We begin where we are today. After all there is no other place, past or future, that we can be if we want to act on something. The action steps are in the present which of course is why we need to have as clear a sense as possible of where we stand, the space we occupy, our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical being. We do the best we can to be aware of who we are now, in the present.
I believe this is the message of Jesus’s words to Mary on Easter morning. With the speaking of her name, Mary falls at Jesus’ feet and with surprise, relief, clinging to what she has been seeking is says, “Rabbouni!” Jesus’s response is, “Do not hold onto me.” Both of them are in the present, He the resurrected Son of God and she the devoted disciple. Going back to the master-disciple relationship is not possible. Going into the future to tell others is the unknown adventure ahead. The present is speaking with the risen Jesus.
Spiritual Leaders with practice and over time, learn to trust this inner compass of our present experience. Creating personal time and space to listen is one form of prayer. What experiences of your day hold joy and energy and gratitude for you? What within your heart is pulling on your heart strings to draw closer to yourself and closer to others? What gives you delight to share? What thoughts, feelings, longings do you keep coming back to saying to yourself, “if only I could…” These are the elements of self awareness. The picture they form for you becomes clearer over time and becomes clearer with the time you allow yourself to explore them.
There are many other tools for base-line self awareness readily accessible through work or your own exploration for tools. The well-known 360 assessment is a professional close up and it is also a personal close up of you. Strengthfinder offers guidance to the important areas to which to pay attention. Myers Briggs and the Enneagram are also tools to taking a step back from yourself as well as seeing yourself in the context of the wide array of ways that other people view the world. Then there are conflict assessment tools specially designed to illustrate how you handle conflict situations. There are conversation models to help you have more effective conversations with your colleagues. Lots of options to explore and try on. Which every one(s) ring in your heart now? Start there.
What is significant for Spiritual Leaders is that we use any of these tools in the context of the self awareness that prayer brings and apply them in the spiritual communities in which we serve. Where do you want to start? Who do you want on your journey with you?