Understand Who You Are

I’ve been offering coaching for a while, but I find that people are often confused about what coaching is and how it can help them. This four week blog series is designed to help you understand who I am, who YOU are, and how I can help you live the life you’ve always dreamed of.

JUMP TO OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

If you are struggling to figure out what you want to do with your life and desire to create freedom and flexibility in your career, first you need to understand who you are and how you can incorporate ALL of your valuable strengths and skills into your life.

If you’ve ever…

  • Felt worried you’ll choose the wrong thing.
  • Been overwhelmed by feeling forced to figure out your entire life.
  • Thought you can only do or be ONE thing.
  • Worried about your career path and whether you can create a sustainable life you love.
  • Been frustrated by your own indecisiveness.
  • Felt misunderstood.

… then you are in the right place!

I believe that we should all be able to do what we love. But first you have to know who you are, and how to work in your strengths.

Understanding your motivations can help you uncover WHY you do what you do. Personality tests are a great way to start learning more about yourself. I recommend starting with learning your Myers-Briggs type, StrengthsFinder, and maybe even your Enneagram number.

Then, take some time to consider and journal through the following questions:

  • What are my greatest strengths?
  • What interests or desires do I keep returning to?
  • What frustrates me about my current situation?

If you are ready to dig in and do more work on identifying who you are, I offer a self-guided mini-course, My Unique Blueprint, that will walk you through exercises to help you with this process.

Writing it down is a great place to start untangling your thoughts, but sometimes an outside perspective can give the insight you need. My self-coaching guides can help you identify your personality types and show you strengths you may not have considered.

This process may take a little time. Don’t be discouraged if you take one personality test and don’t feel like you’ve made progress. You might need to take multiple assessments to unlock the understanding you are looking for. Each test reveals something a little different and you might need to sit with the results for a little while before you are ready to use them to further explore your personality and motivations. Spend some time observing yourself. Note what brings you joy and when you feel irritated or overwhelmed. Use your journal or planner to jot down what you are noticing or use an app like Mood Meter.

The time you spend getting to know yourself will be well worth it when you start to work on establishing your vision. Understanding yourself is the foundation for everything that comes next!

Book Review: Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher

See if you can you relate to any of these:

  • you don’t want to specialize in any of the things you love
  • you’re endlessly inquisitive
  • you have an intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects
  • you’re always curious to know ‘what’s out there’
  • you spend much time scanning the horizon & thinking about your next move
  • you continually move from one idea to the next

If so, you’re probably what Barbara Sher calls a “Scanner”.

SCANNER: (noun) someone for whom every single thing they see or think sparkles with potential and pulls their attention; they want to do it all!

Also known as: Renaissance person; Jack-of-all-trades; multi-passionate; multipotentialite; polymath; hummingbird person; multipod; squirrel-brain.

Barbara’s passion for helping Scanners (multi-passionates) is evident throughout this book. Here are a few of the quotes I loved most:

…not all Scanners are the same! You still need to find the tips, tools, techniques & life-design models that are right for you.

Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher, page xxvii

…she feels a familiar sense of apprehension that if she doesn’t do something about it right away, she’ll forget it like all the other good ideas she keeps having.

Refuse to Choose, pg.4

If Scanners didn’t think they should limit themselves to one field, 90% of their problems would cease to exist!

Refuse to Choose, pg.5

One of my favorite takeaways from this book was the idea of the “Scanner Daybook“. This is a plain-paper notebook or journal where you write down everything related to being a Scanner — capture your best ideas, and tangents that pull you off those ideas . . . it is meant to be “delightfully out-of-order, impulsive, and unrestrained”.

The best part about this Daybook, though, is that you are not required to DO anything with these thoughts & ideas! You simply notice & write them… no follow-through required!

The very act of considering your explorations worth keeping track of begins changing everything you ever thought about yourself… you’ll find a growing respect for how your mind works.

Refuse to Choose, pg. 13

Barbara writes: “There is zero obligation to act on anything in your Daybook. You simply capture ideas & “play them out on the pages, to see where they go!

Your Daybook lets you go into planning an idea without having to actually produce it… if you never take another step, you’ve had a good time, and risked nothing.” (p.14)

There are a handful of great and practical tools, just like this one, throughout the book.

Barbara also dedicates a chapter to each of the nine (9) types of Scanners she has identified, and gives options for possible career paths for each type (some of which you may never have considered on your own!).

Overall, this is a fantastic book, and I can’t recommend it highly enough! It should be on every Scanner’s bookshelf.

Who Says?

