When Your Childish Clarity Fades
I had an enormous breakthrough this summer around my own personal brand. Ironically, one of my gifts is helping others uncover their unique genius – yet I have the toughest time seeing myself as clearly as I can see others.
Do you ever have this problem?
Anyway, back to breakthroughs.
My children were away this summer, visiting my in-laws in Tennessee. Their absence gave me so much time to think and reflect on the year that’s already half-gone, and the direction I want the rest of my year to take.
I decided that I wanted to get back to something I used to do religiously – journaling. From age 12 or so to post-college, I used to write in my journal every day. And I had such an enormous sense of myself when I did that – I was able to see myself so much more clearly than I do now. So a few weeks into the summer, I picked up my pen and commenced to write each night before bed. And an amazing thing began to happen. I was transported back to those wonderful years of self clarity; it all started to come back like all habitual rituals do. I recorded the successes and challenges of the day, and began to notice patterns even within that first week or so. In essence, I began to get clear on myself – my strengths, my gifts, my talents, my genius.
And two key points emerged that I want to share with you.
As a child, I wrote. Whenever I was sad – I wrote. Whenever I was happy, I wrote. Writing was a constant that always kept me on course, made me feel empowered and kept me sane. But it started in childhood – and was at its most natural state in childhood. What did you do in your childhood that made you really happy? What was your method of escape or of celebration? Singing? Dancing? Swimming?
When writing I am always closest to myself. So the fact that I ever stopped totally explains my inability to see myself clearly. If you are struggling to define your personal brand, and cannot complete the brand definition workbook, are you somehow blocked by something? Are you not doing something that you used to do religiously?
Just last night, I was reading Marcus Buckingham’s book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, and he said exactly what I was thinking. Check this out:
“Back when you were young, your strengths were to be trusted. You might not have had a name for them – you may not have even labled them strengths – but when you were a child, you listened to them….You felt your yearnings and your passions intensely, and they fueled your innocent belief that the world was going to wait for you, until one day you would emerge from your home or your school, and you would get to make your unique mark on the world.
How old were you when you still felt this? Eight? Ten?
And then somehow, sometime between then and now, your childish clarity faded, and you started listening to the world around you more closely than you did to yourself.”
What you did before you started listening to the world? Leave me a note in the comments – I would love to hear from you.
I hope today, tomorrow, or sometime over the next week you will have time to take an hour for yourself. Maybe you can get back to doing what always did that made you feel completely “you.”