Friday, November 29, 2013

How to Find Yourself

I love this paradoxical saying:
      I've gone out to find myself. Should I get back before I return, please keep me here.—Mike Curtiz

This begs the question of just how do you realize you’ve lost yourself, and then how do you go find yourself? Frankly, as a life coach I don’t believe you ever lose or find yourself in the first place. To lose yourself means that (a) you finally had a conscious realization that decisions you made in your life have led you to a place of dissatisfaction and un-fulfillment, and (b) you need to make some changes but you’re not sure what all to change.

To find yourself means that you probably went out and tried a lot of different things until you discovered something that deep down felt really right to you. It means that you rebuilt yourself into somebody you truly like.

I once was a highly successful Senior Graphic Designer, creating ads, brochures, and presentations for ad agencies and corporations. One day I woke up and said, “I really hate this job.” I had “what” I thought I wanted, and I had it “how” I thought I wanted it, but the what and how was not building me into a “who” that I enjoyed being. I changed jobs four times in the path to becoming a life coach.

Building myself into a successful life coach required a journey of being bluntly honest and gentle with myself. I knew I needed to make changes, and changes take courage and energy. For myself, I knew I had to move from a highly technical production environment into something that made a difference in people’s lives. I started building myself away from technical production into people development.

Now about you,
What and How are you becoming Who?
Have you found your Self feeling sad and blue?
Will you embrace the adventure to build your Self new?
Or do you add another year you will or won’t undo?
Look into your life and see if there’s a clue,
Take a step, another step, till you know Who.

"Finding yourself" is coming to the realization that at last you have built yourself into someone you really like rather than someone you should have liked.
—Life Coach Mack Arrington

I’ve gone out to re-build myself, if I come back with some pieces missing, I’m still under construction.

Attraction Factor 10: Underpromise and Overdeliver

How about all those deadlines, promises and commitments that cause you stress and failure in your life? Does it feel like you don’t have enough time and energy to do everything, and things keep falling through the cracks and getting lost? Do you feel like if you join one more thing or take on one more project you will just die? Maybe it’s time to UNDERpromise—so you can OVERdeliver?

Life is a series of negotiations. Every time you meet someone, friend, family member, clerk at a store checkout, or any person anywhere, you negotiate or re-negotiate that relationship. Sometimes you negotiate that relationship to stay the same, such as when you get to be the customer and the other person gets to be the cashier. Sometimes you negotiate to change the relationship, such as when you agree with your supervisor to start a new project. Sometimes you negotiate the beginning or end of a relationship, such as when you start or resign your job.

Last week my wife negotiated with me to return something to the store for her on Monday, but my Monday got busy and I didn’t return it until Tuesday. Even though it did not matter that I returned the item on Tuesday, I disappointed my wife and was out of integrity with myself. I overpromised and underdelivered. Oftentimes we negotiate ourselves into overpromising more than we can deliver instead of underpromising something more do-able.

Yes, I am aware that sometimes you don’t feel like you have a choice, but usually this means that the choices you see will not make everyone happy—especially yourself. You negotiate all the time with people about what you will do together, where you will meet, what movie you will see, what you want for dinner, and more. Why not negotiate some extra margins for your life in what you promise to do, when and how? Then you have a choice to overdeliver and make someone really happy about it; might that someone be you?

One bit of coaching wisdom: If “no” is not an option, then “yes” is not a choice.