#25 More ME: Guidelines For Getting to ME

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My ME, as I shared last time, is the monster/angel that takes up a lot of space in the back of my brain. And the better I understand it, the better my days become. But getting to my ME was tough. I made a lot of mistakes along the way. So today I'm going to share some GOTCHA's that ME-chasers need to watch out for. 

GOTCHA #1: Cluttering your ME with “DuO”. 

My ME is KNOW, DISTILL, beDIRECT. But what about stuff like honesty, integrity, fairness, teddy bears, apple pie, etc.? Well, that stuff's important, but you have to push it aside during your ME search.

I say this because these qualities only define you if you lack them. If you're dishonest and unfair, then those labels are like flashing lights. But if you're honest and fair all you get is a seat at the table. So they're prerequisites, not differentiators.  

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Think about it from a business perspective. If you run a dishonest and unfair business it defines you. If you run an honest and fair business you get a participation award. You get to compete. But are you the only honest and fair vendor in the land? Isn’t at least one of your competitors also honest and fair? If so, you're still undifferentiated. Something else has to make you/your offering unique. That's your ME. 

So, to avoid muddying your ME, these great admirable qualities have to live somewhere else. They need their own name and place on the map.

The name I've chosen for them on my map is DuO. It's short for "Do unto Others as you would have them do unto you". I think this phrase covers huge territory in the ethics/morals space and reminds me to play nice. And by placing it underneath my ME in the map, I'm showing that these traits are foundational. (I'll show you the revised map next time)

And this way I can keep my ME focused and unique - exactly as it must be.

GOTCHA #2: Too many items in your ME list.

Limit your list to 2 or 3 traits. Do not creep to four or five. We'll talk about this more when we get to the business side, but for now just humor me. Force yourself to distill. Otherwise you'llend up with a long and useless list of generic points. And remember, lots of ME list candidates are already covered by DuO, so they're not forsaken. 

GOTCHA #3: Turning your WHY/ME into a wish list.

Your ME list is not a wish list or a goal list. It’s not about designing the ultimate you.  It's not a tool for impressing your friends. It’s about who you are and who you’ve been for many years. 

GOTCHA #4: You don't have a perfect process for finding your ME.

No you don't, and neither did I. My process was reading and writing and thinking for ten plus years. Probably not the most efficient route, but remember I'm slow. I have to distill so I way overdo it. It's my hope that, by observing my work and drawing your own map, you can move a whole lot faster. 

Ultimately, I think the best recipe is a combination of personal discovery and peer work. A group of folks inspiring and challenging each other to uncover their maps. I have a vision for an experience like this that I hope to create someday. But I have a long way to go, so don’t hold me to it.

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Something you can do right now that might speed your process is to take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI) test. I've taken it several times and it’s amazing how well such a simple test pegged me. It told me I’m an INTJ and here’s a link to what that would predict about me. You'll notice it's a whole lot like the ME post I shared last time

But beware, the MBTI and other psychological tests don't work well for everyone. When Joyce took the test we both thought the descriptions were way off. Not good, but not all bad. Even the process of realizing the test is wrong can lead to worthwhile reflection - don’t you have to have a decent idea of “me” to know “not me”? How’s that for some deep philosophical voodoo?

Anyway, here’s a link to a free unofficial abbreviated MBTI knock-off. It should give you enough ammo to start a conversation with yourself. If you want the real McCoy there are tons of licensed online places that offer it. Let google be your guide. 

GOTCHA #5: Life hasn’t smacked you around enough- YET.

One huge disadvantage some of you might have is youth. You don't have enough data points to draw good conclusions. 

So get more data. Do something, be conscious of the process and the results, and keep moving.  

Don’t get weighed down by the shit storms you’ll encounter along the way. They’ll pass in time and they’ll probably teach you more about yourself than the good times. Working for a flaming asshole taught me more about myself, my limits, and how not to treat people than most of my great bosses did.

So in the words of the immortal Ms. Frizzle “take chances, make mistakes, get messy”.

Get that data. 

GOTCHA #6: Letting money invade your WHY/ME.

Don't do it. You’ll end up getting your ass kicked. 

On second thought, go for it. It's going to hurt, but it might just be the fastest way to learn what you’re really about.

GOTCHA #7: No more gotcha's.

Next time we’ll do some housekeeping before moving on toward personal goals. Then, once we get through this self stuff, we'll finally make it to the business side of the equation. I can’t wait!!!

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