Drinking the Kool-Aid. How often have you heard this phrase used, especially in relation to workplace culture.
You drink the Kool-Aid:
- When you accept how things get done around here may be different from what’s stated aloud;
- When you align your behaviour with others’ to effect an outcome;
- By adopting the beliefs of your tribe.
Yet, today’s Life fully loved isn’t about what happens when you drink the Kool-Aid as much as what happens when you don’t. The Kool-Aid I’m discussing today is red-flavoured. I call it love.
You may wonder what love has to do with Kool-Aid. A lot, as a matter of fact.
In my coaching practice, I meet all sorts of great people in various stages of life. I meet younger people starting out their careers, mid-careerists figuring out their next career move, and later-career people, usually in leadership roles, looking for ways to maximize their impact.
The through line is that they are all good, lovable people. But they don’t always think so. They haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid of self-love.
Role of Self-Awareness
Self-awareness starts with a willingness to look inward. Typically, the journey begins when an event trips you up and you find yourself facing a wall.
You’ve lost sight of your inner compass, which previously guided you knowingly or without conscious awareness, and that inner guidance system is letting you know that it wants to play a bigger role in your life through its sudden absence.
Coaching starts with self-discovery to develop deeper self-awareness. It involves understanding your values, which motivate you intrinsically and lead to behaviours you regularly demonstrate, i.e. habits.
Without identifying your values, you can’t navigate properly. It’s like steering a ship with missing rudders. You may keep moving but you’re not getting anywhere.
You also need to know your saboteurs, that is, your limiting beliefs or your “fear patterns.” Without recognizing how you naturally react when you feel stress, you can’t find constructive ways to respond appropriately. Your saboteurs are good at triggering and keeping you in a negative loop cycle.
Of course, there are other elements to knowing yourself including your strengths, your skills, how you influence others, your need for social interaction, your drive for stability, and how you conform to rules and structure.
However, here’s the part I want you to know most.
At your core, you are one thing and one thing only.
You are loved, unconditionally. You are unconditionally lovable. There’s no, “You will be lovable when…” or “You’re not lovable because…”
It upsets me how many people don’t love themselves or who love themselves conditionally. The consequence is that successful progress in coaching remains limited. I can help you gain insight, share professional resources, and build new habits, but it only works from a baseline of loving yourself.
I’m not talking about self-confidence or even self-acceptance. It’s simply a willingness to acknowledge a universal truth that you are loved unconditionally.
Love as Cornerstone
Developing greater self-awareness begins the larger work of self-actualization. With love, you construct its cornerstone.
Love takes many names: Leader Within, Sage, God, Inner Wisdom. Whatever form it takes, I believe drinking the Kool-Aid means accepting you are loved.
By loving yourself, you will accomplish anything you choose to focus your attention on. Don’t believe me? Try it.