Sometimes we lose sight of ourselves. It happens to the best of us – even the most successful and self-aware people can go through phases where everything seems… off, somehow. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. In fact, getting lost can be a really awesome opportunity to rediscover and redefine ourselves, perhaps uncovering an even more fulfilling version of ourselves that has been trying to push its way through.
Still, that process of discovery is…, well – a process. And so, like any process, there are strategies you can employ to help you move through it. So, i’m sharing my top 10 tips for rediscovering who you really are!
1. Figure Out Your Values
I may sound like a broken record when it comes to Values but I cannot emphasize enough how important they are. Knowing your values can help you make easier decisions, improve communication in your relationships, and help you bounce back from set-backs with more clarity and ease. To discover your values, take our free Values assessment here.
2. Take Some “Me” Time
Most people spend very little time alone. But when you’re constantly surrounded by others (or even by mindless, second-hand “company” like Netflix or Facebook) you’re just hiding from the thoughts and problems you’re scared to address. Alone time is crucial – and it can be a great opportunity to discover what YOU want and what YOU like to do. Go to a movie alone, explore a new part of your city or town that you’ve been curious about, research something you’ve always thought of, find a new artist or type of music. Or check out this list for more ideas. Through exploration, you might not only start to fall in love with your life, but also with yourself.
3. Ask Your Friends Why You’re Awesome
Other people can often see us more clearly and objectively than we see yourselves (though, let’s not pretend they are completely without bias). So, email 3 or 4 people you trust and ask them these questions: 1. What am I really good at? 2. If I were a brand, what brand would I be and why? 3. How do I make people feel? 4) Complete this sentence: “If (your name here) was no longer in my life, I would most miss….”
And remember to stay open through this process. What you hear back might surprise you! But that’s also where the real fun comes in. Also, don’t forget to let your friends know that you promise not to get mad NO MATTER WHAT they say – that you just really want to know the honest truth about how they see you.
4. Try A New Sport or Hobby By Yourself
When you’re with people you just met for the first time, you can be anyone you want. They have zero expectations of you. You can be quiet, you can be loud, you can be funny, you can be shy. For some reason it feels easier to be YOU around strangers. It shouldn’t, but it does. So, try something new – without anyone who already knows you – and play around a little with who you can be. You might even surprise yourself.
5. Spend Time in Nature
“Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be.” Mmm nature. It welcomes us, it doesn’t judge us, and it slows our minds down. There are SO many benefits to being in nature and scientific studies are really starting to back this. So, get outside to improve your sleep, reduce your stress, ground yourself, and improve your psychological health – all of which give you a clearer head and a better mood from which to rediscover yourself and what you’re capable of.
When you’re stuck in a rut part of the reason may be that your brain is actually, literally stuck in a rut. Our thoughts begin to carve neural pathways in the brain, and so the more we practice certain ways of thinking, the deeper those neural pathways become and the more likely we are to continue along the same paths. But what if those pathways aren’t serving us? Well, then we need to do some clean-up – and meditation is one of the few proven techniques that allow us to do this. In short, meditation actually allows us to BIOLOGICALLY change who we are.
You can think of it as brain hygiene. We brush our teeth every day – daily meditation is like brushing our brains.
To get started, you can try Kernel of Wisdom’s channel with a ton of free videos and meditations to help here.
Your inner kid is dying to get out and play. We pretend as adults that we don’t need to play anymore because we’re serious and “professional.” Bullshit! Go outside and climb a tree, ride your bike, do a puzzle, play some board games, there are SO many ways to play. To help, here are 10 fun ideas for adult play.
8. Re-live Great Memories
Make a list of your happiest times and memories. Proud moments, fun times, favourite people. Then think about WHY those are such good memories for you. How did they make you feel? Do you have those kinds of great experiences in your life still? If not, make them happen! Even if you just try those things again once, you might learn something and have a lot of fun doing it.
Every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Write whatever you like. If you’re stuck, write about what you’re grateful for today, what went well today, what you want to get done, something funny that happened. Lists can be a lot of fun too – what are 5 things you like about yourself, 5 places you want to visit one day, 5 new foods you want to try, or 5 of the best days you can remember? It literally doesn’t matter, just reflect and start writing. There are also some great, guided journals that can help like the 5-minute journal.
10. Write your Eulogy
Kinda weird, right? Your eulogy is what someone will say about you at your funeral. It’s all about what makes you special. How you made people feel. The impact you had on others. Write it out and you’ll see what is most important to you, and you’ll see if you’re living that way right now or if you’ve gotten off track.
You can try all of these ideas or just a few, but no matter what, exploring and trying new things are going to help. Need an extra boost? Check out my new 7-day RECESS to help you step off life’s treadmill and discover what’s next, for you: Recess
Either way, have a courageous day!
Get in touch with Billy at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions, or leave any comments below. You can also find more on this and other courage-related topics in Billy’s book “Your Comfort Zone is Killing You” (available here.).