This week’s blog post is part of some bigger rumblings around identity which have been bubbling away for a while. What does my work say about me? Who actually am I? Social media exacerbates these questions, and our ability to take the person we see on screen at face value is often at odds with the judgments we make about ourselves.
Anyone negotiating life or career changes will be familiar with the self-questioning and doubt which accompanies these changes. Many successful people are defined by their work, indeed may find it difficult to separate themselves from it. However, such fixation on WHAT we’re doing rather than WHY we’re doing it leaves us vulnerable in the face of change. Identity runs much deeper than the actual work we do, and making time to explore the subtleties of our own unique take on the world is an important part of taking ownership of ourselves and the possibilities available to us.
So why do we cling so tightly to some versions of ourselves and keep other parts hidden away? Self-editing and moulding ourselves to the expectations of others can be a deeply entrenched behaviour. One of the most important pieces in coaching is reconnecting to what really important to you – what makes you YOU! It sounds simple but actually taking the time to think about this and articulate it can be a big challenge, especially if you’re negotiating changes in career or life transitions. Here’s an activity that I often use with new clients: grab a piece of paper and write down every single thing you can think of that you LOVE. Fill the page! Connecting to passions is one of the most important parts of developing a sense of purpose which underpins the most fulfilling experience of life. Angela Duckworth writes about the importance of making space to develop passions as a pre-requesite to finding deep purpose and fulfillment in her book ‘Grit’
‘Remember that interests must be triggered again and again and again. Find ways to make that happen. And have patience. The development of interests takes time. Keep asking questions, and let the answers to those questions lead you to more questions. Continue to dig. Seek out others who share your interests. Sidle up to an encouraging mentor. Whatever your age, over time your role as a learner will become a more active and informed one. Over a period of years your knowledge and expertise will grow, and along with it your confidence and curiosity to know more.’
Big life changes throw up all sorts of questioning about what makes us who we are. Whether it’s grief, divorce, parenthood or marriage, or work related identity changes such as stepping in to management, changing direction, redundancy, moving in or out of self-employment, each shift can shake our sense of ourselves. Coming back to what we love, nurturing our passions and making time for what really matters to us can be a deeply restorative practice. This week, take some to do more of what you love and see where it takes you.
For 1:1 coaching go to www.helenmc.com for more information or call 07799 410 684.