Identify Your Ideal Self

For the longest time, I never considered myself to have any artistic expression. I then realized that my definition of artistic expression was far too limited and that this might be the case for the way I defined other things. I have a deep and profound love for photography for many reasons. There are many photographers who will always surpass me in skill, technique, knowledge, and ability to produce high quality images, but becoming the best photographer has never been my goal in my use of photography. One of the reasons I love photography is because it forces me to reframe the way I look at a scene and by doing so I gain a new perspective. This new perspective always highlights some new aspect that had gone unnoticed prior to this reframing that often becomes my favorite aspect of the picture which might be a very minor detail to someone else. I love to play with the light and see how moving the lens around changes the way the light interacts with the subject of my focus. This exercise has shown me a depth of value in the scenes of life that I have often reflected upon and how they can be applied to other aspects of my life, leadership journey, and overall growth as a person. 

Adam introduced us to the beautiful concept of the Ideal Self, that is profoundly taught by Richard Boyatzis, in the most recent podcast episode. In these teachings Richard connects the Ideal Self to intentional change theory (ICT) and there is a depth of writings on those amazing concepts. I shared one article in the show notes by Richard Boyatzis and Kleio Akrivou that I wanted to reshare here: ( because how it expanded my understanding of the importance of the Ideal Self that Adam introduced us to. In their article Boyatzis and Arkivou emphasized “it is the core mechanism for self-regulation and intrinsic motivation. It is manifest as a personal vision, or an image of what kind of person one wishes to be, what the person hopes to accomplish in life and work” (p. 625) They illustrate how important positivity and hope are to our Ideal Self throughout this article and it helped me rediscover that when I am framed in the negative, I am often limiting my definition of what I can and ought to be or become. 

One of the things that attracted me to invite Adam onto the podcast was that I sensed that he was as devoted to servant leadership as I was. What I discovered after he introduced me to the concept of Ideal Self and then relistened to the episode is that Adam has been on informed discovery to become his Ideal Self and that path has led to an embeddedness in servant leadership. I gave a challenge during the episode to look at your Ideal Self and to get creative as you thought about it, so I share this image and these thoughts as I have thought about my Ideal Self. This exercise helped me discover that my Ideal Self wants to look at people the same way I look at images in my photography and find ways to get the light to magnify their attributes in the most positive light to see details in new ways and then help us grow towards our Ideal Selves. My Ideal Self craves light, reflection, servant leadership, collaboration, and connectedness. I hope to hear more about what you have learned about yourselves. 

Listen to the full episode for more great insights from Adam at or other episodes on That ALL Might Be Edified: Discussions on Servant Leadership with other great guests!

Leave a Reply

Related Post