Today I'm spending some time contemplating who I want to be in the new year.
If this notion leaves you thinking, "What the heck are you talking about, Sherri? You can't change WHO you are," you're probably not alone.
But as we've previously established, our lives are mostly shaped by what we believe, and that includes what we believe about who we are.
So now the question would be: Can we change what we believe about who we are? Yes!
Beliefs are pliable when we gain more information. Remember people really BELIEVED the world was flat based on the limited evidence they had at the time. And if you want to play along and learn new information about yourself, you too can have a monumental mind-shift with just a little bit of effort.
Assume for a moment that it's true that WHO WE ARE is simply who we BELIEVE WE ARE. We tend to put labels on ourselves based on certain experiences we have of ourselves or because of how someone in our past identified us. But today I'd like to do some inquiry about whether or not those labels are serving us. If not, are you willing to reinvent yourself this year?
Maybe you believe you are compassionate or patient or giving or loving or resilient or strong or witty or intelligent or funny or a rebel or a badass. Then guess what? You are!
Conversely, if you believe you are fearful or angry or lazy or a procrastinator, then you are.
And you might say, "But Sherri, it's TRUE. I've got tons of evidence to prove it. It's just who I am."
Consider, though, that the only thing keeping us stuck in a "way of being" is that we think it's who we are and that we can't change who we are.
And although it may be true that you have exhibited behaviors of being lazy, fearful, or angry, isn't it also true that you have exhibited behavior in contrast to that as well?
Haven't you also been productive, courageous, or loving -- at least once? Yes. Can you think of one example? Wait for it. Wait for it. Yes! This is how we change our beliefs.
Let's be clear: I'm not asking you to feed yourself a bunch of bull. I'm asking you to inquire whether the opposite is also true. And if you can find ONE example of the opposite being true, then you can begin to change your belief.
A quick example from my life:
I used to believe I was a person who would quit when the going got tough. I had lots of evidence to prove this true: relationships, working out, new hobbies, etc. As soon as something felt too difficult, I would bail. So I developed a belief that that's just who I am: a quitter.
But one day I decided to challenge that belief by asking the question: "Have I ever not bailed on something that was difficult?" And I got quiet and then waited for evidence: Yes! When I was in a band. When I got on stage for the first time in front of about 100 people and my vocal chords began closing up due to my stage fright, it was horrifying. It was difficult. It was scary. And I did not bail. I stayed on stage for that whole gig...and in the band for the next 2-1/2 years. It always felt scary to me to get on stage, but I learned to perform through the fear and I absolutely loved those years and it is one of the experiences I'm most proud of in my life.
All I needed was one example to prove my prior "belief" wrong because now it was no longer TRUE that I'm a person who gives up when the going gets tough. I am a person who has exhibited both perseverance AND quitting. This is the bridge to the new CHOSEN belief.
So then the next question was: If both of these identities are possibilities for me, which one do I want to choose as my identity going forward? Which serves me better to believe about myself: being perseverant or a quitter? I'm sure you can guess what I chose.
After some time of playing around with my new awesome identity, I now can say that my belief has truly changed. I'm now a person who makes it to the finish line. I am someone who expects that challenges will come, but I will persevere.
It's remarkable the mind-shifts that can happen because of a little inquiry, honesty, and willingness to try something new.
So now it's your turn. Who do you want to be in 2016? Try this inquiry process in your life and let me know what shifts for you!
Wishing you the Happiest and Healthiest year yet!