When asked, “Who are you?” so many people answer with “I’m a student,” or “I’m a
mom,” or “I’m a teacher.” Often we answer this question with whatwe are and not
whowe are. The difference between the two is huge. Whatyou are is your work, your
position, your family standing. Who you areis much deeper. Yes, who you are involves
your work and relationships, but it is also the basis for your core, your foundation.
Who you are involves much more than your title as a brother, a mother, a nurse, a
mechanic, or a friend. Who you are involves your morality, your intellect, your spiri-
tuality, your emotions, your beliefs, your culture, your choices, and your dreams.
By understanding the difference between whatyou are and whoyou are, you can
truly begin to understand yourself on a distinctive and higher level. Few people are
willing to take this journey. Fear, time pressures, or lack of motivation may cause peo-
ple to avoid finding the answer, but finding out who you are can be one of the most
rewarding puzzle solutions in your life, and it can give you one of the competitive
edges you need to survive and thrive in today’s world of work.
Consider the puzzle in Figure 1.1. As you can see, youinvolves nine different
pieces. Understanding how each piece affects your actions, goals, relationships,
work ethic, and motivation can mean the difference between success and failure in
work—and in life. As you study the puzzle, consider your strengths and challenges
in each area. How does each piece drive your choices, and how does each piece help
you understand more about who you are? Are there pieces of the puzzle you have
never considered? If so, how has this affected your life in the past? At this time and
place in your life, which piece is the most or least important? Which pieces can you
use to gain a competitive edge, and which pieces need improvement?
As you look at each piece of the me puzzle, think about one strengthyou have
to offer in the workplace and how it will help you in the future. Then think about
one challengeyou will have to overcome for each piece of the me puzzle and how
you plan to do so.