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    Purposeful Living: Strengthening My Credibility

    In the purposeful Living Program this week, I tackled self-trust and worked on the four core principles of credibility.

    More from the Purposeful Living program:

    In Bianca van Wyk‘s sixth video on Purposeful Living, she taught us about self-trust and strengthening the four cores of our credibility.

    So, as per her instruction, I spent some time this week focusing on my four cores (integrity, intent, capabilities and results.

    Core credibility #1: Integrity

    For me, the first part of this, my congruence, fits with the way that I apply my day-to-day values. Of course, my values today aren’t quite the same as they were as a teenager, but at this stage of my life, I feel like my values and principles such as honesty, perseverance and “standing up for the little guy” are reflected in the way I conduct myself day-to-day. I actively avoid lying – sometimes to a fault – and, despite spending my entire adult life being an advocate for change, justice and equality, and I haven’t been deterred by various challenges. And I’ve shown the courage in asking tough questions, going against the grain and challenging the beliefs of people who I have deep respect and admiration for – not merely to cause trouble, but to help them change their perceptions and be more conscious about the world around them.

    However, I also think I fail in terms of humility in many ways. Not because I don’t stand behind my values. But I do like to be right. Flaunting my intelligence and body of knowledge gives me a major ego boost. I am able to admit when I’m wrong and change my positions on some things, but there are certainly moments in my everyday interactions with people who challenge me that I simply dismiss off-hand because they exhibit telltale signs of an ideology that I despise. Rather than hear out their points, I simply dismiss the possibility of a person with opposing values to be right, without the full context of their experiences or even what their beliefs are, at length.

    When it comes to improving my integrity, I immediately see my flaws in that I fail to keep commitments to myself. I often need to actually have a “partner” that I can be accountable to, rather than just myself, because I know I rarely do something for my own sake. For example, I neglect my body. My exercise routine could definitely be better.

    I intoxicate myself with harmful substances and my diet is far from perfect. There have been a few times when I try to take on a new habit/hobby, such as learning a new language or how to meditate. And I almost never follow through. I also make too many commitments at once, which often means I’ll drop out of something and miss an opportunity almost without even taking note of it.

    Core credibility #2: Intent

    My intent – I feel like this may be my strongest point. My motives are about taking care, not only of the people around me, but complete strangers. For example, if my doorbell rings and someone asks for food or clothes, I don’t even hesitate to give them as much as I can. Because I know when my next meal is coming. I don’t judge their character or diminish their humility. I know that a few pieces of fruit and canned food will mean far more to them than it does to me.

    And my agenda is mutually beneficial in what some may label as charity (a term I despise). Restoring dignity or empowering someone may seem to be a one way street, but it does help me sleep at night, so I can’t deny that it benefits me in my own way. However, this is one, oversimplified example. My behaviour stretches far beyond generosity, and not necessarily in a good way. I try to be good to the people around me, but I can slack off, prefer to spend time in solitude and can come across as neglectful. Spending more time actively focusing on what I intend to do – my short terms visions, mostly – I could yield far better outcomes. Life’s about the journey, not the destination right? There are too many potholes on my road to build credibility and I need to focus on repairing these things.

    Core credibility #3 Capabilities

    My capabilities are where I feel like I can/have truly done well in many ways. Although I don’t like to compliment myself, I have been labelled as intelligent, dedicated and a talented writer. However, I also feel that my attitude leaves a lot of room for improvement. I’m pessimistic and lack self-belief. I certainly don’t trust myself to successfully deliver on promises that I make to myself, my ability to chase my dreams and achieve them. And when I am able to achieve certain things, I undermine it and write it off to good luck or the support of those around me. Not exactly positive energy…

    Then, in terms of skills and knowledge, I think I get this right. For example, I have spent the last year or so learning about web development, a set of skills that I have no formal qualifications for. I’ve taken online courses, read learning material and watch YouTube videos to ensure that I stay on top of trends in my industry. Yet, my style does often get in the way. I can be lazy… and I don’t really do the due diligence thing too well. I can overlook important things simply because I tend to rush through a lot of the work I do.

    Core credibility #4: Results

    Results are what I’ve identified as my weakest core principle of credibility. My definition of results has always come down to broader goals. I often fail to put one foot in front of the other and break my results down into smaller, achievable goals. Sometimes my failures help me to learn – in fact, they frequently do. However, my failures are often a result of bad attitudes that I have thus far failed to change. Again, I’m lazy. However, I am able to make others believe in my vision and can convincingly argue why a certain project I’m working on can be successful. Often, circumstances are out of my control and barriers prove difficult to overcome.

    Therefore, I under-deliver and it has turned into a vicious circle in many ways. Yet, I do choose to grow. I can safely say that I’ve failed at many things in my life and tend to learn lessons the hard way. But I do learn well and with each iterative mistake, I improve little by little each time until I start to notice a major change and am therefore better in my execution. However, the extended string of failures that are necessary to get my to that point can often lead to a lack of trust or diminishing credibility.

    So, to take responsibility for my results, I need to look at what they are. At the beginning of this program, I set a target of 30,000 views per month on this blog. I haven’t even gotten halfway there. On this front, I’ve failed. However, I do believe I’m building a solid foundation by focussing beyond my content, by challenging myself to take on things like improving my blog’s mobile performance or SEO and things of that nature, which lie outside of my nominal skill-set.

    Continue/Stop/Start Inquiry

    So at the end of the day, I’ve come up with a few good answers to the questions Bianca asked us to look at:

    What is one thing that I’m doing that I should continue doing?

    I think my constant hunger to grow and get better at things that I’m bad at is great. It keeps me humble, challenged and engaged and I’m certain it will yield better results in the future.

    What is one thing that I’m doing that I think I should stop doing?

    Over-promising and under-delivering. I tend to make lofty promises, see little progress and give up. In some ways, I do persevere, but there are many ways in which I can get better. Setting more realistic targets and taking more responsibility for them is something I need to work on.

    What is one thing that I’m not doing now that I should start doing?

    I need to stat keeping the promises I make myself. I need to consider myself worthy of the time I spend on things. I need to improve myself and the first step towards doing so is respecting myself and considering the consequences of letting myself down, putting it on par with the accountability I try to maintain when doing something for someone else.

    Bianca’s Purposeful Living program this week has helped me realise that many of the demons I battle every day are self-imposed. I need to work on myself and consider myself worthy of the good outcomes of hard work that I don’t hesitate to put in for others. I need to trust myself to do right by myself. I need to prioritise my goals. And, if I don’t, what does that say about me to the outside observer? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

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