At a “Find Your Why” women’s workshop I was training at recently, a brave woman asked during the workshop, “How do I know who I am?” In the workshop to discover our purpose, or our why, I ask the women to write down a list of the work they do. Then we write a list of the roles they play. After we complete both lists, I ask them to describe who they are without using anything on those lists. Delete those lists and see what is left. Who you are remains. The brave woman who asked was joined by a handful of other women who felt the same way. When is the last time you were asked who you were deep down inside?
Your identity was given to you at birth. It has been blooming and developing over time. It has also been neglected. It has also been damaged. But unlike your social security number, this identity cannot be stolen. It is forever yours. If you feel the same sense of doubt in answering the question, you just need to reconnect with it.
I’ve recently gotten a new puppy who is a year old and is scared of her own shadow. She is happy to chew on about anything, so we bought her some rawhide bones to chew instead. She was scared to death of them. After days of coaxing and working with her, I finally took her into the yard and threw one of the bones like it was a ball to fetch. She loves to fetch and catch a ball, so she took off after it and picked it up in her mouth. The most hilarious and eye opening thing happened. She began to prance and run around the yard with joy. Well, everything about the actions looked like doggie joy!
The minute she picked up the bone in her mouth, she connected to her inner dog. The bone in her mouth immediately reminded her of who she was – her primal dog self who loves bones and loves to chew bones. It still took her a few days to know exactly what to do with the bone. I had to lock her in her kennel with it for her to discover how to chew the bone!
This is how disconnected we can become from who we are and what we were created to do. Sometimes we must pick up old dreams, ideas, talents and gifts and try them on to see if they still fit. Sometimes we have to lock ourselves up for a weekend in a hotel alone to reconnect with them. Sometimes it takes a stripping away of the every day roles to dive deep into our identity. Who we are is worth reconnecting with and discovering.