Who Are You Meant to Be?: A Groundbreaking Step-by-Step Process for Discovering and Fulfilling Your True Potential

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9781402274008: Who Are You Meant to Be?: A Groundbreaking Step-by-Step Process for Discovering and Fulfilling Your True Potential
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Find Out Who You Really Are

Who Are You Meant to Be? is an energetic, step-by-step program that helps you move from surviving to thriving. Integrating recent breakthroughs in brain science with a fresh take on how your personality affects your behavior, this book provides a clear roadmap, based on your brain, to break patterns of behavior that get in your way.

This Book:

·Provides insight into how you can use the abilities you were born with to achieve what you were born for.
·Discusses eight personality Styles through highly entertaining and transformative stories.
·Allows you to identify which Style is truest to you, and how it influences your behavior

Too many of us live on autopilot, just trying to make it through the day. Who Are You Meant to Be? offers a way to put us in the driver's seat of our lives, providing a brand-new approach to living authentically and achieving our potential. It's a must have for anyone wanting to understand themselves and others in order to live a more satisfying, fulfilling life.

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE

THE WAY WE LIVE

Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.

―John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

THINK OF A TIME when you truly felt connected to yourself. You knew what you were aiming for, knew you were on target, knew what you needed, and had a plan to get it. All the while, you were brimming with passion about the whole enterprise. You were fully engaged, working with strong determination and purposefulness. You were infused with a feeling of well-being and power. If you’ve ever experienced this feeling, even for a short time, you have a sense of what it means to live authentically as who you are meant to be. It’s a wonderful feeling―like driving a finely tuned race car on a smooth track with the finish line clearly in your sights. But for most of us, the better-fitting analogy is white knuckling the wheel of a sputtering old jalopy, hanging on for dear life as we bounce over an endless series of potholes toward an uncertain destination.

Too often, we try to figure out what we are meant to be (good mother, loving husband, dutiful son) or what we are meant to do (scientist, teacher, engineer) without really knowing who we are. In other words, we get in the car and drive with only a vague notion of where we are going or why. We seem to define ourselves and live our lives from the outside in, looking outside for answers to questions that can only be answered from within. This approach leads to a lack of self-knowledge and self-awareness and is one of the reasons that so many of us suffer from anxiety, depression, addictions, and other problems. And even if we see our lives as moving along fairly well (maybe not like a high-performance race car, but not like a bucket of bolts either), imagine the benefit we could enjoy if we had an “owner’s manual” that could show us how to prevent some of our most frustrating situations and how to stay tuned up and running more smoothly. Imagine that there was a Roadmap to help you emerge as the person you are meant to be. Well, here it is!

Who Are You Meant to Be? is for everyone who wants to thrive―to step up and face the challenges of living life authentically, feeling the power that comes from living unafraid to be themselves. However, doing so doesn’t mean that we have to drop out of society. The Striving Styles help us understand what it means to live our life authentically and thrive as a result. This book can be of benefit to everyone. It helped a nine-year-old girl learn at school rather than being labeled “unfocused” and “rebellious”; it helped the couple who stopped fighting and blaming each other for their unhappiness and started working together to create a more loving relationship; it helped the employee who stopped complaining about work and asked for a transfer when he realized that his job was not meeting his needs; and it helped the leader who was no longer afraid to hold his employees accountable and stopped hiding out in his office. It has the potential to help every one of us who has ever felt empty, has been afraid to show who we are, has been dissatisfied with a career or relationship, or has been simply living anything less than our potential.

Life on Autopilot

There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.

―Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins

With all the advances that have been made in understanding the human brain, and the hundreds of volumes that have been written on the ins and outs of personality, emotions, and behavior, how can it be that most of us know more about the basic features of our televisions or computers than we do about our own thoughts and feelings? A quick scan of the self-help section of any bookstore confirms it: we have more information at our fingertips on how to create the life we are meant to live than we could ever read in a lifetime. We read the information―some of us obsessively―yet few of us actually use it to make significant changes in our lives. Ironic, isn’t it, that in a culture so attached to the success of the individual, we walk right past the opportunity to get into the race car and instead climb behind the wheel of the jalopy again and again, going down the same dead ends and making the same wrong turns?