Have you ever gotten into something, realized it wasn’t the greatest fit for you, and then… accepted your fate and stayed put? Maybe you thought it was the “responsible” thing to do, or that, since you’d already invested this much time in it, you may as well keep going. But, what if I told you that it was okay to quit — to let it go?

So often, we blindly follow rules and perform actions without questioning why. We accept that things just are the way they are, because that’s how it’s “always been”, or we do things a certain way because it’s what is “expected”. The problem is, we then end up just going through the motions in life, and things continue to feel boring, or routine, or mundane. We continue to do and think things, but then wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.

Thanks to a couple of books I read, recently (see one here), I feel like I’m starting to wake up to the possibilities.

Here’s a question for you: Who decided that you must keep doing things that way? What would happen if you changed things up? And, who said you can’t do this or that? What if you all-of-a-sudden just…did? (obviously, I’m not meaning anything illegal, or morally corrupt, okay?)

Seriously, though… I think far too many of us are left with unsatisfying and unfulfilling lives because we forget the following 4 things:

QUESTION

It’s okay — and even GOOD! — to question things; to ask “why”. Until I was in my late teens, I never really questioned my faith or the things I’d been taught in church, or even the way we did things in that church. Yet when I learned to question, I saw the flaws, and I realized I’d fallen into legalism. My faith has actually grown by leaps & bounds, ever since I learned to question why I do & think the things I do.

BE CURIOUS

Despite what they say about our poor feline friend, curiosity won’t (normally) kill you. Instead, it makes life brighter, and it adds an element of fun! We are born curious… it’s how we learn! Which leads me to…

TRY

You know that thing you’ve been wanting to do, but you’ve put off doing out of hesitation? What would happen if you took a leap of faith, and just gave it a try? Sure, you might fail at it. Would that really be as bad as you think? Isn’t regretting chances not taken ultimately worse? Don’t let your fear hold you back, and leave you with end-of-life regrets. Take chances! Have an open-minded attitude. Decide you will try the thing, and if it doesn’t work out (or you end up really disliking it), you can just let it go and try something else! You have the freedom to choose. Use it! (and hey… maybe it will work out — maybe you’ll succeed — and you’ll have a blast! Only one way to find out!)

PRACTICE

All too many of us (myself, included!) tend to forget that it takes practice to become good at just about everything. All of us start at Level Zero when we’re first trying something new. Every single one of us starts as a beginner — a “newbie”. And that’s an okay place to be. Why? Because you can only go UP from there! By practicing, you may never reach “perfection”, but you –guaranteed!– will see progress. Yes, it may take a while. The more you do a thing, however, the better you’ll get at it. Keep practicing, and you’ll keep “leveling up“! It’s the only way to succeed.

So, the next time you’re feeling stuck or bored, ask yourself if you need to throw out the old ways, and try something new. Be curious about how you can change things up. And, when you find something that does bring a spark back to things, accept your “beginner” status, and commit to practicing until you’ve gotten to your preferred level of excellence. And, don’t forget: nothing is ever permanent (except death)You ALWAYS have the freedom to make a different choice.

Called To Be a Writer

called to be a writerHave you ever tried to ignore something, but just couldn’t seem to escape it? I most definitely have. Let me tell you a story…

For my 10th birthday, an older friend gave me my very first diary. I still have that book today. It’s got a mint-green cover, and the pages are heavily perfumed. It has its own lock and key.

I remember, as a young girl, weaving stories in my mind as I drifted off to sleep each night. Often times they included living in a mansion, and/or horseback riding through the woods on my grandparents’ property.

Sometimes I would even speak my stories into my brown Fisher Price tape recorder.

In grade school, one of my favorite things was when the teacher would fill all three chalkboards with notes for us to copy into our notebooks… then erase it all, and fill all three boards again. I loved taking notes! And I still take notes from every nonfiction book I read, actually!

I completed NaNoWriMo in 2006. I wrote 50,911 words in 28 days. My novel still sits on my shelf, unfinished.

To this day, I keep a journal. I don’t write in it daily, any more — only when I desperately need an outlet for my emotions, and/or I need to sort through the tangled messes of my thoughts. Writing things out almost always brings clarity.

I oftentimes “pray” on paper, as well, seeking God’s take on the issues I’m dealing with. I’ll write out what I feel He’s saying to my spirit, in response, also. This practice has truly helped to deepen my faith, and draw me closer in relationship with my Lord.

Also, I’ve been a blogger since 2005. It started as a way to record the books I was reading, then morphed into a community of others who loved the book-related memes I posted each week, and then evolved over time into a place where I now teach others the things that I’ve learned, thus far… and what I am still in the process of learning.

