Why the advice to "just be yourself" is misguided
Have you ever been given the advice to “just be yourself”?
It seems like such well-meaning, wise advice.
But I think it’s misguided.
Here’s why I think it can lead us astray:
- The suggestion to “just be yourself" leads us to search for who we are as if it’s already determined, when in reality it's constantly being formed, moment by moment.
- It also leads us to to focus on the past looking for clues and patterns in how we have behaved prior to that moment, rather than considering what we might aspire to be like in the future.
Instead I have found it is far more useful to consider, “who do you want to be?"
This encourages you to be the captain of your own ship as it were. Take the reigns. Choose your own direction. Take full responsibility for who you are being from this point forward.
You have the power to choose in every moment (from an infinite array of choices) who and how you want to be: calm, observant, powerful, curious, kind.
Whether with a coach or on your own, I encourage you to go through the process of articulating your core values, your personal purpose statement and the legacy you want to leave behind. Having clarity on each of these allows them to serve as your personal compass in every area of your life.
To see if you're on track, you can simply check in with yourself, “Is this in line with my values? Does this bring me closer to fulfilling the purpose I’ve defined for myself? Does it contribute to the legacy I want to leave?"
Start today. Become the person you want to be. Make the impact you want to make.