Who Are You Really? And How Does Identity Affect Your Life?

I remember a client working in sales saying to me, ‘But I’m not a sales person.’ Imagine the affect of not identifying with what we are doing in the world? Another example, someone attempting to quit smoking while saying, ‘But deep down inside I’m really am a smoker.” Can you see how undermining identity issues can be to something we are trying to accomplish? Or how important aligning our identity with our values can be? To distill it, there is real value in taking the time to know who we are…or who we think we are. In other words, what is the story you tell yourself about who you are? Read more

4 Ways to Find The Answer to “What Should I Do With My Life?”

What should I do with my life?

Unlike so many other questions you have about your career, this one’s not quite as easy to Google.

The good news is, you’re not alone—in fact, we guarantee that everyone has pondered their career path, finding their passion, or what they’re meant to be doing at some point. And luckily, many of them are willing to share their advice. If you’re at a loss for what steps to take next, read on for the best pieces of advice from a Quora thread on this topic.

1. Talk to People

“Meet or call at least 50 people. They can be your friends, relatives, friends of friends/references. Call them up, schedule a meeting, go see them and interact with them on what they are doing. Don’t expect anything, don’t ask them to find you a job, don’t ask them to give you a job. Just talk and meet and have a normal conversation.” – Gaurav Munjal

You’d be surprised at how much you can learn just listening to other people talk. If you take the time to really listen, you’ll get insight into people’s motivations, hopes, dreams, and ambitions. And when you piece all that together, you can learn how others got to where they are today—and if that’s a path you want to be on, too.

2. Get Started

“My suggestion is to do something. Even if it isn’t quite the right thing, it is nevertheless a movement that can give you an opportunity to experience. You can spend a lot of time taking tests and getting evaluations for what you might be suited for; ideas always sound good on paper. But words don’t match experience, so acting on something is your best choice.” – Kathleen Grace

Regardless of what you generally want to do, it never hurts to start building something. Start creating a portfolio, launch a career newsletter, or learn how content creating works. There are so many things you can do for your career—even if you don’t know what you want to do.

3. Gather Inspiration From Others

“Walk into your local bookshop and go straight to the autobiography section. Buy three books from across different industries, societies, and cultures. Focus on biographies that document great and successful people’s early lives, before they were great. Read them before bed. Wake up in the morning and write down 10 things you could do differently that day. Do some of them. Do this the next day. And then do it again.” – David Ball

What better way to get started than by learning how others reached their goals? Keep in mind as you’re reading that these people weren’t born knowing what they wanted to do either.

7. Enjoy Not Knowing

“Enjoy the meanderings, the soul-searching, the loves lost, the time wasted. All of it will add up to a complex and very unique ‘you.’ The more you appreciate right now, the more the future will become a fantastic reality. Don’t pressure yourself to be in the future.” -James Altucher

You know how math problems always seem impossible when you first look at them, but then, after taking a break, the answer feels so obvious? Figuring out what you want to do with your life is kind of like that.

By focusing on other less-pressing matters, the obvious answer will come to you when you’re least expecting it.

Just remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. And that even when you do, you might change the course a few times. So don’t worry about having all the answers—just thinking about it is a good start.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you answer the age-old question, “What should I do with my life?”. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Find a Hobby You Love (Becuase It’s Good for Your Life and Career)

Having a hobby that you enjoy—whether that’s crocheting mittens for your sister’s new baby, curling up with a book to get lost in an unknown world, or moving your hips in a Zumba class—has all sorts of benefits, from lower levels of stress to an increased sense of belonging.

Hobbies make a serious impact on your quality of life. But they also improve your work performance. How? When you’re engaged and fulfilled in your life outside of work (when you’re pursuing meaningful hobbies) that happiness spills over. That happiness has the ability to make you more focused and enthusiastic when you’re on the job.

Having a hobby that you love can do good things for your life and your job. But what if you don’t have a hobby you enjoy? That doesn’t mean you can’t find one. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 80 years old—it’s not too late to find something you love and let it spur you on. Our Ignite Your Potential career coaches have curated a few strategies to find a hobby you love.

1. Make What You Already Love into a Hobby

Take a look at how you enjoy spending your time and figure out how this can become a hobby. Have you watched Kevin Hart’s stand-up special on Netflix…four times? Try taking an improv class. Is your favorite part of the day playing with your dog? Try volunteering with a rescue organization. 

