Have you ever had an experience where your whole being just repelled the idea of something? Your boss asks you to do something that in your opinion is a bit shady. Or your kids ask for the latest iPhone after just getting a new phone six months ago. Or your friend recommends the latest self-help book and insists that you read it too, and you’re not a big reader at all. Once in awhile (or sometimes very often), our entire being immediately rejects a request, a notion or thought.
I’ve recently learned (ironically through reading a really good book – ha!) that when you look back on your experiences, you can easily identify what experiences were true to your authentic self, and which ones were not. And you can tell this by how you reacted – both physically and emotionally. You can actually do this right now by picking out a few things that happened in your life in the last few days, like the examples above.
For twenty years or more, I thought I was an engineer. I spent four years taking classes, another fourteen years working for a manufacturing company, and a few more years thinking my identify revolved around the fact that I was an engineer. Upon reflection, I realize now that even though I was good at math and science, and got really good grades in college, the thought of actually working as an engineer elicits a negative reaction from my being. It is not surprising that the job offer I accepted out of college was actually for a sales and marketing leadership development program – one that hired mostly engineers. I rejected job offers that were truly engineering roles.
That is not to say that I don’t like technology. I actually love many aspects of coding, design and calculations used in applications. And my career has always revolved around technology in some shape or form. I just much prefer to be in a different role (sales, marketing, operations), which is what I naturally gravitated towards over the years.
As I explore new opportunities in my career right now, I am using the concept of my authentic self to identify the right next step for me. It’s pretty interesting! As I peruse job listings, I immediately get a positive or negative vibe, and that is how I am deciding which positions make sense for me. Helping others, ideally using technology in some form, and making the world a better place are obvious triggers to which I am drawn.
The same concept of acceptance or rejection (or something in between) exists in our personal lives. The picture above is one where I am most happy. I am with my husband and kids, at a “Live Music on the Patio” at our golf club. Music, family, fresh air, and summertime. That elicits pure joy in my being.
So, I recommend you start tapping into your authentic self, but simply being aware of what brings you joy, and what doesn’t. Try and reduce or eliminate doing things that your body repels, and embrace those things where you are most comfortable and at peace. It is truly liberating!
And if you are a big reader, and would like to learn more, consider picking up “Discovering Your Authentic Self” by Sherrie Dillard. No pressure, but it’s a good one!