What am I? Who are you? I know how we respond to these queries– by listing our activities, professions and accomplishments. For a partial list– I am a pragmatic Human Resources Consultant, somewhat decent yet out of practice artist, wife of awesome Gary, soon to be mother, previously fairly successful in academics and elite amateur triathlete. You can come up with your own list that’s similar. Go ahead, make it nice and long. Try it on for size. How does it feel? Is that all you are? That’s not all I am.
I started thinking about this issue after reading Michelle Malay Carter’s recent blog post titled, If I’m Not What I Do Who Am I? Somehow, I don’t feel satisfied with my identity being only what I’m doing now and have accomplished thus far in the past 37 years and 10 months. That seems too limiting. In my mind, I know I’m capable of much more. This much more is part of who I am too. But that’s not all, because if I really think about what I’m capable of, I get the sense there’s more there than I’m aware of now, here, from where I sit today. How could I see all that’s in store for me from my current and limited point of view? I can’t see it all, but that doesn’t prevent my strong sense that all that unnamed potential is part of who I am today too. All these things are who I am. You too, and I think that’s a great way to self-identify.
If you are all the things you’ve done, are doing, know you can do and might possibly do but don’t realize it yet, then any time you don’t meet your immediate goals it doesn’t mean anything except that you haven’t done it yet. It doesn’t make you less than what you were, because what you are is so much more than what you’ve accomplished so far. You tracking with me on this? You’re only as good as your last race, they say, but that’s just a marketing thing. It carries no real meaning.
One more thought about that unamed potential. Sometimes, often, the unamed potential is completely different than what we could have ever guessed. I’m sure you could name several instances where this has happened in your life already. Stay open to those possibilities. Don’t short change yourself. You are much more than you ever realized. Revel in it.