How Would You Describe Yourself To The World? | The Fine Art Of Crafting A Powerful Description To Emphasize Your True Brilliance
Let’s be honest, you didn’t get to the position you’re now in by being shy or holding back when you had an opinion or something to offer. As it stands now, you’re an established leader, and a person to whom people look up. Your colleagues rely on you to make decisions, take action, and lay the path for them to follow. The amount you can get done before you hit your breaking point might seem superhuman to others. This is all great news.
There is, though, one big catch to your success: you are human.
The fact that you are visionary, determined, and driven does not mean you don’t have needs, personal longings, get tired, or need someone to love and care for you. The frequency or setting of how you receive these needs might look different to other people, but because you are human, you need them nonetheless.
This need is what makes you more than just the name people have given you, or even what you have come to believe about yourself. You deserve richer naming that goes beyond the cliche or surface level answer of statements like: “I am a people person”; “I driven”; “I’m an introvert”; “I’m ambitious”; “I’m action-oriented”; or “I get stuff done”. All those statements may be true, but they are simply a single facet of you. Today, you’re going to explore a written naming of yourself which fully embraces who you are in all your multifaceted glory.
How Would You Describe Yourself? A Richer Naming Requires A Special Tone For You To Come Alive
To shape a richer naming, it’s time to gently ease yourself into an exploration of:
- How you currently describe and talk about yourself.
- How that makes you feel
- Whether or not the way you are naming yourself serves you well.
Let’s drop down a few gears and quiet the noise of the demands and expectations that you have been placing on yourself. Not only that, I want you to release the weight other’s expectations have been placing on you.
If you have a piece of paper, or a journal nearby now is the time to use that. As you’re slowing down take some deep breaths and connect with your body and how you’re feeling in this current moment.
I’m going to ask you to do three tasks with the common names or phrases you use when describing yourself.
- Firstly, pause for a moment and jot down your “go to” names, phrases, and descriptors. We all have them. Don’t overthink it or judge yourself in the process. As something pops into your mind, jot it down. What are the most common ways you describe yourself?
- Secondly, I want you to observe how each name, phrase, or descriptor makes you feel.
- Do you come alive when you hear it?
- Do you squirm or feel pressure in your head or an unsettled feeling in your stomach?
- Do you feel proud or embarrassed?
What are those feelings telling you? If your responses are clear, you can capture them and move straight into digging for the meaning or insight that gives you around what those feelings are telling you.
If, however, you’re struggling to really pin down how you feel, and you’re stuck in your head, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. I often catch myself starting sentences that are meant to be describing how I FEEL by saying “I think I feel tired.” Or, “I think I feel overwhelmed.” If you’re like me, and you’re someone who lives in your head, more than your body, tapping into and starting to listen to your body takes practice.
- Lastly, I want you to ask yourself if those names are serving you. If the ways you currently talk about yourself don’t inspire, energize, and bring out your brilliance then now might be a good time to begin to craft a more powerful, authentic naming of yourself.
Like all the tools and practices I give you, this isn’t going to be a once and done kind of exercise. You may have had a breakthrough and a genuine ‘aha moment’ of insight right here and now that reframes everything for you. If so, that is wonderful, please share that with me as I would love to hear about it. But you equally might just get a glimpse, or a whisper, that is going to take some reflection and gentle nursing to really coax the insight out.
Wherever You’ve Landed Today Is Where You Are Meant To Be
Helping leaders like you embrace the different aspects of yourself and bring back into view the fullness of who you are is what I love to do. As you do more of this exercise, you will experience deep patterns emerge time and again. One of my deepest patterns is that I am a walking contradiction. I always have been and I’m not only okay with that, I love it!
Throughout my life, I have always been someone who regularly finds myself being, feeling, needing, or doing things that seem to be contradictory, or paradoxical. Here’s a few examples of my inbuilt contradictions:
- I love to perform – on stage, podcasts, or anything in between. It is equally true, though, that I am deeply introverted, and need a lot of space on my own.
- I am a fiercely independent woman. But equally I love having the same surname as my partner and our kids.
- I adore my family and can fall into the trap of being a martyr who takes too much responsibility. But equally, I don’t feel guilty going to work or traveling and I’m very capable of compartmentalizing or not thinking about them when I’m away.
I am complex. You are too. I want you to begin to be more comfortable with the parts of you that might seem like they don’t neatly fit into expectations, or traditional roles.
We are each unique and what brings me joy, energy and flow might be your idea of an exhausting train wreck of a life! That is completely fine. It’s not my job to prescribe what a life well lived will look like for you, and it’s not your job to judge what that looks like for me.
My intention today is to encourage you to look at yourself and dig a little deeper in any areas where you have been naming yourself in a limiting way that traps you into being a one-dimensional person.
This type of interaction ends up draining you of energy because it denies your whole truth. For example, while you may be an intense, Type A personality, who is blunt and direct, you could be creating a narrative where your intensity means you can’t slow down, rest, or require as much sleep as other people. Again, though, you’re human. Remember? That narrative of not slowing down to rest is not actually true.
Whether you’ve already reached the breaking point of burnout, or you’re just starting to hear whispers of exhaustion emerging, there is a toll being taken on you when you ignore and deny these parts of yourself. Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, your body is keeping a running tab and that bill always comes due.
How A Better Description & The Concept Of Both/And Can Change Your Life
While the concept of Both/And will take your thinking and ability to contribute to impact in the world to new heights, it is also powerful because it has a fractal nature. Both/And is relevant at all levels of a system, in the outside world and in your personal internal world.
When you start to recognize and accept Both/And in yourself, you will unlock what you can do and how long you can do it. There will be a flow and ease to those intense bursts of action that actually gives you more energy at the same time as having more impact.
So, while I am intense and can be exhausting to be around you’re not going to find me speaking or operating like that here or when you work with me in a coaching capacity. I will speak to you the way I speak to myself. The voice in my head is calm and kind because that is what I need to slow me down, and center me, so I can then operate at my best when I’m ready to act. That is the place I want to hold and create for you here.
I want to provide you with an environment that is conducive to you feeling confident and grounded. So, when you step away from engaging with me, you feel a sense of clarity and that you are unshakable because you know yourself better. You should have a sense of your next steps or your big picture vision that is uniquely yours.
I know that you have a vision, even if it is blurry right now. You want to make an impact bigger than you in the circles you move in, the organizational structures that surround you, or the family traditions that are expected of you. When you are capable, you are often taken advantage of, expected to pick up the pieces and make up for others’ incompetence. You are rarely given the support or encouragement that others are given. Yet, you are relied on to chart the course, lead the charge, and pull off miracles daily!
Moving beyond those constructs is the right choice because they aren’t currently serving you in a way that truly taps into and unlocks the fullness of who you know you can be. There is a lack of support, a sense of isolation, an absence of wise counsel or a sounding board to step more fully into a life that is uniquely yours.
That stops today.
I want to support you because the greatest impact I can have in the world is to ensure that extraordinary leaders like you are unleashed in ways that are aligned and in integrity with who you really are. The more you can tap into that the more impactful you will be. As you develop this richer insight and understanding of yourself. You will also catch yourself quicker when you fall into operating out of alignment or when your shadow sides emerge. While I think you’re extraordinary, I also know you’re human. You are not one-dimensional. But you are also not perfect. So, let’s own our brilliance AND our brokenness, and rather than shy away from the messy middle let’s step more fully into it and together, figure out how to live and lead more meaningful lives.