Often, we don’t even know there’s a problem. If we don’t love our jobs, if we feel stifled in a relationship, if we get impatient with those we love, or if we just have a restlessness we can’t quite define, we may write it off as “normal.” But the truth is that most of us don’t understand our own needs, feelings, and habits of mind very well, so we sabotage ourselves by living life at less than full throttle. Over time, we may accept this compromised situation as living, when, unknown to us, all we are really doing is surviving.

When we feel insecure or indecisive, we don’t seem to have the skills and capacity to look inward for answers, or we are too afraid or embarrassed to seek help. We often end up with some degree of persistent, unfocused anxiety about ourselves. We keep pushing ourselves to do more and have more or are in pursuit of a perfect state of being that always seems to elude us. We live our lives on autopilot doing what is expected of us because we are too afraid we will disappoint or upset others should we reveal our human qualities or perceived limitations.

Take Suzanne as an example.

Suzanne is a working mother who spends whatever free time she has with her three young children. She has regular evening and bedtime routines with the kids because she read that this was important to their development. She has little time with her husband and even less to spend on herself.

Although she had never been much of a crafter, she felt pressured to accept a request by her youngest child’s teacher to plan and set up a large bulletin board display for Halloween. Despite not having the time or inclination to do this, she didn’t feel that she could say no. Suzanne felt increasingly panicked and resentful as Halloween drew closer. During the entire week before she delivered the bulletin board, she lost her patience with the kids and toiled away on the project as her husband made dinner and carried out the pre-bedtime rituals without her. In spite of being an early-to-bed sort of person, she stayed up well past midnight on the final night to finish. When she saw the final product, all she could think of was how someone else could have done it better.

Like Suzanne, we can get so caught up trying to do what others expect of us that we become a “human doing,” stretching ourselves so thin that we end up running on empty. We make decisions that are inconsistent with our own values, and we forget that we have a self to take care of. We don’t always think of the consequences of this, and if we do, those thoughts probably come in the form of negative self-talk. For example, “Why did I say that I would help Ted move? I am so stupid. My wife is going to be so angry with me. I keep doing the same thing over and over again. When am I ever going to learn? I am hopeless.” This type of self-talk only serves to make us feel defeated as we go from activity to activity, without awareness of the price we pay when we are just surviving our day-to-day lives.

Why do we stretch ourselves beyond all reasonable limitations or repeatedly fail to say what we really want? Simply put, we do it out of fear for the way it will make us or someone else feel. We let our fear define and decide what experiences we will have and what we will say, because we are afraid of stirring up emotions in others or ourselves. We don’t want to risk causing those whose love and approval we desire to feel disappointment, frustration, or anger when we fail to meet their expectations. We are also afraid of the feelings we might have―such as anxiety, embarrassment, or shame―when we don’t measure up to our own expectations. We adapt excessively, looking outside of ourselves to let us know who we should be and how we should act.

Looking Outside of Ourselves for the Answers

You can succeed if nobody else believes it, but you will never succeed if you don’t believe in yourself.

―William J. H. Boetcker

Looking outside of ourselves to get to know who we are or who we should be doesn’t make sense. It’s like looking through an open window when what we really need is a mirror. When we depend on others’ approval to determine what we will do with our lives, we live in a narrow, distorted version of ourselves. The same thing happens when we compare ourselves to others. We don’t realize how much we weaken our self-esteem by making these comparisons, as they tend to make our own perceived shortcomings appear even worse. Whenever we look outside for acceptance and approval, we move further away from our true nature and become more and more dependent on others to validate us. Asking others who they think we are meant to be is like calling out through the open window, saying, “I’m searching for myself. Have you seen me anywhere?”