2. Reclaim Your Childhood Interests 

When you were a kid, what did you like to do? Did you spend hours finger-painting masterpieces to hang on the fridge? If so, you might want to try taking an art class. Or maybe you spent the entire year looking forward to Field Day at school—in which case, you could join an adult softball team or flag football league. When you were a kid, you had hobbies—revisiting them as an adult is an effortless way to rekindle that love.

3. Try New Things

The truth is finding a hobby can be hit or miss. And that is OK! If you want to find something you love, you need to put yourself out there—and be willing to accept not everything you try is going to be a win. Think of anything you might find interesting—whether that’s skateboarding, painting, or weight lifting—and take a class. If you like it, great! If not, cross it off the list, and move on to the next one.

It might take a few attempts to find a hobby that you love, but the key is to not give up. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you find a hobby that will change your life and your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

Send Your Future Self an Email

Did you know that there’s a website where you can send your future self an email?

There are two things that make this site interesting. One, you can write yourself an email that will be sent back to you at a future date of your choosing. You can send along whatever: encouragement, love, a kick in the pants, insights that you’re afraid you may forget, or a series of check-ins around goals you are working toward.

The second cool thing is that this site allows readers to view the letters that people are sending to themselves (anonymously of course.) So you can get your voyeurism on.

I, myself, just wrote an email telling my (future) self, the good, the bad, and the ugly of what’s going on in my life with the thought that it might be amusing later. What are you going to tell your future self? Now if only my future self would email me back…

Who Are You Really? The Power of Identity

I remember a client working in sales saying to me, ‘But I’m not a sales person.’ Imagine the affect of not identifying with what you are trying to accomplish? Another example, someone attempting to quit smoking while saying, ‘But deep down inside I’m really a smoker.’ Identity can undermine or strength goals and that’s why there’s real value in taking the time to know who you are…or who you think you are. In other words, what is the story you tell yourself about who you really are?

The challenge is that day-to-day, noticing our identity is like a fish noticing water. It’s something we are generally unconscious about. Yet, we have a sense of identity about all areas: career, relationships, the region we live in, habits and patterns, and of course, our personal self-image.

Some aspects of identity are determined by our personality, which psychologists know is in large part fixed when we are born. Other facets of identity come about as we are raised, through our relationships, and environments. There are areas of identity that we can change and there are areas we cannot. Those malleable areas can use a spring-cleaning now and again, because inevitably there are some inaccuracies within our sense of identity. This is something I work with clients around. In part, it involves looking through our beliefs about ourselves, observing the commentary running through our minds as we go about our day, and making sure these are up to date, aligned with our values, and feel authentic.

It is worth saying that if you are in a delicate emotional space or feeling tender…this is not the time to work on identity. We do this work when we feel strong or at least like we have some ground underneath us. Be good to yourself when you are doing self exploration work. If you are beating yourself up…you’ve gone off track.

A short version of this can be explored by answering the following questions for yourself. You can answer them in general and you can also apply them to a goal or a change you are attempting to make. Take out a piece of paper and begin with this simple question: Who are you? When you come up with an answer, write it down, and ask yourself again, Who are you? You can do this for quite a while seeing what comes up. Continue on with the following: What sort of person are you? What do your life aims say about who you are? What do your choices in day-to-day life say about who you are? What does your lifestyle tell others about who you are? Spend as much time on this as you desire. Who are you really? Does your life reflect this?

Think of the successful people you know. Is there any question about how they identify in the world? Do you wonder who they are? No, you know…it’s written all over them. The point is not to force ourselves into an identity. First and foremost we have to hone into our values, goals, and desires. If this sounds daunting, it’s time to get a coach who can make the process fun. Discovering all of who you really are is truly the adventure of a lifetime. You have to bring in your thinking mind but also your creative self, your body, and your heart too. Then, with these ideas in place you can work on actively developing an authentic sense of identity. One that roots you in what you want to be moving towards. An identity that matches who you are in the world, what you do, and what you deliver.

How to Find the Right Life Coach…And A Little On Working With Me

Someone once asked me how any therapist or coach earned the ability to give advice to others? I think the exact phrasing was, “What the hell gives you people the right to tell others how to live their lives?!” Obviously, this person had had a bad experience (which he went on to explain.) Our conversation outlined some things that may be helpful if you are looking for a coach or therapist.

First, I pointed out that psychologists and coaches are like people from any profession; some are better at what they do than others. For example, if you’re not satisfied with your dealings with a particular mechanic, you keep shopping around until you find a good one. I would encourage the same persistence in finding the right coach or psychotherapist. One challenge is that often people look for a practitioner when they’re already under duress. And when we’re stressed, we are not functioning at our highest skill level. Healthy people create a support network for themselves before they really need one.

