Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are? Are you even who you think you are? Do you see yourself as others see you, and if you did would you be kinder, stronger, maybe able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

One of the most profound things I get to do when life coaching a client, especially one who is an entrepreneur, is to help them figure out what makes them tick, what things they do on auto pilot and what things they are doing intentionally. What I've seen, after almost 30 years of this work, is that most of us operate on a set of tracks that we can maneuver without even thinking.

We start the day with the same brand of toothpaste our mom bought for us, way back when. We drink our coffee made just the way we like it. We exercise the same way today that we did yesterday and wear basically the same outfit (maybe changing a color or accessory). Then, we get in the car, which is just like the last car we owned and we drive the same roads to work that we’ve been driving every darn day since we first started working there. Our computer screen opens to the same program and our lunch, well, it’s like everything else, predictable.

If we are, as they say, what we do, then that's it. We are a routine, a habit, and we operate with the ease and comfort of simply putting one foot in front of the other.

From time to time though, something changes. We try a new food at a sketchy restaurant, sleep in a tent — alone — on a mountainside, get laid off from work, become ill, or ask for a divorce. It's in those moments when we’re most scared that we lean into our most authentic selves. Our driver values click in — the values you didn’t choose but are there judging, alerting you to potential danger and making sure you are safe in every situation, all day long. When that happens, our primal brain takes over and we discover that we not only can be more, we actually are more than we ever believed.

If your driver value is loyalty, you become more loyal to yourself. If it is kindness, you become kinder to yourself and the situation or person challenging you. Your driver values, when you let them lead, help to make you more brave, more intelligent, more loved and loving, and more everything you genuinely want to be, especially in the toughest situations.  

But — and this is a beautiful thing — if you are brave enough to ask, what would your friends, family and coworkers say about you? You see, they might see you more holistically, dare I say with a truer frame, than you see yourself.

You don't like your hair or your proclivity to flee instead of fight. You critique your toes, your word choices, the food you ate, and how loudly you laugh. You critique, at every juncture, the things, every one of them, that others would describe as your strengths, not your weaknesses. 

You do this to fit in, to stay safe and to act as a check and balance of an ego that could run away with itself and my goodness, we wouldn't want that to happen now would we? You might get, as my mom often said I was, too big for my britches or that I was punching above my weight class.

Your criticism might make you feel that you are in control, that you know who you are, but it might also hold you down. It might keep you from flying when wings are what you were given. What if, just for today and maybe tomorrow too, you leaned into who you really are? What if you stopped and asked yourself, for real, no games allowed, what you liked and didn't like about yourself? What if, and this is what I am going to suggest you do right now, you asked three people you spend the most time with, how they would describe you? What do they consider your greatest strengths?

Their answer might be, and probably could be, life changing. 

You should respect these three people and know that their honest opinion comes from a place of love and not the opportunity to mold you into their version of you. You’re not looking for critique or empty praise. You are looking for real words, real feelings, real insight. My grandson, now 14, is well trained. When I say, "You are my favorite grandson," he says, "You are my favorite Amma." I have no other grandson, and his other grandmother is called grandma. This sort of platitude is not helping either of us grow, even though it's fun banter. 

So, when you ask your “three” to describe you, don't argue with them. Don't say “I am not...!” Just settle in and absorb what they say. Then, and this is the power play, stop for a moment and ask yourself if you believe them. Truly. In your heart. In your darkest moments or your times of pure joy, are you what and who they think you are? 

Maybe those three have given you a glimpse into the purest, truest, most amazing you that you could be. If, and this is the hard part, you let yourself be all that they described.

If you are going to answer the question — Who am I? — you’ll want to understand your driver values. And you’ll want to get ready to live your “next,” which is a natural, life-affirming action that I talk about in my book “What's Next?”  

It is scary to ask these questions, and to use them to live your best life, to leave fear behind, to accept your true power, to be your most authentic self. But my friend, I believe in you. When you live authentically — as you, for you — you are your very best for you, your family, the community and, dare I say, the world.

What Are Your Driver Values?

Not sure how to identify what's important and what is essentially "driving" your decisions each day? Follow along and take this little video lesson to help you answer that question. 

What you will need

  • A marker
  • Three packs of different colored Post-it Notes
  • Room to spread out


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