I just started reading a book called Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty. The very first chapter is about Identity. He opens that chapter with a quote from sociologist Charles Horton Cooley that says,
“I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.”
I think you think I am smart. I think you think I am bold and willing to take risks. I think you think I am kind. I think you think I can be impulsive and possibly act before I have a well-thought-out plan. If you are one of my siblings, you may think that I like to be right or that I can be judgmental. If you are a former boss, you may think that I have a good way with customers.
Any of these things can be true, or they may be part of the persona I have developed to live up to what I think you think of me. Until I really take the time to exam and explore WHO and WHAT I think I am, I won’t know for sure. And only then, can I “own it,” as my guest, Shell Mendelson said.
When we are young, we start to define ourselves in relation to how our parents see us and what they expect from us. We use our friends as mirrors for our behaviors, dress, thoughts. We try to live up to the beliefs and expectations of others. And then many of us land in jobs that don’t seem to fit, even if they are paying the bills and our closest families members seem to think we have made a good choice. We can tell something is off, and yet trying to figure out how to make it better seems to be overwhelming.
I certainly have experienced this. I started my work in the technology industry after getting my degree in Computer Science, a degree I knew I could use to get jobs to support my family. I also knew that I had little passion for computer science and fortunately I was able to move into technical training. Teaching fit me better and that sustained me for a while.
Eventually I started my KidzArt business. That definitely tapped into my teaching skills, and it allowed me to start using some leadership skills and creativity skills. Combining teaching, leading and creativity seemed like a better fit. The problem was that the business model was not working and after 6 years of not figuring out how to really make a living with this, I had to let it go.
Because of Covid, I found Hey, Boomer … or maybe it found me! I feel like I have finally found my niche. I am using some coaching (teaching) skills to inspire. I am using some leadership skills. I am tapping my creativity in writing scripts, blogs and figuring out ways to market the program and the coaching I offer. I have added community and engagement. Inspire, lead, create, community and engagement are all high values for me.
Now I see myself as a broadcaster who is building community, leading engagement and inspiring others as well as being inspired by others.
I would like to close with a quote from Simon Sinek. He wrote the book Start With Why. He said “We have no choice, we must all die. How we live, however, is entirely of our choosing.”