THE CONCEPT: SPEAK YOURSELF INTO THE WORLD
In our last topic, we learned how to examine the beliefs that fuel our actions and determine our outcomes, then we questioned and began to edit those beliefs in service to choice.
So many of our athletes come to us and say some version of, “I am my sport. Without it, or outside of it, I don’t really know who I am.” Can you relate?
Whether you’re facing graduation, retirement, a change in careers, or just making a decision about what to do or where to go next, you might be facing similar questions. So often, who we’ve been takes much more space in our lives than who we are and who we want to be.
Have you ever found yourself spending time with family or friends who you don’t see very often, and they relate to you – or describe you – in ways that no longer fit? Like, the second cousin who you see once a year at the family reunion who always introduces you as the kid who threw the no-hitter (back in 1995!!). And you smile politely, but think, “I’m actually a volleyball player and haven’t played softball in 15 years!” Or the family friend who says, “Oh, I remember how much you liked playing house when you were little, we just know you’ll be a great mom someday!” And you think, “I’ve decided not to have kids.”
These are pretty blatant examples of the ways that others relate to outdated versions of ourselves. But what about how we relate to ourselves? Have you ever stopped to take stock of how you describe yourself? What are the things that you say about yourself that might be defining yourself in outdated or unhelpful ways?
If you’re feeling like your whole life is your sport or your job, start noticing who you’re talking to, and what you’re talking about. Take stock of where you spend your time. Are you leaving enough space to think about, talk about, and try other things?
In his book, Language and the Pursuit of Happiness, Chalmers Brothers asserts that language is generative. In essence, that we speak ourselves into the world. Meaning, we become who we say we are, and generally do what we say we’re going to do.
Here’s the good news: moving away from being stuck, and toward change in this domain is very simple. Not easy, but it’s simple. You must get clear on what’s true now, and what you want in the future. Then, let go of talking about who you’ve been and begin talking about yourself in ways that illustrate who you’re becoming.
If you sense a change is coming, try speaking it out loud. Even if it feels uncomfortable, or you’re still unsure, you might be surprised by what you hear, and therefore, who you become.
Click on the image below to download this topic’s worksheet. The exercise will walk you through the process of choosing and defining your own personal core values.