A designer’s guide to finding yourself.
A little less than a year ago I was feeling very frustrated with my life. The only things I loved about it were my husband and yoga. Of course I have wonderful family and friends, but as you may know, that does not necessarily reflect happiness within. Like a slap in the face, I turned thirty. It was a huge wake up call that said, “Hey, life is happening, whether you’re here or not!”
Knowing my mixed feelings about entering my thirties, my amazing hubby wrote a speech that listed everything I’d achieved by 30. It was really stunning and for a second I felt like it was all okay. I am a huge dreamer and I’m always looking ahead for the next chapter and, even though I was feeling much better, I felt stuck. I hadn’t found my calling (and man, had I tried) and I desperately wanted to travel.
My natural reaction was to complain and make demands, passing the blame around. My poor husband. I told him in no uncertain terms that, “We need to be somewhere else by this time next year,” not taking any responsibility for my role in my own unhappiness.
My other (slightly more constructive) reaction to frustration is to purge and organise. I got rid of huge amount of clothes and kitchen ware and reorganised my office. Naturally this also brought on a frenzy of Pinterest-ing, looking for blogs/ articles on “how to get it together,” and on one of these I found a book called Get Rich Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas.
In this book, which is about so much more than money, she describes 5 steps to manifesting. The first of these steps is to declutter. Not just the physical stuff like I’d done, but memories and feelings that don’t serve you anymore.
I decided to keep an open mind and did the decluttering, which is to “forgive” every single memory that had a negative impact on my perception of money and my ability to be wealthy and abundant. The crazy part is that since money feeds into so much of our lives (I mean, think about all of the activities and experiences made possible because of your income) I was decluttering a ton of very heavy, unnerving memories that were affecting the way I perceived the world and my role in it.Forgive the pain that holds you back. Embrace the love that moves you forward. Click To Tweet
I stayed in this mode of decluttering for almost a month as I continued to work through the bigger blocks during my yoga practice and meditation. As a result of this decluttering something incredible was happening. I was reconnecting my mind, heart and spirit, reconnecting with the emotional and feeling senses that I had lost touch with.
Decluttering taught me a few crazy things about myself:
- I had no idea who I was! Somewhere along the way I had lost elements of my identity. The best way to describe it (don’t laugh) is referencing the Pixar movie, Inside-Out and how the little girl’s “personality islands” fall and disappear as she moves into adolescence and moves away from her childhood home. My islands had broken down but I never replaced them. I never found my new or updated identity and therefore used a variety of destructive behaviour and judgement as external validation points of who I thought I was.
- While I had endless judgements and witty critiques about a variety of topics, I had almost no positive opinions or claims that said “I love that,” or “That’s me!” Another symptom of a lack of identity and too much insecurity.
- All of this revealed a larger issue. I was terrified of being vulnerable. So much so that I had learnt to fake a large part of personality – A dangerous thought.
So with all of this, somewhat frightening, information, I set out on a quest to, wait for it.. “Find myself” or how I like to put it, “Build my identity.” My mission was to find and live from a place of personal truth.
Now, I had read a few books on the topic, done an NLP course or three, but I needed a framework, to measure and create proof of this discovery of me. How was I going to record and process the findings towards creating my personal truth?
I turned to my brand knowledge. I had worked with many clients to develop their brands from the ground up and thought that if I could use these steps to build a brand position and personality, surely I could follow the same steps to build my position, personality and maybe even my total identity.
Naturally, your personal truth can’t be captured in a cute tag line, but you might be able to construct usable pieces into a blueprint or manifesto. So I applied the theory to myself and it worked!
Looking at these branding frameworks in a different light allowed me to rebuild my identity.
I realised I could actually decode my personality and rebuild what I wanted more of in my life. I could build my values and add extra meaning with brand pillars. I could even define my life’s vision and my work in accordance to this and in this process I designed my identity while being navigated by my true and authentic self.
I now know who I am and where I’m going. I know what works for me and what doesn’t and I am unapologetic about it all. For the first time in my life I feel 100% connected to who I am, as I own my identity and allow myself to be vulnerable.
This journey lead me to learn, achieve and feel more confident and centred in my life and in business.
To mention a few more breakthrough’s:
- Vulnerability is my biggest strength. Something I previously feared is now something I embrace.
- My personal purpose is aligned to all the work I do, meaning that my truth is expressed authentically in all contexts.
- Destructive behaviour and judgement come from a place of fear and block me from being authentic.
- Knowing my point of view and how things affect me, has begun a whole new journey as I consciously consider each new experience. No more going with the flow. If I don’t like it, I don’t want it in my life.
- An even better marriage. Who knew that being open to feelings made you a better partner.
- A business that is packed full of meaning, passion and joy as I spread my message of personal truth in life and business.
Much more than finding myself again, I learnt who I want to be in business, gained clarity on what I am truly after in this life and found purpose in everything I do. I created a blueprint for my life a manifesto of who I am and what I am about.
Just a few months ago none of this would have been true or even possible for me and while nothing is perfect and I still have lots of changes to make I can honestly say that I love my life!!!!