Know thyself, an Ancient Greek aphorism shrouded in ambiguity, was one of 147 maxims inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. In Ancient Greece, kings and peasants alike would travel great lengths to consult the oracle, who, in a trance-like state, would share the eminent prophesies that were to be implemented by the worthy supplicants. I don't need an oracle to predict my future; I know that understanding who I am can determine how I navigate future circumstances, which can lead to a more desirable outcome. Recognizing my strengths and weaknesses saves time and frustration because I know to delegate the tasks I despise, then embrace tasks that arouse passion and joy. Discovering my personality traits, like if I work better alone or with a group, if I'm a creative or an analytic, an extravert or an introvert, leads to better decision making to maximize efficiency in the workplace. The interactions I have with customers matter; I AM the brand, a walking billboard, an ambling representation of what my business stands for. Knowing who I am – even the bad – is crucial for entrepreneurial success.
Time has taught me to observe my parents for a more objective way to ascertain the type of person I am and who I'm going to be. I'll give you a hint if you choose to undertake this exercise as well: take note on which of their behaviors annoy you the most. We subconsciously overlook our own flaws and project the anger and frustration onto those same flaws we see in other people. No matter how much you try to fight it, you pick up some of their mannerisms, viewpoints, beliefs.
But that's not always a bad thing.
I'm 26, and I still live at home. My goal in life is to own at least an entire wall of books, I have a slight obsession with Chance the Rapper, and Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I'm also an introspective that likes to understand the "why" behind the actions of myself and others.
Starting this coworking venture with my dad has opened the door to a whole slew of self observances, one of which is the reason why I want to open a cowork space in the first place. Ever since I can remember, I've wanted my career to revolve around serving other people, I just didn't know in what capacity. After a conversation with my dad I realized that he shared the same purpose; he is channeling it by supervising and supporting the fruition of my dreams to become realities. Turns out, however, that I've gotten a double dosage of compassion for the community; It just took a recent event to occur for my mom to unveil hers from within too.
My mom is superwoman. A couple weeks ago, she flitted to a town hall meeting to fight against the implementation of a corporation on historic land in Floyd County. That was after she had watched my two-year-old nephew all day, folded all the clothes I'd left in the dryer, and had dinner ready on the stove. When she returned, her cheeks were flushed from the excitement of her small victory. As soon as she crossed the threshold, she exclaimed, "We won! Well, they're at least postponing the project for now!" There was a buzz of newfound energy that consumed her – something I hadn't seen in her before. She was standing up for something she believed in. The responsibility she felt in preserving the town was palpable, and I wasn't the only one who noticed.
WDRB caught wind of my mom's rally cry and captured her insistence to use the space in a more sustainable fashion that would benefit the entire county. Her interview aired that night.
Now, back to understanding my "why." This sense of social responsibility is something beyond my control, something ingrained in me since birth. Wanting to be part of something bigger than myself, even if I had to lead the charge, was an inherited trait from my parents. A trait I'm proud of; A trait that has already empowered me; A trait that I can depend on during the days that seem impossible to conquer. No, I don't need an oracle – I can look at the actions of my mom and dad. A woman who will stand up for what she believes in, and a man who will stand up for who he believes in... maybe my own list of aphorisms should begin with know thy parents.