“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.” —Rabbi Harold Samuel Kushner
For us, moving from a life revolving around materialism and performance-based satisfaction to an intentional, authentic life focused on things that really mattered was not always an easy journey. We discovered we needed to be intentional about making decisions and to put a plan in place to move from where we were to where we really wanted to be. This reality will be true for you as well if you are seeking a similar life transition.
It isn’t enough to decide that you have been focusing on the wrong things and expect change to happen automatically. You can’t just identify what is wrong; you have to do something about it. It starts with reimagining what a successful life looks like for you. You must decide what your life goals and priorities are.
Decide who you want to be, what’s most important to you, and how you want to spend the rest of the one life you have been given. This is key to moving forward and embracing a new life.
As a professional life coach, Bob often leads new clients through a series of four strategic questions. We will cover the first of those questions today. The remaining three will be covered in the next few weeks.
We refer to these four questions as life’s four-legged stool. There is nothing special about any of these questions – but your answers are! Your responses to these questions will be unique and special to your life and serve as a solid foundation upon which you can sit confidently.
Each question will require contemplation and honest self-evaluation. That is the reason for not covering all four in one post – we encourage you to take time to prayerfully consider each. Change requires hard work and should be well-thought-out.
The First Leg: Who Are You?
If you don’t know who you are, you will grasp whatever is easiest and within reach. So many grasp for the life of the Joneses—trying to discover identity and purpose through performance, comparisons, and competition.
We too often try answering this question in terms of what we are or what we have. “I’m an accountant, a plumber, an attorney, a teacher, a nurse, a broker,” we might say. Or maybe we mention the company we work for, the neighborhood we live in, the floor we work on, or even the type of car we drive. But this is a flawed approach to stating who we are.
Thomas Merton comments on this question in his work New Seeds of Contemplation: “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him, I will find myself, and, if I find my true self, I will find Him.”
Each of these quotes point in the same direction. They both state that when we find God we will discover who we are. This is where we discovered the starting point of our transition. Part of the process of figuring out your “who” is discovering how God uniquely wired you to be unlike any other person ever created. You have a distinctive DNA, your fingerprints are unlike anyone else’s, and no one else has eyes exactly the same as yours.
You also have a personality that is yours alone. There are many assessments available to better understand your unique “you.” Bob uses several of these when he works with clients, including Gallup’s StrengthsFinder and a favorite called Psycho-Geometrics.
Discovering who you are can be the toughest leg of your stool to figure out and there are many approaches you can take including these assessments, conversations with loved ones, journaling, discovering your passions, and more. Don’t rush this step—you will be glad you didn’t. Drop us a note if you have any questions or would simply like a little help learning how to get started discovering your “who”.
Stay tuned for our next post when we will cover the next leg of this four-legged stool.
Blessings on your continuing journey,
Bob and Susan Karcher