Back to this person and his exasperation around therapists/coaches, let me go on record saying that telling you how to live your life or just giving advice is not how the process of one on one coaching or therapeutic sessions work.

How do they work? Each practitioner has their own style and philosophy. With me, we begin with what you want in terms of change and growth. This can start out abstract, like ‘I want to get physically healthier’ or ‘I want to move past some grief I feel stuck in,’ but eventually we discover and meet more concrete desires for yourself. Getting to know what you really want is part of the process. We all have blind spots and often our friends and family have similar blind spots. So when you work with me, you have an opportunity to see yourself more clearly.

I believe that the more you know who you really are, the more you know what you really want for your life. As I see it, you only have so much time on this planet. Consider life as a game, a fun, challenging, game. Now ask yourself, “If you were going to play full out…what would that look like?” You get to decide what game you’re playing and how you’re going to play it, so that when you come to the end of your life, you can smile and feel a sense of satisfaction about how it all went down.

Another aspect of how I work with clients has to do with the brain. Pathways form in the brain and patterns form in our lives. And be sure there is good reason for this; patterns are efficient. With them we don’t have to think through everything we do in a given day. Once we master something, we’ve got it down. Have you ever driven to work as if you were on automatic pilot without much memory of the ride itself? One could say that that drive is a worn pattern in your brain. But another feature is that we become blind to our patterns, just like a fish unaware of water. That’s why it’s helpful to do mental housekeeping now and again, just as we do spring cleaning to rid our homes of things that we don’t need anymore. This is another way I work, my clients take the time to examine some of their patterns and then create new ones that support the life they want to be living.

This brings us to change. My expertise is in change, how we change, what is going on in the brain that can support or get in the way of change. I am currently working on an eBook called How to Master the Science and Art of Change. Basically though, going to the right coach or therapist is how you get support around change and transitions. Change requires going outside our comfort zone while our natural inclination is to stay in that familiar place, even when our old pattern is no longer working for us. When you work with me, I help keep you on your right track; I help you remember what it is you really want. I give you a blueprint for success in changing those worn out patterns.

All of this happens through questions, because this is all about you and your life. I ask the questions and you have insights by looking at your life from different angles. I listen more than I talk. I’m a witness and I stand for the possibility of thriving.

If you are looking for a coach or counselor, just as you might do with other services, interview and get to know several practitioners. Stop for a moment and ask yourself, aside from even looking for a coach or a therapist…what is it you really want that you don’t already have? What do you want to learn? Then consider asking how they tend to work with that.

It’s healthy for a practitioner to have done their own growth work and this indirectly translates to their work with others. Ask them: What kind of self-work and self-exploration have you done? How does the personal work you’ve done influence how you work with clients? Whatever specific challenge or goal you are bringing as the client, you can ask the coach or practitioner how they work with that type of challenge or goal.

When you’re looking for a coach or therapist, ask friends for referrals. Look for someone you feel a connection with, a good fit, someone you can trust, also check their credentials and make sure their area of expertise matches your needs. I offer a complimentary 20-minute session to allow for this type of interview process. Most of all, shop around until you find just the right one for you.

Is It Time You Expanded? Find Out With this Dream-Like Exercise.

There are times when our conscious mind, our ego mind, can get in our way…bringing up resistance. Sometimes, this part of us defends against change in the status quo. In other words, this part can be invested in staying the same…not necessarily growing or thriving. A life coach or career coach can help you go around this, to get to what your deeper Self (some people call it “higher self“) really wants.

One way is to get into a more numinous state. Jung defined numinous as a heightened psychological state or as he would say “archetypal.” No need to get too complicated, it’s like the place we’re in when dreaming at night, where our psyche is more forefront and our critical, ego-mind is in the background, relaxing and not worrying too much about the details or logic of what’s going on. This post is a brief exercise I’ve created to bring about this deeper awareness. I invite you to relax, take a few deep breaths, tell your thinking mind it can take a little break, and allow yourself, if you choose, to float through your imagination. Here we go…

One night as you sleep, you have a dream. You are in your house having a small party with some old and new friends. Your house looks okay, but a bit unfinished. Unorganized stuff piled in a few places. Certain walls have no art or decoration. There’s a closet without a door. Some bare windows without curtains. Fine, acceptable, livable, approachable, but let’s just say, not a complete image of the abundant and nurtured (and nurturing) home. Then a woman, comfortable in her own skin, looking fit and wearing fine clothes, whom you haven’t met before, asks you if she may have a cup of tea. You bring her into your kitchen, preparing the tea, while you chat. You begin to realize that you feel connected to her, kindred spirits maybe; so you decide to show her around the rest of your home, the part that you don’t show to just anyone.

