Once upon a time I was a five foot tall professional organizer with brownish hair. I was also a daughter, a mother, a wife and a friend.
Fast forward a few decades. I am still five foot tall (give or take ¼”). My hair’s now blondish. I still do professional organizing, although I would no longer say that this is my primary work. I was a daughter until my parents passed. I’m still a mom, wife (to a different husband) and friend (to more people). So…who am I today, really?
This is a strange business, this process of redefinition through time. After all I’m still me albeit older, and wiser (I would hope.) Truth be told, I don’t have a problem with getting older. I would much rather be 57 than in my 20’s again. (A singular pass through one’s 20’s is more than enough.) And although I’m not crazy about the aging process itself, I’d rather look like nature intended me to as opposed to having a face that’s been made surgically taut and unlined. But that’s me.
Other folks have different ways of defining who they are through the years. And transitions can be harder if you identify strongly with your physical appearance or athletic ability at a younger age. Job-loss, too, can be especially tough if you relate personal success to career progress. If you’re no longer the person you were when you were out in front of the pack, who are you?
The first idea that you need to deal with is the one that has you tied into only one dimension of being, i.e., “I AM my looks, my ability to run, my position in my company, my role in my family.” Secondly, you have to recognize that you live in the present moment only, which means that you are not the person who has come before and you’re not the person who has yet to come. So what do you do with that awareness?
I would say that you begin by acknowledging that you’re multi-dimensional and that your potential for redefining yourself is almost unlimited in every moment. It comes down to choice; how you elect to work with the possibilities.
I’ll start with myself…I know that I’m the sum total of my experiences and capabilities and that NOW is always my choice point. How do I choose to see myself in this moment?
I choose to feel at least competent, if not masterful.
I choose to be proactive as opposed to reactive.
I choose to be kind and see humor whenever possible.
I choose to respect my abilities and align them with my values as best I can.
Again, you can only choose in the present moment, but if you make each moment as meaningful as you possibly can, the rest will take care of itself.
This line of reasoning can be applied to any number of practical realities.
For example, I’m currently in the process of re-designing my website. This site will take advantage of new WordPress technology and will enable me to control far more of my site than I was able to previously. Which means, of course, that I will have to empower my inner geek, a choice I’m willing to make in order to save money and gain expertise.
Also, as part of this re-design, I have to come to terms with my “inner social worker” who believes that professionals in my line of work don’t ask for business up front. Interestingly, I thought that I had moved past this block when I started coaching, but apparently not completely. Now that I’m offering a new mentoring service I get to re-visit it.
Even my mentoring is a new definition of self. I resisted the concept for awhile because I didn’t think I was old enough to be a mentor. I realize now that part of me will always feel like a kid, but that in reality, I’ve had many, many years of experience that can be beneficial in helping clients avoid the roadblocks that slowed me down, both personally and professionally.
Yes, I’m redefining myself all the time. In the next 6 months I will get to plan for being mother-of-the-bride. (And at some point, grandmother?) I’m still mulling the right volunteer opportunity for me as well as stepping more fully into my writing. And of course, this year I leaped off the high-dive into the world of scrapbooking.
Redefining yourself never has to end. Your soul has more to do than can be accomplished in this lifetime, so enjoy the trip!