Ever Look In The Mirror And Wonder “Who Are You?”
Ever since I returned from my journey to Isla Mujeres in April, I’ve been doing a lot of this questioning – looking in the mirror and seeing new faces of self emerge into my vision. And, from talking to my clients and my friends, I’m not the only one. It seems to be going around.
The End of An Era
We appear to be coming out of a 15 year cycle where we have been testing our limits, exploring the possibilities, and generally messing around. We’ve had our second childhood and for some reason, now seems to be the time we’ve all decided to grow up. But here’s the rub. Grow up into what?
What Worked Before Doesn’t Work Now
Having been a life-long explorer and adventurer, I can tell you that I’ve walked down a lot of paths. Some of them I resonated with, others not so much. There are places that I walked for years which have no appeal at all anymore and others that I’d happy wander off to again. I’m not at a loss for adventure, I’m more at a loss for self.
Losing And Finding Self
There were times in my life where I would lose myself into my relationships – twisting myself into pretzels trying to make myself into the vision of the perfect girlfriend or wife or business partner or whatever my role was in that moment. Thankfully, I gave up doing that years ago. Then I engaged in how I could be the best, most successful business person – because I thought that would bring me happiness. But after becoming a successful book author and national speaker, I found very little sense of success there. And so, I rebooted again and worked on being happy just being me. And THAT has been the most fulfilling journey so far – one that has me seeing the world very differently today than I did just a few years ago.
In fact, I’ve been doing a life review recently and it almost feels like I’m in the place between lifetimes where you look back and identify what you’ve learned and look forward and identify what you want to create in the next life. I’ve been reconnecting with folks from my past and spending a fair amount of time in reflection. I’ve been looking at my choices and what they brought me – both good and bad.
Am I Who I Want To Be?
I’m pretty happy with most of my life. I like my apartment, I LOVE my work, I enjoy my friends, and I have an active social life filled with fun and learning. And, at the same time, there are some major changes that have taken place in the last couple of years internally. I’m not so sure you could tell them from the outside in, but from here inside, the world is looking like a very different place these days and that begs the question – if the world is a different place to me, do I want to be a different person to it?
I think we all go through these stages in life – these moments when life triggers a “holy shit, what just happened – hold on – everybody stop while I figure out which way is up again” moment. For some people, it’s a bad health diagnosis, for others, it’s the end of a long-term relationship, for others, it’s an almost-accident or a big birthday that makes you see your mortality. It doesn’t matter what causes it, it’s what you do with it that counts.
Taking Advantage Of The Momentum
And so, here’s my plan. I’m looking at the patterns in my life once more. I’ve done it before, but I’m digging deeper, with a greater understanding of what my assumptions were at the time, to gain a greater understanding of myself. I’m looking at the choices I made and whether I liked the results of those choices. I’m sitting with what reactions were purely mine vs. being mine in relation to someone else who was important to me – and whether those reactions would have been the same if I had been on my own at the time.
And I’m sitting with whatever comes up that is uncomfortable in the process – because that’s where the good stuff is. That’s where I will find the most fertile soil for future plantings.
Choose Wisely, Young Jedi
And, once this is done, I’m looking forward and asking – what do I want? How do I want to spend my time? How do I want to participate in my days? Who do I want to be with? Where do I want to be? And, MOST importantly, WHO do I want to be?
Challenging Your Self Definition
You may be like me, you’ve spent years pulling your world apart and putting it back together again to make it into just what you want it to be. And now you’re doing the same process internally that you did externally – pulling apart that self definition piece that you’ve clung to so long that now feels as though it doesn’t fit.
This process is a bit more disorienting because it makes you feel like you don’t know how to react or how to be in the world because you don’t have that set self-definition to fall back on. Your self-definition is the foundation of your worldly existence, without it, you are ungrounded. But it is also the single most freeing thing you can do in your life. Because it’s our definitions that set our limits. It ‘s our definitions that define our responses. And it’s our definitions that tell us what to run towards and what to run away from. Want to change your life drastically and immediately? Change your self-definition. It changes everything.
And so, this is a challenging and dangerous and exciting and scary journey. One ultimately incredibly profitable in its return on investment. And one that many will never take with us. If you’re on the journey with me, let me say – “Well done! And I’m sorry.” because it is hard and rewarding and amazing and well, totally cool. Game on!