How to Bring Your Full Self to LifeBy Homaira Kabir
Would you love to express parts of yourself if only it was worth the time? (Perhaps an artistic flair or a passion for the Tarantella?) Or do you feel that there isn't much to you beyond the skills you've mastered in a dull or meaningless job? Sadly, we're often unaware or unappreciative of the many facets of our inner prism and fail to bring our full selves to life. We leave our hidden gems of genius unexplored and our buried passions unexpressed.
These personal resources, along with our experiences in life, are our unique perspective and our difference to the world. Understanding and appreciating what we are all about is what allows us to step out of ourselves and repay our "gifts" to the world. Our reward is the happiness and fulfillment we get in return.
We each have something valuable that the world needs to hear. Unless we figure it out and devise a plan to pursue it with passion, it will stay hidden and lead to a life of regrets. The good news is, getting started is easier than we think:
Connect to Your Core
Living fully is based on one simple premise—we have to know who we are. Sir Ken Robinson likens our personal resources to natural resources—we have to search for them, dig them out and then begin to craft a life around them. Instead, we define ourselves solely by our skills and talents, and fail to appreciate the fuel that energizes these talents. To discover what really lies beneath our expertise, we need to think of the following:
- What are the values I hold dear?
- How do I express myself creatively?
- What are the character strengths that I display?
- What are the passions that I’d love to pursue?
Identifying these will let you see the sides of you that you may have taken for granted and that could perhaps become your niche. Even better, expressing parts of yourself that are inherently you will bring you happiness and allow you to live life fully, not just successfully.
Know Your Narrative
Humans are excellent storytellers. We make sense of our past through narrative. Our experiences become the building blocks of stories we tell ourselves and the lives we live, often unconsciously. Owning our experiences, and thinking through the way in which they have contributed to the person we are, allows us to craft empowering stories that charter the course of a future that brings our full selves to life. We connect to the difference we bring and find the motivation to pursue it with passion. Here are a few questions that can help in the process:
- What are the moments from my life that define me?
- What are the skills and expertise that I have gained along the way?
- How do they both position me to bring something unique to the world?
- What difference can I make that would make me genuinely happy and fulfilled?
Make Your Purpose-Driven Plan
Once we appreciate our unique trajectory, we become clear on the contribution we can make to the world. Our personal resources become the qualities that energize us to follow through on our plans. Dr. Neal Mayerson, Chairman and Founder of the VIA Institute on Character says that “Character strengths are the fuel and the rudder that energize and direct our talents”. A few thoughts to keep in mind:
- How can I break down my goal into manageable parts?
- What are the opportunities I can harness?
- What are the obstacles I need to beware of?
- What will I do when I come up against these obstacles? Psychologist Heidi Halverson calls it your "If/Then" plan: IF ______ happens, THEN _______ is what I will do.
As in any great endeavor, fear may become your uninvited companion. Accept it as a necessary part of your journey and listen to it every so often. It may have something important to say! Remind yourself that it is the price you pay for stepping out of your comfort zone and bringing your full self to life!
Homaira Kabir is a Women’s Leadership Coach, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and a Positive Psychology Practitioner, whose work expands the breadth of the human experience. She empowers women to become leaders of their own selves in order to become leaders in relationships, at work and in life. You can read more about her work at homairakabir.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter (@homairakabir).
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