Several years ago, I did an interview with Stephanie Hill Williams, a Christian radio station host. Before the interview, I was given a set of questions to preview that would be used in our discussion. They included my childhood years, family, career goals and my aspirations as a writer and speaker.
This interview made me pause and think about who I am, what in my upbringing helped me achieve and what things continue to make me struggle. We rarely stop to consider who we are because we are too busy living life.
When facing difficulties, all the negative attributes we have placed on ourselves rush to the front and center of our thinking. We forget all the productive things we have done.
Exploring who we are may seem scary at first. After all, we left home hoping to leave everything unpleasant behind us. But exploring those early years will help us recognize the strengths we have.
Who am I?
Imagine you are a radio host who is asking questions about who you are. This is not an interview for a job but a conversation you are having with yourself. Consider the following questions and suggestions as a way to have this conversation.
- How would you define who you are and what makes “you” you? Think of the following questions as prompts to help you put into words your description.
- What qualities or attributes do you believe you have? Do you see yourself as upbeat, strong, determined, cautious, leader, follower, peacemaker, etc?
- What personality traits or characteristics describe you? (Thoughtful, contemplative, caring, introspective, charismatic, stubborn, assertive, etc.)
- What are your talents and abilities? Are you artistic, computer and technology savvy, athletic, gardening enthusiast, homemaker, designer, problem solver, musician, etc?
- Would you consider yourself an extrovert who is energized interacting with other people or more of an introvert who feels less comfortable in social circles?
- On a piece of paper, write a short story about what it was like growing up. Were you part of a large family or a small one? Perhaps you were an only child? Where did you fit into the family structure (eldest, middle, or youngest)? Research indicates that birth order has predictable outcomes.
- Were you encouraged to develop your potential growing up or were you constantly compared negatively with others? Do you continue to compare yourself, always seeing others as more competent and successful than yourself?
Taking time to reflect can reveal the many attributes we have that have helped us succeed in the past that we can use again.
When we’ve hit some major roadblocks or setbacks, our thoughts typically revolve around all the reasons we can’t succeed and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Change your focus from what you can’t do to finding solutions you need.
Throughout life there will be turning points, defining moments when we can stop and reflect. These are opportunities to eliminate what isn’t working and put in place the resources we need. Beginning with a more measured assessment of who we are, and what helped us become successful in the past can make a new start both exciting and productive.
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