Identity Quest: Challenge Accepted

The purpose of this exercise is for you to find yourself. The happiest, best version of yourself. Why? Because you deserve it. Believe it or not, I was not always happy. But I am now. So I must’ve done something pretty big and crazy between then and now, right? Well, here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve acquired along the way. I’d like to share them with you because you deserve to be happy. Plus I think you’re kinda cute.

I need you to grab a pen and paper. Don’t type what I tell you; I need you to physically write this, if you can. I know it’ll feel like homework, but just trust me on this.

Find a nice cozy corner. Somewhere quiet and comfy. Somewhere you feel totally relaxed.

I don’t know about you, but putting pen to paper has a totally different affect on my mind when brainstorming than when my eyes are glued to a screen and my fingers to a keyboard. I don’t know if it’s the freedom of handwriting which allows my mind to open, but the results are always advantageous. It could just be my obsessive love of stationery though, who knows?!

identity quest

Okay so firstly I need you to write your name in the middle of the page. The name you would like to be called. If the name on your birth certificate feels as though it belongs to a stranger, or if you don’t relate to your nickname, have another think about it. Names are important. They are usually a person’s first impression of you and they can drastically alter the way you see yourself and the way others perceive you, or the way you would like to be perceived. Think hard about your name, what you would like to be known as. Say it out loud and make sure it resonates within you.

“Hello, my name is Miss Whiskey.” What Kind of feel do you get from your name? What does it say about you and how does it relate to your identity?

Alright. Now I want you to brainstorm all the things you love about yourself. Your most valuable tools and attributes. All the things you love to do. All the things you’re good at. All the things that make you the bomb diggity.

Now one by one have a look at each of these talents, skills and passions and one by one cross out the ones you are currently using on a day to day basis. For example, if you are passionate about playing rugby, yet you spend all week in a suit and don’t have time on the weekends to hit the field, leave it uncrossed.

Now have a break from looking at the sheet in front of you. Have a glass of water and a stretch, dance around the lounge or whatever, and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.

Okay, so what’s left? The keys to your happiness; that’s what. If you are not using these skills and talents, or if you are not doing what you’re passionate about every day, then are you really living every day to the full? Or are you just being a potato at life?

Okay, potatoes. Now it’s time to list the hard bits; who do you want to be? What would you really want to do with your life each day in a world without restrictions? Be honest with yourself.

I’m not asking you who your parents want you to be. I don’t care who your teachers want you to be, or the kind of person who would make your boyfriend, girlfriend, crush or your followers happy. Who do YOU want to be?

And, more importantly; what is holding you back from being that person?

What are you afraid of? Write it down. Trust me, those fears belong on paper because they’re very real, and a very real part of our plan, too.

You’ll need to become familiar with those fears. How do they make you feel? How are you going to cope with those feelings when they arise? And believe me, they will. You’ll come face to face with your fears countless times. But they’ll start looking less like fears the closer you get to success in becoming the very best you you can be. You’ll get so used to those fears that eventually you’ll barely notice them at all; not because they’ll change, but because YOU will.

If there’s one bit of advice I could give you, it is this – do not be afraid of failure. Honestly, do NOT be afraid of failure. Failure is nothing more than the footsteps we leave behind us on our path to success. They’re there to reflect on, but eventually we’ll be so far from them that they’ll vanish completely.

Okay, plan time: How are you going to overcome these obstacles? Are you going to need to take some time to recover or heal physically, emotionally or mentally? Is this something you need some spiritual help with? Are you going to need to come up with a mini plan to deal with stress? Are you going to need to study or gain experience in a certain academic area? Are you going to need to invest more energy into a certain area you’re currently neglecting? Are you going to need to network? Are you going to need to start a savings account? Are you going to need to cut toxic people or addictions from your life?

Ask around. Is there someone in your life who you aspire to be like? Maybe a close relative, colleague or friend has certain traits you admire? Ask them for their advice and pointers. Ask them to tell you about their own experiences in overcoming adversity. What were the changes and choices did they need to make? What chances did they need to take? Listen. Take mental notes. (Or actual notes, if you’re that kinda person.)

Now it’s time: Decide. Commit. Succeed; this part is up to you.

If you’re a visual person, I definitely recommend making a mood board; something to hang in your room, your office, or wherever you feel is appropriate. Pinterest or Tumblr may come in handy here.

What kinds of things does the “new you” like? What kinds of things does your “new you” wear? What kinds of things does the “new you” eat? What kind of people does the “new you” associate with? What kind of goals does the “new you” have? Include them all.

My second piece of advice is sticky notes. Jot down positive affirmations, quotes, bible scriptures, reminders, whatever will help you – and stick. them. everywhere. Above the kitchen sink, on your mirror, your toothbrush holder… Anywhere they’re likely to catch your eye every day.

For example, if one of the obstacles you need to overcome is creating strong, healthy personal relationships, and to achieve this you feel you need to be kinder and more compassionate, stick notes reminding you to smile or check on how your friends are doing all around your desk.

Most phones have widgets or apps you can download with virtual sticky notes, which may come in handy too.

Thirdly, start a journal. Record your life changes, your struggles and your accomplishments. This’ll be handy to look back on in hard times to remind you what you’re capable of and why you’re doing this, and a blessing of a keepsake when you reach your success. Written proof of how far you have come.

Lastly, stick that big old brainstorm somewhere special. Reflect on it now and then and cross things off one by one as you make these life changes. See the old you disappear and the new, happier you come to life.

Good luck, Padawan. Stick to your goals – nothing is impossible – you can do this! Never stop believing in yourself.

Eat healthy. Buy a new outfit. Whatever it takes – You be that person. After all, we all deserve to be the best “Us” we can possibly be, and no one is better at being us than ourselves.

Aroha nui.

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