Here’s a thought for you; what if you could let go of everything you feel you should be, and instead live your life just as YOU. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were younger? Or perhaps it wasn’t what you wanted to be, but a sense of how you wanted to feel. Life has a way of taking over. We get so caught up in the roles we play, so used to the masks we put on to protect us, so good at easing the tension this can cause inside with distractions, busyness, alcohol, social media that we forget how it feels to just be our self. Humans are wonderfully adaptive, but there are times when this strength can limit our happiness and hold us back. Watch this video with Caroline Casey on ‘Looking Past Limits‘ to mainline some inspiration.
The growth of coaching, the positive psychology movement, and the wealth of self-awareness stuff out there is helping more and more people get in touch with the essence of themselves, and what makes them feel joyful. All personal growth starts with self-awareness, with getting to know one’s strengths, values, blind spots and how to get ‘in flow‘. It is when we are in that state of being ‘in flow’, doing something where we so enjoy we simply lose track of time, that we are happiest. Children know how to do this naturally. Growing up we are trained by family, the educational system, the workplace, society, to fit in. Some people are more influenced by this process of socialization than others, but we all experience it to a greater or lesser extent. So how would it be to break free and transcend all that? How would it be to rediscover what really excites you, who you are beneath your various roles and your social mask? And no, you don’t have to have a mid-life crisis to do it!
Here are some things you might want to try that will help you break free:
- Find at least 10-15 minutes where you can sit down by yourself and just brainstorm with a pen and paper. In the centre of the paper write the ENERGY, or draw a light bulb. Next think of all the things that excite and energize you. What have you always loved doing? Examples might be singing, taking photos, organizing stuff, playing with technology, learning. Write your thoughts randomly around the central bubble ENERGY. Whatever you do don’t edit your thoughts. If you get stuck think of ‘What would I do for fun if I went to New York for a week?’ or ‘If I could pick a subscription to any magazine what would it be.’ ‘What do I do where I get so absorbed I lose track of time’. Pour your ideas on to the paper and when you are finished draw circles around the words that really resonate with you and attach them back to your central bubble.
- Now you have a list of things that energize you. The next step is to think of stuff you are naturally good at, or as John Williams founder of ‘Screw Work Let’s Play‘ calls them your ‘Spots of Genius’. These might be skills you have consciously learned or that just come naturally. Anything from an ability to write well, a skill with numbers, an innate sense of style, to an ease when organizing people or events, or a strength in public speaking. Write these down on a second mind map with ‘Genius’ in the middle.
- Now think of something you would like to do that draws from those two sheets. It might be a course, a project, a blog, a trip, a craft project, learning the guitar, or how to cook a great risotto! I have found that freedom comes alive when you step in to action. It doesn’t matter what you do, just take a step in the direction of what you love, more steps are sure to follow.