3 questions to answer for an authentic and successful life: Part 1 – Who am I?By Shuying KeMar 09, 2016
To live an authentic and successful life, we must answer 3 questions:
The questions are by no means trivial, and the answers by no means obvious. We can begin to uncover deeper and truer answers for ourselves through the 3 main forms of work we do at Live Your Mark. In the first instalment of this 3-part introduction to the work we do, we explain Impression Work and how it can lead you to answer the question, “Who am I?”
When I ask you, “Who are you?”, what do you think of? You may start defining yourself based on your roles or affiliations e.g. your job, your country, your family, your gender, etc. Then you may start describing aspects of your personality: you’re hardworking, outgoing, funny, loving, and so on. Then you may go deeper still and talk about the basic fears and desires that drive most of your behaviours e.g. fear of abandonment, fear of powerlessness, desire to be safe, desire to be valued, just to name a few.
As you inquire into the nature of self, did you ever stop to wonder – where do my personality traits come from? Why am I gregarious, while that person is sullen? Why do some people seek adventure while others seek security? Could I be more than these compulsions that drive me?
Our core qualities get formed when we are about 6 months to 10 years of age. Dominant personality traits are formed through certain significant experiences from our childhood.
For example, little Timmy is colouring with crayons. He accidentally colours outside the lines. His mother reprimands him. Little Timmy, confused and afraid, now has a negative association with making mistakes. From then on, he makes sure he is always right and always follows the rules. If more such incidents happen in his development phase, Timmy may develop a fear of being wrong. He may grow up to be cautious and perfectionistic.
As we grow from baby, to child, to teenager, and finally to adult, there are significant incidents that make an impact on us. These incidents may form positive or negative impressions on us. Sometimes the impressions are so strong that we block out a part of our essential qualities. Impression Work frees us from the effects of the past.
Timmy may actually be creative and playful at heart. It was only through unpleasant experiences that he developed a perfectionistic and cautious personality, a response to protect himself from further hurt.
As an adult, Tim may need to call upon his creativity and playfulness. Imagine if he grew up to become CEO of a business. Perfectionism and obedience may have gotten him so far, but what he needs now are insight and creativity in driving innovation.
Tim’s impressions cause him to be quite cautious in approaching life situations. This conditioning resides in his subconscious or unconscious, and he is not even aware he has these behavioural patterns. Instead of seeing a situation for what it really is, he reacts according to the filter he has built up over the years, making him risk-averse when it may actually pay off to be opportunistic.
Do you notice something similar in yourself? Have there been aspects of your personality you always thought defined you? Some of these traits may have pushed you forward in life (e.g. diligence, curiosity), while others may have limited your growth (e.g. laziness, shyness). Maybe you are an introvert, but now that you are leading a team, you need to be more sociable and assertive. Or you could be an aggressive go-getter, but now you are a parent, which calls for a more nurturing side of you. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these qualities; they may just not be suitable for dealing with the full breadth of life experiences.
Impression Work uncovers your patterns and lessens their impact on you, such that you are free to choose based on options in the present instead of conditions of the past. You can then adapt to the environment and take advantage of opportunities that come along. At the same time, should anything adverse happen, you are also able to handle the situation.
At Live Your Mark, we focus on undoing the effect that past incidents have on the present. We go to the source of the pattern and tackle issues at the root. That is where you are able to let go and make a new choice rather than allowing old patterns to run you.
When you are no longer run by old habits and patterns of the past, your real self begins to emerge. The essence of Impression Work is Freedom. Unencumbered by the fetters of the past, you become free to choose, free to respond, and free to be.
To find out more about Impression Work, you may wish to attend a life coaching preview to hear from an experienced coach.
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