Wednesday, January 20, 2010

6 Ways to Remember Who the Heck You Are

Today is day 3,367 of wearing a nametag 24-7.

That’s going on ten years, just in case you were doing the math.

Anyway, while drinking tea at Starbucks yesterday afternoon when I should have been working, something occurred to me.

One of the most common reactions to my nametag is, and has always been, the following joke:

“Hey Scott, do you wear that nametag to remember who you are?”

I know. Everyone’s a comedian, right?

And the best part is, everybody thinks that’s, like, the funniest joke on the planet.

Now, admittedly, that is kind of funny. It still makes me chuckle, even after ten years.

But what’s fascinating is that it wasn’t until recently – 3,367 days later – that I finally realized the poignancy of that comment.

“Hey Scott, do you wear that nametag to remember who you are?”

Well, YEAH.

In fact, now that I think about it, that’s exactly why I wear a nametag every day.

Because sometimes it’s easy to forget who you are.

Sometimes you get SO wrapped in:

Who you think you are…
Who other people think you are…
Who other people want you to be…
Who you want other people to think you are….

…That you overlook your own truth.

This is not good for business. This is not good for anything.

What I’d like to share today is a series of practices to help you remember who you are.

The cool part is, you don’t need a nametag.

Only your willingness to get very honest with yourself paired with the knowledge that taking this step toward your truth will ultimately make your – and the lives of the people you touch and service – better.

1. Never miss your daily appointment with yourself. I attribute 83% of my overall life success to the following practice: Since the day I graduated college, I discipline myself to spend thirty to forty-fives minutes a day … just on me.

No matter how busy I get. No matter how tired I am. No matter whom I’m traveling with. Never miss it. My daily appointment combines breathing exercises, self-hypnosis/guided imagery, goal setting, journaling, affirmations and other personal development components.

It’s a ritual revisitation of my values, personal constitution, theory of the universe and belief system. Your challenge is to design a practice that suits your preferences, passions and schedule.

Remember: Don’t use your situation as an excuse to NOT do it. Doesn’t matter how you do it – only THAT you do it. When was the last time you took time, every day, just for you?

2. Act expressively, not instrumentally. On of my favorite writers, Parker Palmer, defines the distinction between these two modalities in his book The Active Life:

“Acting instrumentally means taking action as a means to an end or to achieve an outside goal. This diminishes your capacity to take the risks that yield growth. Acting expressively means taking action to express a conviction or inner truth. This produces outcomes that are true to the field of action.”

Your mission is to allow expression to flow unhindered and unencumbered. In whatever capacities work best for you. For example, I constantly ask myself, “What did you write today?” as helpful self-reminder. Do you have the discipline to act with unrelenting single-mindedness?

3. Remember who you AREN’T. Deciding what you want by the process of elimination is less threatening and intimidating. I call this “Defining the Whitespace.” In the same way that an illustrator examines the area around his drawing, your mission is to explore your boundaries. Where you end.

The red line that, if crossed, means that you are no longer you. Ultimately, by becoming aware of all the places in your life in which you’re NOT present – and by becoming aware of how you inhibit and resist your natural state – you’ll come into greater truth about your identity. Who (aren’t) you?

4. Rely on your intuitive faculties. Sometimes remembering who you are means opening yourself to bring forth inner guidance that will help you understand yourself with greater clarity. This is easier said than done, of course. And in my experience, the best practice for doing so is to put yourself in situations that demand total presence.

Personally, I use yoga, writing, meditation and guitar playing. Find what works for you. The point is: Total presence allows you to stop and listen to the voice of your true self. Even if you don’t like what it has to say. You listen anyway.

After all, listening is a form loving. And as George Washington Carver once said, “There is nothing that will not reveal its secrets if you love it enough.” Who murdered your intuition?

5. Travel back in time. Kids rarely forget who they are because they don’t have a “backstage” yet. Somewhere around adolescence, however, most people develop two separate selves: Their onstage performance (based on what their ego thinks they should be) and their backstage reality (based on what their core already IS and has always been).

In order to be the person on the outside that you are on the inside, think back to when you were a kid. Ask yourself:

*What have you (historically) done when you noticed stress in your life?
*What did you used to do for hours with absolutely concentration and enthusiasm that your mom had to drag you away from to come to dinner?

Assemble a preponderance of data. You’ll remind yourself who you are in no time at all. Where is your territory?

6. Stick yourself out there. George Carlin once said, “You’ve got to get up in front of people every day of your life or you’ll never learn who you are.” Also, as Sidney Jourard explained in The Transparent Self:

“No man can come to know himself except as a outcome of disclosing himself to another person. When a person has been able to disclose himself utterly to another person, he learns how to increase his contact with his real self, and he may then be better able to direct his destiny on the basis of knowledge.”

So, what you are shows up in everything you do. Your mission is to look for it AND be proud of it when you find it. Like Jeff Buckley sang in Mojo Pin, “Be not ashamed of what you are.” When you stick yourself out there, do you spy on yourself as you do so?

REMEMBER: It's easy to forget who you are.

Apply these ideas into your world and start remembering today!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What processes will you use to return to your truth?

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For the list called, "24 Ways to Out GROW Your Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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