Do you ever ask the questions, “Who am I” or “what should I do?”
This morning something sparked a memory from 3 years ago. I was in a conference room at a hotel near LAX Airport. There was a very well known and respected speaker conducting a workshop.
This teacher has a remarkable gift for picking someone out of a crowd and telling that person about him or her self. He can rattle off things about their temperament, buying habits, decision making style and even their relationship with food. I was fascinated.
All of us in the room were excited for our mentor to share his secret. He promised to teach us how we, too, could read others, with ease, so accurately.
We had guidebooks illustrating body shapes, facial structure and coinciding personality traits.
Our classroom was made up of approximately 100 people. We sat at round tables in groups of 8 or 10. The stage was behind me, so I turned my chair into the aisle to face the front of the room. In fact, as the speaker strolled around the room to demonstrate this skill, I purposefully positioned my chair in his path! He had to navigate around me. We made eye contact several times, but he kept moving passed me.
I really wanted him to pick me, to read me, to tell me who I was. I sensed him pause, then just keep walking.
He guided us through the manual describing each illustration, corresponding characteristics and personalities. I made notes. I easily identified myself and people I knew on each page. Yet, I wanted to hear the expert tell me who he thought I was.
I was determined to have him “read” me!
At the end of the session I waited in line to speak with him. Time was running out. The class had paused for lunch. I was not leaving that room until I asked my question. “Who am I?” I wanted to know what he knew, on sight, about me.
It was my turn. I asked the question and waited for his reply. The teacher paused. He scanned me from head to toe, but focused mostly on my face. He thought for a few moments, then gave me his answer.
As he shared his assessment, I stood stunned. The personality types I had claimed in my guidebook were not at all the person he saw or described.
I was really upset. I went back to my empty table and looked again at the pictures and tendencies. I cried. Oh my gosh, this is what he sees? This is who I am? He’s a fraud! He’s wrong! Yada, yada, yada.
I skipped lunch. Instead I went outside to warm my face in the Southern California sunshine. While I sat in quiet contemplation, my inner voice spoke, patiently yet firmly, words that now resonate frequently in my mind. “Why are you asking someone else? YOU know who you are. You know what you need to do. Your heart knows. Listen to your heart.”
How often do we allow ourselves to get side-tracked by listening to and believing what others say or think? All too frequently we assume ownership of a label or identity given to us by another person. We believe there’s someone else with the right answer….for us.
When their words don’t feel comfortable, when that little sensation in your body says “Hmmm, that doesn’t feel good.”, consider it wisely.
The brilliant Earl Nightingale spoke on the subject of self confidence in a story he called The Belief Button.
“We are, however, so full of doubts; we are so suspicious of our own abilities under normal circumstances that we operate far below our capabilities.”
While what someone else has to say may give us food for thought, the right answer is already within us.
I was in that room to learn. I did learn, but the lessen was not the one I expected!
I believe you know the answer to the questions you’ve been asking. Sit quietly and ask the question, then listen patiently, confidently, for the response from your heart and soul.
“…let our hearts lead the way for all of the answers we seek live within-all we have to do is listen.”
You do know, don’t you? Great. Hit that Easy Button! Trust yourself. You are amazing!
Have a fantastic day.