After several colleagues mentioned some new assessments tools they found helpful, I was curious to explore. With my interest in self-discovery, I wondered what they would highlight, especially now that I am numerous years outside of my corporate persona. I found the results intriguing as they didn’t quite fit the old me, and at the same time, they didn’t totally fit the new me either.
How could that be? I wondered what might explain the lack of alignment in the outcome.
Consider for a moment all of the ways in which you are still the same as you were growing up.
Now think of the ways that you have changed. It can include the impacts of changes in where you live (environment), the different career steps that you’ve taken (role), and the relationships (connection) both happy and challenging that have affected your perspective (beliefs). Now also consider how changes in our environment, our roles, our connections, and our beliefs, create experiences and shifts that we add to those from earlier in our lives. In some instances, these changes shift our sense of identity (i.e. working to retired, raising children to empty nester). At times, those shifts, lead us to a place where we integrate.. but let it go. Other times those experiences bring us full circle back to parts of ourselves left behind.
It is important to acknowledge and own our personal history, as the combination of all of our experiences make us who we are today. However, we don’t always celebrate the totality of our lives.
I remember during a merger and acquisition being told, in essence, forget about the company you came from. Why would I want to forget about the job roles and experiences that make me who I am? Just like we remember our family ancestry, our career lineage is part of our life history, too.
We may have experiences we’d like to forget but if we omit them, they become secrets which live in the shadows. Secrets have a tendency to come to light when we least expect it. Rather than pass over them, we can choose to integrate the gift or lesson in them. Consider the idea that without the spouse you divorced or the parent you distanced yourself from, you wouldn’t be who you are today.
At times we may find ourselves returning to ways we were in the past. A recent example for me relates to the wallpaper in my childhood bedroom. It had pink hearts that said I love you in different languages. By my teens, those words felt meaningless and I began to hate pink and covered the wallpaper with blue paint. It is only recently, decades later that I am back to liking pink – the color of self-love and self-acceptance.
Your past becomes entwined with the present and creates a tapestry that leads to your future. If you are finding yourself holding onto what no longer serves you, feel unclear as to where you fit moving forward, or want to omit certain family relationships or life events, please contact me for a complimentary conversation to see how transformational coaching can support you.
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