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Embrace Who You Really Are and Simplify Life Decisions

Embrace Who You Really Are and Simplify Life Decisions

“Who am I?” is the universal question most often asked. It begins in adolescence and persists through life’s developmental stages. Thankfully, the responses differ. Can you imagine if every one had the same answer?  It would be like watching The Phantom of the Opera with every actor playing the phantom. When you embrace the uniqueness of who you are, you will uncover your life purpose to begin living your dream

Read on for the oh-so-rewarding results of self-acceptance.

1. You’ll be the expert on who you are.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an owner’s manual that shows how YOU tick? Learning about yourself is usually a process of trial and error.  You can eliminate the errors by tuning in to how you behave and react in different situations. What triggers defensiveness in you? Can you diffuse irritation and avoid going ballistic?  Which activities fuel your enthusiasm? Knowing your behaviors, reactions, strengths, and weaknesses equips you to smoothly navigate work situations and social interactions.

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2. You’ll gain a BFF for life—YOU.

A healthy self-relationship develops when you fully embrace yourself, warts and all.  In a deep relationship, a woman can sense and will gently touch her partner to calm him down during a heated discussion with someone.  A man will protectively put himself between his partner and a menacing stranger. When you are a friend to yourself, you won’t put yourself in situations which cause you anger, fear, or sadness. You acknowledge your weaknesses, but you also work at lessening or converting those weaknesses. Acceptance and effort earns self-respect. You’ll start to appreciate yourself.

3. You’ll treat yourself kindly.

You wear many hats in life. You hold a job, are a friend, a spouse, a parent, caregiver to aging parents, driver, confidant, volunteer, etc. Many people depend on you, but you cannot always deliver. Because you are your own BFF, you will be forgiving of our shortcomings. You’ll take mistakes as lessons for improvement and successes as validation of skills. Both will present opportunities for self-nurturing. Treating yourself to some quiet time alone or celebrating with a fun group will become second nature and guilt-free.  You know it is well-deserved.

4. You’ll stop living in fear of not being good enough.

Inferiority usually surfaces in comparison with peers.  Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson states that the concept of inferiority begins at school age in the classroom environment.  Peer pressure is strongest during adolescence due to the amount of time spent with large numbers of similarly-aged groups and the high importance adolescents place on their peers’ opinions. How does this information help you?  You can congratulate yourself for transitioning from that challenging time (and be extra kind to adolescents.) You can remind yourself that feelings of not being good enough are just that—feelings, not facts.  If you accept your weaknesses, you are less vulnerable to another person’s judgment.

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5. A copycat, you’ll never be.

Toddlers imitate their parents and adolescents get influenced by their friends’ choice of colleges to attend. This is part of learning self-concept.  A female job intern will follow the dress style of the lady boss and a male apprentice will mimic the authoritative voice of his mentor. This is a natural part of adapting to the work culture. When you embrace who you really are, you have a stable self-concept. You are aware of your personality traits, how you look and sound, your values, beliefs, goals and skills. And you appreciate your individuality. Copy another person’s identity? That’s unlikely because you are comfortable being you.

6. You’ll get rid of “what ifs” and “maybes.”

What if I apply for a marketing job and get rejected?  What if I tell this girl I like her and she laughs at my face?  What if I start that small business and it goes bust? Maybe I should just settle for where I am now. Over-analyzing and worrying about negative results stems from self-doubt, which is the opposite of self-confidence.  A person with good self-esteem has a decent opinion of self and likes him/herself.  You know your skills, are guided by your values and beliefs; learn from mistakes, and proudly celebrate your successes. Self-knowledge and appreciation drive away self-doubt.

7. You’ll form deep and meaningful relationships

People get their cue from the way you behave and treat yourself.  If your behavior is consistent with your beliefs and values, they will recognize a person who is similar or different from them but who is clearly an individual, with his or her set of beliefs and values.  People will not misread your actions. You know what you deserve and are comfortable asking calmly for it.  You don’t let others impose their beliefs on you and you withhold judgment on their beliefs. When you embrace who you truly are, you will attract other authentic individuals who respect, value, and support you.

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8. You’ll know and can focus on what truly moves you.

Life has a way of throwing questions to which your answers are pivotal. Self-knowledge is a powerful tool in your responses. A series of significant questions and authentic answers will reveal your dream and life purpose. When you embrace who you really are, your answers will ring true and clear, and lead you each step of the way. You’ll instinctively know the job you’ll thrive in, the causes you’ll best contribute to, the people you’ll connect deeply with, and what makes you feel truly alive.  Your decision-making will be simple, guided by two questions:  “Does this support who I really am?” and “Does this help me live my life purpose?”

9. “Things fall into place” for you.

“You create your reality with your intentions.”

—Gary Zukav

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I’ve seen it happen. When you decide and affirm your intention, the opportunities show up inexplicably in the strangest of ways from the most unexpected sources to support that intention.

It works best when:

  • your dream/purpose reflects the divine in you, helps others, and protects nature;
  • you are clear about your dream and purpose;
  • you make each life decision in support of your dream and purpose;
  • you believe!

But first of all, you have to embrace who you really are.

Featured photo credit: Chicken LIttle, flickr.Wasin Waeosri via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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