Questions are a powerful way to open up our thinking. When was the last time you sat for 30 minutes and contemplated a significant question? A question like, "Who do I want to be?"
When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be Wild Bill Hickok. Wild Bill was a legendary figure in the wild west, made famous for his stance against the McCanles family, who tried to rob Bill of his dignity and his dollars. I was so enamored with the idea of being Wild Bill that I literally wore my cowboy boots, straw hat, and two six-guns in holsters everywhere I went, for a year. I had visions of keeping bad guys on the run, making towns safe for law abiding citizens, and being just rough enough that men would respect me and women would admire me, just like they did Wild Bill.
Childhood seems to be a time where we give ourselves permission to consider the limitless possibilities of who we can become and what we can achieve. Too often, in midlife, we find ourselves stuck. Disappointed that things haven't worked out the way we planned, that life isn't as meaningful as we had once hoped, and we find ourselves discouraged by who we really are at this stage of the game. If this is where you are today, it could be you feel trapped inside a story you wished were different. It's here that most people give up or start to pretend.
Some do both. They pretend everything is good on the outside- buying things, doing things, having things, and even controlling things to try and maintain the illusion that all is well. Meanwhile, the last person they are fooling is themselves. They've given up on changing for the better and hope their secret isn't revealed to others. Have you given up? Are you pretending?
Even the most successful people can find themselves disenchanted with who they have become in life. That's what happened to me. I didn't grow into the charming, heroic figure of justice and courage I had once dreamed of becoming. In fact, I was quite the opposite. I would avoid speaking truth to protect my image and keep conversation at a surface level with others so they wouldn't find out how disappointed I was in me. I felt like I was missing something significant. I had no inspiration.
Lacking inspiration is worse than lacking motivation. Motivation gets you going, but inspiration keeps you going. What inspires you? Do you have something that propels you forward even on your worst days, the days where nothing goes right and everything goes wrong?
What I discovered is that I was allowing my external circumstances to direct my internal purpose. If things around me were peaceful and pleasant, I was peaceful and pleasant. If they were uncertain and dreary, I was uncertain and dreary. It was awful. Whipped around by things I couldn't control, I found myself backing into a corner of controlling behavior that limited my ability to see hope. I was protective and fearful. The results were miserable for those around me at work and at home. I started playing to avoid loss instead of pursuing gain. That was a problem too, I was looking at life in terms of loss and gain.
When you and I start looking at life as something to protect, we shut off the creativity and innovation that actually produces an abundant life! We weren't created for what I call scarcity thinking. Scarcity thinking is when you believe there is only so much good to be had and you are in competition with others to see who can get it first! We were created for more! We were created for abundance. Abundance thinking sees the reality that there is more good available for us all and we aren't in competition to get it. It's here that we are freed from controlling others to get what we want and start serving others. Serving them with more love, more friendship, more purpose. And, we get back so much more than we invest!
The secret to getting unstuck and diving head-long back into life, that I discovered almost a decade ago, lies in answering the question, "Who Do I Want to Become?" If you recognize you're stuck and want to break through to become the best version of yourself that you can become, I'd like to help. It takes intentionality and many times an executive coach can help you work through the process of change more effectively than you could do on your own. A good first step to transform your leadership behavior is registering for a free strategy session that I’m making available to anyone who’s committed to a journey of growth. You can take advantage of this $125 value here.
Most people look in the mirror and ask, "Who Am I?". That's a scarcity question. A question that pushes you to consider all that might have been, all that could have been, and all that should have been but isn't at this stage of your journey. How can we become more, do more, or achieve more with the mindset such a question evokes? It puts a lid on your potential by positioning your ability to change as something irrelevant, impossible, or unattainable. Which question inspires you more? Which one causes you to say, "There is more to me than what I am currently!"
Regardless of your circumstances, you can become more than you are today if you choose to focus on growing more on the inside than you are on protecting what you've obtained on the outside. If you're more concerned with not losing what you've obtained than you are with growing your character, you'll limit your potential. When you grow your character, you shift from a protection mindset to a service mindset, and you'll find a world of joy and opportunity opens up that you didn't know existed. Your character is filled with layers of unexplored opportunity for growth and when you grow you feel inspired! When was the last time you were inspired by something that didn't have a shiny coat of paint, a respectable brand name, or the praise of those you admire?
It's never to late to become the person you've always dreamed you'd be. That person lives inside you and is waiting to come out! When you focus on intentionally living out the character you know you are destined to be, the world is better and so are you.
Here's How To Answer The Question, "Who Do I Want To Become?"
W. Shane McKenzie is The Leadership Transformation Coach. He helps leaders achieve greater effectiveness and become more fulfilled in their work by facilitating positive changes in their leadership behaviors. Join the Leadership Transformation Roundtable to get your copy of the questionnaire Shane uses to discover how close his intentions match the reality of those he leads.
What others are saying about W. Shane McKenzie
"I’ve worked with Shane for several years. He possesses a unique and highly effective combination of strategy, team leader and great communicator, a rare combination. He has a very strategic mind so he makes connections and sees disjointed paths where others do not. This allows him to both plot direction and execute the path to success. He’s truly committed to the greatness in others. He listens fully, asks the right questions at the right time, and gives us the space to both think and respond." - Linda Lindquist-Bishop, Strategic Facilitator, Speaker, Exit Planning for Business Owners, and World Champion Athlete
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W. Shane McKenzie is an Executive Coach and Mentor who specializes in helping successful leaders leave their job to own a business using proven strategies to minimize risk.