Posted Date: October 23, 2013

Are You Finding Yourself or Creating Yourself?

Today I was at a coworking space in Woodbridge, NJ, owned by my friend Noelle, and I saw a magnet on the refrigerator with a striking message:

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Isn’t that powerful? Lord knows I’ve spent much of my life looking for the inner ‘me.’ Many of you have been doing the same — we’ve hired coaches, gone on retreats, gone to therapy. That’s all good, but maybe the answer is to choose a different verb.

Not find. Create.


Noelle + inspiring magnet

You could argue that I was ‘finding myself’ while hunting for speaking gigs on the side 7 years ago, looking for my nirvana in Ballroom A at the hotel in Seattle when at home my marriage was fizzling and my job was stagnating. Yet, that assumes there was something there to ‘find’ — an innate speaker, a
confident doppelgänger who, unlike his more introverted twin, was perfectly at ease charming audiences on stage and knew precisely what content would inspire them to record 4s and 5s for his presentation reviews.

No, that wasn’t it at all. I was creating myself! Would I have ‘discovered’ a knack for planning and delivering speeches had I not gone out and tried doing it? If there is any proof that I created this competency, it’s the fact that, in the early days, I got my share of 2s and 3s. Through the act of creation — building, testing, failing, practicing — did I find a passion for sharing ideas with others. Same goes for Speaking on the Side, a book I always knew I could write … but didn’t, until now.

I hope you get the implication. Don’t look for the speaker or writer or consultant inside of you. She is not there … yet.

Once you create her, though, it will seem as if she were simply a shell on the beach — always there, hidden, until the waves of everyday existence revealed her to you. Except you’ll know the truth.

Don’t find yourself. Create yourself.

Pretty powerful for a magnet on the fridge.

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