“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can offer with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation, but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
How do we answer this question of “Who am I?” Most of us would simply state our name as our answer, but if the person asking us who we are still has a puzzled look on their face we have to include some more detailed information such as “I’m the man who teaches that class at church that you attended a few weeks ago”. And then the light bulb usually goes off, and the person starts to make the connection to you.
But have you ever asked yourself this question? Do you have an answer other than just your name and maybe your current job title? I believe we struggle with our answer because we let our job, other people, and our circumstances define us. Oftentimes, we get so busy in life that we seem to be nothing more than a person just going through the motions and routines of life – wake up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, workout, watch TV, go to sleep, and start all over again.
When we cannot figure out who we are, we do not actually live a great life. We spend more time worrying, being anxious, complaining, and blaming the government and other people instead of investing in ourselves and cultivating our gifts and talents. When we do not know who we are, we limit our impact on the world. Not only that, we also miss out on blessing others because we are so attached to our current routines and “comfort”.
Is there a way to break out of this and begin to know how to answer this question? Yes! We must undertake this journey by looking inward. Look back at your childhood. What did you like to do? Where did you like to go? Who did you like to play with? How did you spend your weekends, summers, and evenings? Can you describe a perfect day? Socrates is famed with declaring, “The unexamined life is not worth living”, so start by examining your life today.
I spent most of my life being what everyone else told me to be. I felt like a jack of all trades but a master of none. In high school I did what looked the best which included getting straight A’s, playing sports, acting in the school plays, leading in student government, and participating in anything else the school offered. In college I became what my friends wanted me to be. If they wanted me to be outgoing and funny then I was. And truthfully, it was exhausting! But now I am just beginning to like being me. I love knowing I am great just how I am. Of course I am striving to be the best me I can, but I am not trying to be someone else.
I believe that if we all spend more time focusing on who we are : our personality, our skills/talents, our passions, our gifts, and our life experiences that some amazing things can take place. First, we can enjoy life right where we find ourselves because we know that our current circumstances do not define us. Second, we can make changes to our job, our fitness, our house, etc if we feel that making those changes puts us more in balance with our true self. Lastly, we can start dreaming again about all the wonderful, imaginative ideas we have tossed on the back burner.
I am offering these weekly blogs as part of my business, Finding Your Fit, where I help men and women in their 30’s who are at a crossroads trying to figure out who they are and what to do with their lives – just like I was. If you would like to be part of the weekly newsletter where we provide encouragement and tools to help you find your fit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to helping you Find Your Fit!