I faced a critical moment in my life when I was 20 years old. I am not afraid to tell this story because I feel I was given a gift to share with others.
In my resistance to be the person everyone expected me to be, I ran down a dark path of drug abuse that landed me in jail. I could have fallen deeper, feeling I had failed those who loved me and ruined my chances at a successful life. One of my cellmates turned me back in the right direction.
She did this by helping me see who I am separate from what I do.
This may seem like a clear distinction but when I ask those who attend my programs to make their own lists describing who they are, they act confused. I often get responses like, “I’m a good parent.” Or, “People like to work with me.” I then I have to coach the person to tell me what makes them a good parent or what attracts people to them.
I ask if they are patient, caring, smart, funny, inclusive, inspiring, reliable, generous, courageous, compassionate, passionate, or kind? They struggle with finding the answer, and then most are embarrassed to speak the words aloud.
Who are you seems to be a difficult question to answer.
Yet knowing who you are at your best is important to calling up these aspects when you are faced with difficult situations.
- When I remind myself of who I am, I have the strength to face my fears and worries.
- When I show up as the best of who I am, people are more drawn to me.
- When I acknowledge myself at the end of the day for who I was as well as what I accomplished, I feel more fulfilled.
Here’s an exercise I heard from a friend at the National Speakers Association conference last week. Name two people you most admire. Write down the traits that you admire in them. List at least ten traits that define who these people are.
Now consider that the traits you most admire in others reflect what you most like about yourself. These traits make up who you are at your best.
You might feel that you want to be more of some of these traits. If so, what’s stopping you from being more ___________? What will you do to give this part of you more expression in your life?
When you claim who you are and truly show up as your best self, you will not only succeed with greater ease, you will end your day feeling more content with your life.
I encourage you to do the exercise and then list ten traits that define WHO you are at your best in a comment to this blog post. Declaring these traits in public will help you more confidently claim and live as the wonderful person you truly are.