down the road. These BIG CHOICES take us on a path and on an adventure to an unknown destination. Should I go to university? Drop out of school? Marry X? Have children? Take X job? Leave X job? Follow my dream? Buy that house? Move to X? What are the little habits that feed how we make these big decisions and which path we choose?
Then there are these seemingly small, yet BIG CHOICES – the ones we make between staying true to our core beliefs and ethics or not. Unfortunately, once we violate our own ethics, it becomes easier and easier to cross that line again, until we rationalize it as OK, “everybody else is doing it …” Suddenly we are on a path, perhaps to our own self-destruction and to hurting countless others.
The GOOD NEWS is that we can course-correct. The locus of control is within us.
We can either choose to create our lives consciously, with vision, purpose and intent, or be carried away by invisible currents to a destiny not of our conscious choosing.
I have found the Enneagram to be a useful shortcut to self-awareness, because it helps bring many of these unconscious habits and patterns to light. It gets to why we think, feel and act in patterned ways and to our beliefs about ourselves and the world that undergird our choices.
If you want to peel back the curtain on your life and begin to consciously choose the path you are walking, the Enneagram is a great way to do that. I can say that the insights have been breathtaking and life changing for me personally and I have witnessed this for countless others.
With awareness, you choose: Where do you want to place your focus, time, attention and energy?
Your day can be like a meditation. Observe your thoughts and choices. Don’t judge. Watch. Now what? Choose wisely. Move toward creating the life you desire. Ask yourself, “what will get me closer to the results I want?
This is your one precious life, what do you choose to create?