I love change. Most people don’t. However, when you embrace change, and become comfortable with it, I guarantee you will have a completely different outlook on just about everything. This includes how you perceive yourself.
When I talk to people about how they perceive themselves, I’m always amazed at how often their perception is so different than from how I see them. Generally, they do not see the positive side of how they present themselves. They also overlook some of their best qualities which make them unique. Strangely, it’s like they have a completely different mirror they are looking in than I do.
So, how is it that people don’t know who they are, or how to properly convey who they are when asked to do so? Perhaps it is because this isn’t a question they regularly have to address. Or, possibly they have not taken the time to think about how they contribute their talents to others in this world? Maybe they don’t think this is something to invest time in doing? The list of possible reasons why is infinite.
If I were to ask you to tell me about who you are, would you comfortably be able to do so? How would you tell me your “about me” story? Chances are, your story today is different than you thought it would be if you were asked this same question ten years ago. How did this happen, and are you happy about your “new” story about you?
Ironically, the majority of people have a difficult time articulating their story of who they are. This is different from your “value proposition” , as this is a concept more appropriately reserved to tell your professional story. However, it doesn’t have to be, and it can help you to frame out your “who am I” story.
The reality is that situations in our life change. This in turn can have an impact on our life, and consequently how we might perceive ourselves. However, we shouldn’t let circumstances dictate the impact it has on the core foundation of how we would describe ourselves.
Do we need to know how to describe who we are? My opinion is that we do. When we have the ability to do so, and are proud of who we are, and the journey it took to get us to this place, it puts us in both a mentally and physically better life situation. When we are in a positive frame of mind about our life, it has been scientifically proven to strongly impact our health and propel it into a better direction.
Are there things you can do to help yourself figure out who you are? Of course, there are. Is it ever too early or too late to do this? No. Do we need help from others to figure out who we are? Yes, and no. Some people are more oriented to figuring things out on their own, versus asking for help. However, let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. It depends on your comfort level in doing so. Ideally, asking for help should be easy to do. Although I know for many people this is hard to do.
If you are curious or interested, here are some ideas about how to start figuring out who you are.
- Take the Gallup StrengthsFinder Survey to determine what your Top (5) Strengths are. You will receive two detailed reports explaining what your strengths are all about. The best part? It’s only a $20 investment to do so!
- There are many “free” on-line personality tests, and they are fun to take. This can give you further support in helping to define, or redefine who you are.
- Ask people you are close to describe who you are. Even better, have them write down a few words or sentences to help you see from their perspective who you are. I recommend reciprocating this for the person you asked to provide you with this information.
- Write down words that you think describe who you are (e.g., kind, friendly, optimistic, sensitive, intelligent, creative). Keep a running list, and refer back to it from time to time. Be realistic with your word choices. Some of them might not be ones you are happy with. However, you can always work on trying to modify the less than desirable ones. Or, I highly recommend focusing more attention on the ones you are happy with.
Being confused or uncertain about who we are is something which impacts everyone at different points in their life. You are not alone with this reality. Even people who seem to have what you would consider to be the “perfect” life, may not in fact really know who they are.
When you do figure out who you are at the core level, and your core is the bedrock foundation of your true self, I know you will have new insight into what makes you the incredible person you are.