Too often, the way we come to realize that we aren’t traveling on our own path or we are failing to meet our potential is that we finally get tired of listening to ourselves complain and we start doing something about our situation. We might also wake up to the fact that we’ve been waiting for something or someone else to change, believing that this will allow us to have the life we really want. Some of us hit a life crisis, such as a divorce, children leaving home, or losing a job we hated anyway, before we take stock of ourselves and how much we have denied ourselves in order to feel safe and accepted by others. “I should have gone back to school,” “I don’t know why it took me so long to leave that man,” or in Suzanne’s case, “Why can’t I ever just say no?” These are common statements from people who are stuck on the bumpy back roads of life, unable to find the route to the true home within themselves. Regrets abound when these people reach their later years and recognize that they have been too afraid to do anything other than what was expected of them. Even when they do get in touch with what they want to do to fulfill their potential, they may still sabotage themselves by believing that they are too old or that it’s too late!

Bonnie Ware has written a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. This book is significant, as it shows how people feel when they don’t live their lives as the person they were meant to be. People are not born to regret not having really lived their lives authentically, yet many do just that. Unfortunately, it’s often not until later in life that they realize they have lived the life others expected them to because they didn’t have the courage to live a life true to themselves. They look at their wasted potential, all of the things that they failed to do, and the dreams they didn’t make come true because of their choices. People also regret working so hard to avoid conflict with others and wish they’d had the courage to express their emotions. They regret not letting themselves be happier because they wouldn’t believe, or they never learned that happiness is a choice. Instead, they got stuck using automatic negative patterns of thinking and habits of mind. Living in fear, they survived by pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were okay. They lived their life on automatic pilot, adapting instead of thriving.

Whether we realize it or not, fear is the greatest barrier to achieving our potential. Fear is aroused when we feel threatened, whether the threat is real or imagined, and it is a nervous system response to some stimulus. It doesn’t matter whether we care to admit our fear, fear is a response designed to let us know when something will take us out of our physical or emotional safety zone. We are hardwired to survive, and fear is the early warning system that our survival (physical or psychological) is being threatened. For example, how often has something like this happened to you?

Mike’s boss asked him to come to her office. He immediately felt his stomach clench, as his mind wildly raced over everything he might have done wrong or failed to deliver on time. By the time he got to her office, his breath was shallow and his palms were sweating. He stood nervously waiting to be told the inevitable bad news. The boss invited Mike to sit down, and said she wanted to ask him whether he was interested in working on a special project with her that required his particular skill set. Without asking―or even thinking―about project specifics or his own interests and needs, Mike said yes simply because he was enormously relieved that he wasn’t in trouble.

When we live life in survival mode, depending on others to like and approve of us in order to feel okay about ourselves, we are poised to react from fear, catastrophizing about worst-case scenarios, rather than from the confident core of who we really are―our authentic self. But most of the time, we don’t know that we are just surviving. We live life on automatic pilot, never questioning events such as the one in Mike’s example. We think these situations are normal because everyone else seems to experience them; however, this is not the case. We can lift ourselves above the fear and actually thrive in our life.

Growing up in a society that encourages us to not need anyone, we try really hard to pretend that we don’t, despite that need being an authentic human quality. In fact, we learn that not needing anybody is an admirable quality. We take pride in being insensitive toward ourselves and others, working hard to not let on that we feel anything. Should we be upset or need sympathy or reassurance, we call ourselves “needy” and scold ourselves. Here’s an example of how this shows up in daily life.

Selma was communicating sympathy to her son-in-law, Percy, following the loss of his father. Percy had always been close to his dad, and Selma knew how difficult the loss of his father must be for Percy. Much to Selma’s surprise, he replied, “It’s fine. He had a good run.” Selma was appalled at Percy’s insensitivity and lack of emotion. During the following months, he gained thirty-five pounds and sunk into a depression, which he worked hard to cover up with false joviality and a lot of good wine.

Percy was not connected to himself; instead, he was behaving the way he thought others expected him to behave. In his mind, he was being rational and strong, cutting himself off from expressing his emotions. It took him several months of therapy to start to glimpse the need to express himself authentically, and to release the pain he had buried for most of his life.

Learning to Survive

You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it.

―Ken Keyes Jr.

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