Be Your Intentional Self, Everyday
July 8th, 2014 by Marcy Schwab
Authentic Self is a common theme these days. There are a stream of books you can read to help you discover who you are. I believe in it. You can only be the person that you are and it’s really hard to try to be someone else.
That being said, how you show up every day, authentic or otherwise, is a choice. Do you show up in a way that Is a conscious choice or one that just happens?
Who am I?
This is where the “authentic self” work comes in. Figuring out who you are is essential to figuring out who you want to be each day. What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? How do I deal with stress? How do I handle the good times? Being thoughtful is key to learning more about yourself and how you operate. You aren’t going to change who are. Instead, make the best of what you have and acknowledge the ins and outs of what makes you….well, you.
Who do I want to be today?
I think the real trick is taking who you are and then deciding what you are going to do with it on a daily basis. Sure, you can use the same information to make the big life choices (career change, relationships, hobbies). Even more importantly, perhaps, is what you do with it in the course of your daily life. If you know you have a meeting with someone during the day who makes you crazy, think about how you want to act with that person. What do you want to get out of that interaction, and how can you approach your meeting to get what you need and preserve the relationship? Maybe you can intentionally improve your overall mood before you see that person, so that you can be in a better place to handle the usual stresses of your time together.
It can take just a few minutes. When you get up in the morning, think about what’s coming up for you during the day, and how you want to be. There’s a lot of power in intentionally deciding that you want to be in a good mood and you want to make a difference today.
What do I want the world to see today?
While it sounds quite similar to Who You Want To Be, it’s super important to think about how you want the world to see you. The people with whom you interact likely have a history with you, whether short or long, and the “Who you want to be today” should be considered alongside the notion of “What you want the world to see.” Just because you want to be direct and to the point and in a “get things done” kind of mode, doesn’t mean that the people around you will be in that place as well.
Like the exercise of getting up in the morning and figuring out who you want to be, add to it the additional, intentional consideration of what you want others to feel.
How do I get to my intentional self when emotion takes over?
The world happens and no matter how much planning you do, “stuff” happens to wipe out all of your best intentions. Somebody says something that just makes you crazy or pushes your buttons. It’s so easy to forget all about what you planned, and instead you find yourself reacting emotionally and unintentionally.
This is where your experience and self awareness come in to play. If you have done the thinking about who you want to be and how you want others to see you, it’s a lot easier to control and overcome your emotional response. You will be better able to recognize that you are not embodying your intentional self and perhaps you will notice that it’s time to take a deep breath and approach the situation more how you would intend to do it if you had known it was coming.
Action versus Reaction
Essentially, you are working toward a mode of action versus reaction. Effective action often starts with intent. You have the control over how you are and how others see you. Act with intent, read cues, and react with intent. That way, your intentional self lets your authentic self shine through.
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