When we live our lives or build our businesses applying foundational skills like emotional intelligence, we can avoid building on a rocky emotional foundation or “emotional fault lines.” When things are calm, all is well. However, when life and business become turbulent, everything we’ve built can quickly tumble down, and priorities can fall through the cracks.
Without awareness, we may be ignorant—or in denial—of the chaos that is compounding below the surface.
Too often, we avoid addressing gaps and problems until they’ve become so painful that we can no longer bear to ignore them. Whether it’s our car that needs maintenance, our health, or the health of our organization that needs attention, we tend to become comfortable and tolerate minor aches and pains until they demand our attention. When we ignore our problems, they become much more costly to solve.
The $75 oil change we kept putting off has shortened the life of our car and led to thousands of dollars in repairs. The once minor pain in our knee that we avoided addressing now becomes so unbearable that it warrants surgery. And the steady decline in the health of our company culture now has steep losses that negatively impact our bottom line and talent base.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. And we are often left scratching our heads, thinking, “How did we get here?” And “Why did I let this go so far?”
How to identify gaps:
We can begin by doing an examination, starting with asking ourselves. What values are our lives, relationships, friendships, or organization founded on?
It’s essential to be aware that defining our values and living our values can be vastly different from one another, just like defining our perfect partner, and the reality of the relationship can be vastly different.
Regardless of what we envisioned, ultimately, our values—as with any of our relationships— will reflect who we are NOW and what our core values are NOW.
That said, we must identify the gap(s) from where we are to where we want to be or who we want to be— personally, professionally, as a family, team, organization, etc.
It’s common for us to try to convince ourselves that we ARE who we want to be, that our values ARE in alignment even if they’re not, because it’s difficult for us to accept that we may not be living up to our vision and values.
We have a choice to make. We can continue to deny that a gap exists from where we are to where we want to be, or we can accept that something is out of alignment, find it, and bridge the divide.
Here are some questions to ask:
Are you meeting your values today?
How are you meeting your values today?
Where do you need improvement?
What is your plan for growth?
Be honest with yourself as you answer the above questions.
You may feel discomfort when answering some of these questions because it’s not always easy to be honest with yourself and realize we’re not meeting our expectations. Have compassion for yourself in this process, and know we all have room to grow.
That said, we want to avoid deflecting and dismissing our gaps, which prevent us from growing.
We tend to deflect or dismiss our gaps because the act of addressing them is too uncomfortable, which may lead us to find someone else to blame (directing attention away from solving our problem(s)). And, when we can’t avoid our problems any longer, we search for an attractive (yet often elusive) quick fix that will likely lead to regression instead of progression.
Alternatively, we can identify our gap(s) and work with an expert to create a strategic and realistic plan for bridging their gap(s).
Which route will you take when addressing yours?