Sometimes when I’m about to take a big risk, go for something important, or “step out” in a bold way in my life, I notice the judgmental question, “Who do you think you are?, will pop up in my head. Does this ever happen to you?
This is one of the many ways that the feelings of “not good enough” or “unworthy” show up in our lives and get in the way of our success, fulfillment, and authenticity. Sadly, as most of us know, this question doesn’t come from our true self; it comes from our “Gremlin” – that little monster in our head whose only job is to keep us out of perceived danger. The more we listen to our Gremlin, the more allow him or her to sabotage our life.
However, this question, “Who do you think you are?, while often asked in a negative, critical way and something that we allow to stop us from doing, saying, and going for important things in life – is also a very important question for us to ask and answer honestly. When we look at it on deeper level, we see that our answer to this question has a lot to do with how we experience life, in general.
How life is for us has a lot less to do with our circumstances or situations, and much more to do with how we relate to them and ultimately the thoughts we have. Some of the most powerful thoughts we think and the ones that have the most impact on us are the thoughts we have about ourselves (i.e. who we think we are).
Each of us has a “story” about ourselves and our lives. These stories are often dramatic, funny, scary, inspiring, sad, intense, boring, enjoyable, tragic, and more (usually a combination of many of these things). In most cases, the story we have about ourselves changes a bit – depending on how we’re feeling about life and ourselves at any given time.
One of the things we sometimes forget, however, is that we’re the author of the story of our life – not simply the main character. We often think that our story has to do with all of the things that have “happened” to us, the qualities we were born with or have cultivated, the stuff we’ve done or haven’t done yet, etc. But, when we remember that our story is a function of our thoughts, most specifically the thoughts we have about ourselves, we can be empowered to consciously transform not just our “story,” but our life as a whole.
Here are a few things to think about and do to enhance your thoughts about yourself, and therefore enhance your experience of life:
1) Notice when your feelings of “not good enough” or “unworthy” show up – In other words, pay attention to when the question, “Who do you think you are?” stops you in your tracks and takes you out of the game of your life. As we’re able to notice this, be honest about, and have some compassion for ourselves, we can take our power back from our Gremlin in those moments and step more fully into who we really are.
2) Ask yourself more deeply, “Who do you think you are?” – Go deeper with this question, beyond the judgment and really inquiry into how you relate to yourself. What’s your story? The more honest we can be about the story we have about ourselves, the easier it is for us to acknowledge it, own it, and ultimately change it. Remember, these stories are not “true,” they are simply our interpretations, judgments, and beliefs. We created them, so we have the power to transform them at any time.
3) Upgrade your “story” about yourself – In the specific areas of your life where your story is not empowering, inspiring, or fulfilling – see if you’re willing and able to “upgrade” it in an authentic way. This basically means we change our thoughts, words, and feelings about it, genuinely. Because we often get so attached to our stories and tend to defend them passionately, this “upgrading” process can be challenging for many of us. It sometimes takes support, feedback, and coaching from others in order for us to move beyond our story and remember that we have the power to upgrade it whenever we’re ready.
Who we think we are is one of the most foundational aspects of how we relate to life and ourselves. As Henry Ford said in his famous quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This simple quote is so wise and profound. And, whether we think we’re great or we’re not, we’re always “right” – it’s a function of who we truly think we are.
Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com