You would think, on reading all of the above, that I’d classify myself as a Writer. Yet, for the longest time, I’ve fought that title. I’ve even told God that I don’t want to be a Writer. And yet, the thread of writing has been woven throughout the tapestry that is my life, and it seems that I, like Jonah, must surrender to the call.

I realized something, this past week, that has truly helped me to start the process of accepting this: that I don’t actually hate to write. In fact, I have to grudgingly admit that, yes, I even like writing. As I said earlier, writing is how I sort through my thoughts; it’s always been how I am best able to express myself.

The “aha!” came when I saw that what I don’t like is writing for others… and, in asking myself why that is, it all came down to one thing:

PERFECTIONISM (aka: Fear)

…I don’t like writing out posts for my blog because I feel like my writing has to be “perfect” and “polished”, or else I won’t be seen as the professional that I’m aiming to be.

Yet, every professional was once a beginner. And God even tells us to not “despise the days of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).

I guess I need to learn to give myself more grace — to accept my “beginner” status when it comes to writing, and to not mentally kick myself for being so inconsistent.

After all, I teach others that practice makes progress… and I think progress is as close to “perfection” as we’re going to get, this side of heaven. So, if I want to feel more confident in this role as a Writer, I just need to keep practicing. The more I do it — the more I write — the better I’ll get.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I’m curious… is there some title or calling that you’ve been trying to run away from? Share in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not alone in this!

Something More: Why You Feel Restless & What To Do About It

something moreDo you ever feel that restlessness inside? … The one that says, there’s gotta be more to life than this?

I believe that’s what is meant when the Bible says that God “has set eternity in [our] hearts…” (Eccl. 3:11b).

Too often, we tend to get caught up in our earthly life, and we forget that this earth isn’t our home. We are here for a purpose — one that’s so much greater than ourselves.

It’s easy, in the busyness of our day-to-day, to fall for the lie that our lives our all about us. But they aren’t. God placed each one of us right where we are, at this point in time, surrounded by these people, “for such a time as this“. We have a role to play for His kingdom… a purpose He predestined for us before we were even born!

So, that restlessness you feel? That’s your wake-up call, reminding you that you have work to do … that it’s time to stop living for yourself, and to start partnering with God so He can show you the special job He’s assigned to you.

Can this work get done without you? Maybe. But, it won’t be in the way that God originally intended. And, think about it this way: You’ve got a unique blend of your own style & experiences that, perhaps, can reach someone better than anyone else could. So, these people could end up missing out, because you neglected to take up the role you were created for!

Personally, I count it a privilege that God would want a messed-up gal like me to play a part in His kingdom building! You’d think that a perfect God would want perfect people to help Him with such an important job! But, nope … He recruits from the pit… from the mud & mire. While I may not see myself as equipped or qualified, God says, “Come on, girl! I’ll give you everything you need for the job. Just come as you are. It’s all good.” ♥

So, the next time you feel that restlessness within, stop and ask God to make it clear to you what He has for you to do. I promise you, He’ll show you the way.

Who Do You Want To Be?

who do you want to beDo you have an alter-ego — a vision in your mind of who you would like to become? Maybe you’ve made attempts to change and become that person by making lists of what you need to do to change into that version of yourself. But, what if there was a better way? What if, instead, you focused on the who, rather than the what?

It ties right in with what James Clear says about identity-based habits.

Nia, at SipBlack.net, also wrote about these identity-based habits. She says:

“You need to become the kind of person who can reach those lofty goals. Be committed to embodying that individual. Then stop thinking like you, and start thinking like that other person… Create someone, if you must… If you won’t get it together, then become someone who will.”

Nia also writes:

“Reinventing yourself makes you aware of the sheer power of the mind… you can become anyone you want, do anything you want.”

So many times we try to begin with deciding to change our actions. And, while this might work for a time, many of us find ourselves falling back into the same old patterns.

Taking on a new persona, however, is based on a mindset shift… and this, truly, is key to any lasting change.

I think it’s important to remember here, that what is changing is what you do, when you do it, and how you do it. You aren’t necessarily changing your fundamental beliefs or values.

For example, my own alter-ego is someone who still holds to Christian beliefs, and values Freedom & Authenticity. However, this “better me” is someone who:

  • follows a daily schedule
  • obeys God without hesitation
  • eats wholesome, nutritious food 90% of the time
  • is capable of defending herself, if need be
  • is confident and secure in who she is
  • etc.

Basically, she excels where I often find myself lacking. In acting as though I am this other persona, I am just acting in the way I would truly prefer to be acting, anyway. In so doing, I’m leveling up!

So, if you could reinvent yourself, who would you become? What does this better version of you look like? Feel free to comment below!