You walk from your kitchen into a corridor. From there you both glide into a part of the house, that you are at first, not aware was there… but it’s there you find yourself in a large mansion. Your large mansion. It’s as if “the dream you,” the person playing you in the dream, knows this place, but the “observer you,” the person watching the dream happen, is a little surprised. The dream goes on. You show your guest through many different, beautiful rooms. From the window you see a pool, later you show her an indoor pool and all sorts of other impressive rooms and spaces. The colors, the décor, everything is harmony. The house is vibrant, elegant, and expresses a sense of actualization.

As you awaken from your dream and find yourself reclined there in bed, nestled in your soft sheets, it occurs to you that you know that place, you’ve been there before in your dreams. Something deep inside you is resonating. You lay there thinking of the symbolic implications. Often in dreams, a house is a symbol of your whole self or your whole mind (conscious and unconscious.) In the dream, it seemed you were “living” in the more rundown or make-due part of the house and had almost forgotten that you had access to this whole other cultivated, nourished and developed residence. Sit with this image for a moment.

If a question moves you go with it…if it does not…let it fall to the wayside.
Are there areas of your life where you’re coasting, when you could access a whole other level of realization? Are there mad skills you have that are going unused? Are you blaming someone else or some other circumstances when it is actually you holding yourself back? What are some ways you can allow yourself to expand into your true self? When you were imaging the dream, what did it conjure for you?

Self Worth: A Powerful Tool in a Vibrant Life – Quiz Included

Vibrantly healthy and successful people have a sense of self worth. This self love or self-esteem is the notion that we are valuable and deserving of success, love, and respect. It’s a soft feeling of easy nurturance and caring for oneself.

Our childhood experiences play a part in what we think we are worth. If our parents had low self image, they modeled this, and soon we too felt we weren’t good enough. If we were bullied or mistreated, if our boundaries weren’t respected, if expectations were too high for our developmental level, if we were in a stressed environment, (and the list goes on) we began to believe something was wrong with us. When this happens, we can come to believe that we deserve the mistreatment and then perpetuate the belief by unconsciously choosing people and situations that continue to mistreat us.

So I am here to tell you, if you are stuck in a cycle where deep down inside you secretly know you are not good enough or worthy of good things, that deep down you aren’t like other people because you are flawed, I am here to tell you you are mistaken. It just doesn’t work that way. Life is a dance between what we are and what we can be. It’s time for you to take matters into your own hands. I challenge you to increase your self worth.

The reason it’s called self worth is because you determine it. At the end of the day, you are the one that gets to decide if you deserve respect and love…and then give it to yourself. Still, if it’s helpful in any way, let me affirm for you, just by being here on this blue turning ball in the stars: You deserve friends who are good listeners and want you to be the best you can be. You deserve to eat healthy, vibrant food that makes your body feel good. You deserve love. You deserve to have your needs met. You deserve to feel safe. You deserve to feel nourished and healthy and alive. You deserve to feel good about your body and your sexuality and the way you look.

How we value and feel about ourselves affects every area of our lives: relationships, career, parenting, and our own self-care and health. It’s powerful because it’s often unconscious and unexamined. In other words it has an influence even when you’re not aware that your self worth is playing a part.

Self worth comes across in our body language, the way we communicate, the way we carry ourselves. It plays a part in all the choices we make, who we date or choose as a partner, the goals we set or the dreams we let go.

If we suspect our self worth could use a little work, what next? Increasing self worth begins when you take an interest in yourself, when you bring awareness to the story you tell yourself about yourself. Become curious about what it really means to love yourself.

Suzanne E. Harrill is a writer and licensed counselor who has created a self esteem quiz. It’s not meant to be a precise test, think of it as a great starting point to identify areas you can strengthen. You can even use the questions as affirmations to build the muscle of self worth.

Whether you take the time to check it out or not…either way your self worth has a huge effect on your life. For some it may take a leap of faith, awkwardly saying affirmations, that at first, aren’t even believed. If you fall into this category, push through, go through the motions until you do believe in yourself. Please have the courage to be imperfect and love yourself anyway. You deserve it.