Question 1: Who am I?
I’m a great believer in possibilities. After all, I named my company The Power of Possibilities. Part of the work I do is to help individuals explore the possibilities in their lives, careers and businesses.
We often limit the possibilities in our life because we convince ourselves that we don’t have the ability or talent to make them happen or that they are impractical. After all, we have a lot of responsibilities and obligations. We’ve got families to raise and a job to maintain and a mortgage to pay. And we are tired from all that work.
Pausing to take a look at our life – where we came from and where we are going – is a good way to reconnect with the major patterns of our life and to uncover what possibilities we may have eliminated because we got so caught up in the day-to-dayness of life.
A good place to start this exploration is to ask yourself what it is you know about yourself. Who are you, exactly? This is a process. For many of us, it takes a good part of our life to uncover the hidden truths about our gifts, our talents, our calling, and then learn to embrace those gifts and talents joyfully – what people call being authentic.
Some of this work of discovering ourselves is like peeling back an onion, layer upon layer. Peeling onions makes a lot of people cry, so they don’t like to do it. Yet onions provide flavor to otherwise bland food, just as knowledge about ourselves enhances the flavor of our life.
One of the tools I have found extremely useful in this self-exploration is a journal. The idea of a journal turns off some people, thinking they have to be a prolific writer starving in an attic to find a journal useful. Actually, any notebook, three-ring binder or your computer can serve as a journal and provide a repository for your thoughts, ideas, reflections and possibilities. The process of reflecting on paper can be surprisingly empowering.
One journaling technique I teach is called One-Page Autobiography.
This technique helps you revisit certain time periods in your life or capture your life in a snapshot. Doing it in chronological order is probably the easiest way. I tell my workshop participants to just start writing and try to summarize their life on one page. I always suggest including a sentence that begins with, “What I’m most proud of in my life …”
If you enjoy this written exploratory exercise, you could follow up by writing a page each on specific topics such as My Elementary Days, My Life as a Teenager, Life in My Early Twenties, My Education, My Work, My Family, etc. These one-page word-pictures help you get a sense of what you thought, felt, did, accomplished, and dreamed about in those years.
These are powerful exercises which can help you explore that timeless question: Who am I?
So, Who are you? Examining that question is the first step in looking at the possibilities in your life.