An excellent book I read lately is The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive by my favorite non-fiction author Brendon Burchard.
In the book, Brendon talks about the 10 human drives that help us lead a charged life.
There are 5 baseline drives and 5 moving forward drives.
One of the baseline drives is Congruence.
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Below is how Brendon explains congruence –
‘How we think of ourselves (our self-image) and how we behave in accordance with that image in the real world is the stuff of congruence. It’s one of the most profoundly powerful drives we have as humans – to live in consistent alignment with who we think we are, how we want others to perceive us, and who we want to become. When we don’t behave as the person we believe ourselves to be, we feel “off”, “out of sorts” and often frustrated or angry. If we think we’re lions, for example, but we act as mice, we secretly loathe ourselves.’ – Brendon Burchard
When I read this piece of writing I had a lightbulb moment.
I had been feeling frustrated and angry with myself but wasn’t sure why I felt that way.
I realized reading that paragraph that I wasn’t living up to the person I know I can be. I wasn’t being congruent.
One thing that jumped out at me and hit a nerve was the word consistent. It mentions living in consistent alignment with who we think we are.
Consistency can be hard for many of us, including me.
I decided it was time to get more congruence in my life.
One of the exercises in the chapter on congruence is to brainstorm and choose three words that describe who you are. You choose words based on who you view yourself to be.
The second part of the exercise is to pick three words that describe how you are on a social level. As in how you want to behave and interact with other people.
So off I went and picked my words.
Obviously there a lot of different ways we want to interact with people but this is about choosing 3 key behaviors that are important to you.
For the social aspect, I choose the words –
I set out to make sure I was acting and behaving in alignment with these words.
Not long after that, I had a fight with a family member. They said something that upset me (a LOT) and I lost my temper, got angry, said some things and hung up.
It pains me to admit that I was a very long way from being supportive, kind and inspiring.
Which got me thinking about the other side of who we are.
It got me thinking about the side of ourselves that we would rather not admit is there but is still a part of us (whether we like it or not).
It’s often the part of us we try to keep hidden from other people.
This side of ourselves may not even appear very often but when it does it causes damage and messes with our lives.
I thought it was important, to be honest with myself and admit who I can be when I am stressed, anxious or when someone pushes me to my limits. I generally don’t have much of a temper but when I am pushed too far, I have a tendency to lash out.
Looking at this other side of myself, I realized there was a different set of words in play and it took a lot of being honest with myself to own up to them.
Here they are.
Yikes like I said – not the nicest side of myself.
It can be hard to shine a light on our darker side. It can be challenging to face the unpleasant side of ourselves.
But it can also be a breakthrough.
It showed me what I need to work on.
The good news is once you know where you need to do the work, you can get in and get busy improving your situation.
I realized that most of the emotions above are usually set off by some sort of trigger.
My mission is to discover those triggers and work out what actions I need to take to avoid and/or minimize them.
Related content –
- Know Your Trigger Words and How to Deal with Them
- Words to Stop Using to Move Your Life Forward
- Know Your Dark Side
For instance, the conversation that upset me on the phone wasn’t something that I haven’t heard before.
It’s an unsettling topic I know will come up again, so I need to arm myself with techniques and calming strategies so that next time I have a different and much more positive reaction.
It’s about working out what and who pushes your buttons (even when the person pushing the buttons is YOU) so that you are equipped to deal with them.
I’m happy to report that my new commitment to congruence (in line with working on my darker side) is already yielding positive results.
In a recent conversation, someone said something that has always been upsetting for me and I calmly and assertively discussed the topic. We ended up having a rational discussion about it. The person even ended up agreeing with me in the end.
Here’s to congruence and living aligned with who you want to be!
Keeping the focus on being more supportive, kind and inspiring is my main goal but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be aware of my shadow side as well.
As I mentioned earlier, you also choose three personal words for who you want to be.
My words are –
Today I have accomplished all three. Celebrations all round!
A helpful tool I am using is my High Performance Planner. I already use the planner to journal, plan my priorities, schedule tasks, and help work on the 6 high performance habits, so the planner is a great place to monitor my levels of congruence as well.
So what about you?
What are your 3 personal words on who you are?
What are your 3 words on how you want to behave with other people?
Do some brainstorming and choose your words. Start living them on a daily basis.
Behave as the best version of yourself and you’ll be living a much more charged, exciting and congruent life.
If self-doubt is causing you to struggle with being congruent, I highly recommend taking the online course How to Break the Habit of Self Doubt and Build Real Confidence. The course is run over at CreativeLive and taught by the amazing Mel Robbins. Read my review on how this online course can help you. Breaking the habit of self-doubt can definitely help with being more congruent in life.
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