To make the best decisions for who you are, you have to know who you are!
Seems obvious, right?!
In order to know discover who we really are, we need to understand our
- likes and dislikes
It wasn’t till I was in my 30s that I realized I really didn’t know who I was. Up to that point, I was just doing what was expected of me.
- Graduate from high school
- Go to college
- Get a job
It wasn’t till I was in my 2nd job that I realized that, even though I liked what I was doing, there seemed to be something missing.
I thought to myself:
Is this what the rest of my life was going to be like? Go to work 8-5 every day. Come home. Sleep. Do the same thing the next day. And, on the weekends, for those two days, I could do things that I really liked doing. Oh… and also do the things I really liked doing for two weeks out of the year because that is how much vacation I got – except that often consisted of going home to see family. Not that I didn’t like doing that, but what about all the traveling I wanted to do, and seeing other parts of the world. When would I get time to do that? Did I need to wait till retirement? That seemed forever. And, who is guaranteed, that I’d be healthy enough to do that in retirement, let alone live till then?
I began to realize that maybe I wasn’t cut out for the corporate lifestyle. That was the beginning of discovering who I really am.
It’s an ongoing process, but the more we know ourselves, the better decisions we can make to live life more fulfilled.
How do we discover who we really are? I believe there are four foundations we can work from to discover more about ourselves.
Let’s take a look at each one.
What experiences do you remember as a child? This can be positive experiences and negative experiences – as both types of experiences define who we are.
What did you learn about yourself in these experiences?
What about your work experiences? Again, what did you learn about yourself in the various jobs and positions you’ve had?
Volunteer experiences. Family experiences. Friendship experiences. All types of experiences, and what we came away with from these experiences define who we are.
Your likes/dislikes are even more defined after contemplating your experiences.
What did you like/dislike about your experiences? What do you enjoy doing? What do you not enjoy doing?
There are no right and wrong answers to these questions. There are just answers that help define who you are.
When we understand what we like and dislike, we can make the decisions that better align with who we are.
Out of our experiences, and our likes/dislikes – our values will also start to surface.
Understanding our values helps us make the decisions that best align with who we are.
Too often, we make decisions based on what others think – what my spouse thinks or what my parents think, or my friends or co-workers. If we do this, we make decisions based on someone else’s values, not our own. The end result is an ‘ok’ life but not one that is fulfilled.
To discover your values, pay attention to what you are feeling, especially when something makes you angry, or moves you to tears. What about that situation is causing the anger? Or, to feel uncomfortable? Or, to make you hold back tears?
What we value maters to us. When we see this either compromised (resulting in anger), or we see it being displayed (resulting in tears), we are moved. What we value, moves us.
Think about your favorite movies. Why do you like them? What values are displayed? Or, songs that you like. Or, stories. Books. Podcasts…
What do you dream of doing? What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t? What are the dreams you have?
The decisions we make need to lead us closer to our dreams.
Dreams of becoming… a speaker? A mother? A CEO? An author? What is it that you’ve dreamed of becoming?
Dreams of doing… traveling the world? Hiking the Grand Canyon? Camping in Alaska? Living in another country? What is it that you have dreamt of doing?
Dreams keep us alive. Dreams inspire us, motivate us, move us.
Let’s make the decisions that get us closer to realizing our dreams.
Your experiences. Your values. Your likes and dislikes. And, your dreams. These make you who you are.
By making decisions that align with our values, likes and dislikes, and our dreams we are able to live out who we are. And that, my friend, makes the world a better place.