Episode 42: Who You Really Are
I’m Hannah Coles and you are listening to The Confidence Catalyst Podcast episode 42: Who You Really Are
Personality tests are fun and claim to reveal who you REALLY are after answering their short questionnaire. But what if everything we thought we knew about personality wasn’t exactly accurate? We say things like, “I’m just not that kind of person”, “I could never…”, or “they’re just rude”. We have to be careful of these labels because once we label other people or ourselves our brain will use that filter so that’s all we’ll see. What if our brain is wrong? What if that’s not who we really are after all? Tune in this week to hear all about who you REALLY are and what personality really is.
Hello and welcome back to another episode! Before we dive in I just want to tell you about what’s coming up in the Catalyst Membership this coming month. We are devoting all of March to learning how to not care what other people think. This is huge for so many of us because we have deeply rooted beliefs and fears about what other people think, how they might be judging us, and so we conform ourselves to trying to be perfect. If we can be perfect and not make any mistakes then no one can judge us. But this creates a whole slew of problems and unnecessary stress, anxiety, fear, and insecurities.
If you’re prone to overthink, or you’re constantly saying yes to things you don’t really want to do, or you second guess yourself, you worry and wonder if you have any real friends, if avoid doing things you really want to because you’re afraid of failing then I want to invite you to join us in the membership. It’s amazing and will absolutely up-level your life. Come join us go to members.thecatalystcoaching.com and be ready to hit the ground running.
Let’s dive into today’s topic. I want to introduce you to a concept that completely changed me. I want to talk about personality today. We’re pretty good at defining our personality and who we think we are or who we’re not. We hear people and ourselves say things like, “oh I’m just not a… person”. I’m not a morning person. I’m not a math person. I could never do that. Or I’m just a night owl. I’ve never been a big reader. And the list goes on and on, right?
I want to ask you a couple of questions and I encourage you to pause this podcast to answer these for yourself, okay?
1.) Who are you?
I was asked this once and it completely threw me. My mind flooded with possible answers but I didn’t even answer because I was too concerned with finding the “right” answer. Do I say, “I’m a child of God”? I’m a Mom? What are they looking for here?
So I know you’re probably thinking the same thing but you’re not on the spot. There are no right or wrong answers. Just for yourself, who are you?
2.) Next question, Tell me about yourself – not a question so much as a directive and this is one we get asked when we meet new people and I feel like we should be prepared for this one but we never are and we fumble again with what to say. We actually just attended a meeting with a panel of 9-10 people and that request was given to the panelists and the first person started with, this is my name. This is who I’m married to and this is how many kids I have. Which yes, gives us factual information about them but not a whole lot about them as an individual. So, dig deeper when you answer this for yourself. Out of all the things that make you you – what do you want people to know about you? What’s interesting about you? What are you passionate about? What do love? What do you not love?
These questions are important because what we tell ourselves, how we see ourselves is what we become. I have a dear friend who is a genius in mathematics. I just assumed that she was “born with it” – thanks Mabeline and that it just came naturally to her. So imagine my surprise when one afternoon when she told me that she struggled with math all growing up and all through high school. I was shocked because at the time I just believed that you either ARE a math person or you’re not. For the majority of my life, I believed I was the latter. So I asked her, “What changed?” And her reply was just incredible. I’m paraphrasing how I remember the conversation but she said something to the effect of, “I was tired of struggling with this and having this beat me so I got help, I worked hard. I went to office hours. I hired a tutor. I struggled until I didn’t struggle anymore. Then I learned to love math. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a math person but rather I just didn’t understand it.”
And I think this is what’s so remarkable and what I want to talk to you all about today because we are what we believe we are.
James Allen wrote, “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts”
Many of us struggle with our personality or who we are or more accurately who we’re not. I know for me personally before life coaching I struggled that other people just seemed to have character traits that I didn’t and didn’t believe that I could have. I really struggled with what I believed I lacked. I would look up to many of my heroes and be sad that I didn’t have what they did. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be loving, so loving like Mother Teresa but then I remembered that I snapped at my kids because the house was a mess and I’d think, “why can’t I be like them? Why can’t I have what they have?”
I really believed that it just wasn’t my personality. I didn’t know how they did it, just that they were probably born that way or that’s just who they are. And this whole line of thinking is so disempowering and contrary to what we know about our agency. I do believe that we are born with specific attributes and talents and gifts. These things we brought with us. So some people are more naturally giving, patient, ambitious, confident but that doesn’t mean that we can’t develop these as well.
George Q. Cannon once said, “We are the children of God, and as His children, there is no attribute we ascribe to Him that we do not possess, though they may be dormant… Our mission…is to develop these powers and make us like our Heavenly Parent.”
When you think of Heavenly Father, it’s important to know what you think of Him and about Him. In the scriptures, we read that he’s Omnipotent, All-mighty, All-powerful.
What changes for you when you think about President Cannon’s statement that as His child you hold every single attribute ascribed to Him, though they may lie dormant? Dormant isn’t non-existent. It’s an invitation to develop the things we think we lack.
There are a lot of studies and theories about what personality is and I want to just add my take on this. We know that our brains can be re-wired. We can thankfully become a new being over and over again. We can grow, up-level ourselves and become who we want to become.
What if your personality was simply what you believe you are?
Notice how this belief plays in our model:
C: I am a human being – That’s factual, provable.
T: I’m not a morning person.
When I think and believe this thought my brain is like, “oh, okay. That’s what we are.”
Then think about what actions you’re taking or not taking. When an invitation comes to do something in the morning, you probably going to turn in down because you’re not a morning person. Listen, if it were later in the day, sure, but I’m just not a morning person. Or when the alarm goes off you might groan and struggle to get out of bed because you’re not a morning person. Your brain is amazing and will go to work finding evidence to prove this true and the result that you’ve created is that you’ve just solidified the belief that you aren’t a morning person. And you could argue that it’s true because you are what you believe you are.
I love that we’re not something until we are. It’s like all the inventions. There wasn’t a car until there was. We couldn’t fly until we could. We didn’t have a smartphone, until we did. Everything that is here, that we take advantage of wasn’t a thing until it was.
You might not believe you’re a morning person. You might not believe you’re a patient person. And it’ll be true until it’s not. Until you question this belief. Your personality isn’t set in stone.
Growing up we borrowed beliefs and picked up social biases along the way and these things can contribute to our personality but even these don’t stand up to what you intentionally choose to believe about yourself.
Your past doesn’t dictate your future. Just because you weren’t a ___________ person all growing up doesn’t mean that you’re never that kind of person. It just means you weren’t until you were.
I’m using the morning person example because that’s what I believed about myself for a huge portion of my life. I struggled with seminary, with early morning college classes until one day I questioned that belief that I’m just not a morning person and asked myself, What if I am and I don’t know it yet? Then I tested it out. I set an alarm for the morning and got up and loved the quiet hours when the rest of the world still slept. It felt amazing and I felt amazing that I did something that I struggled with for so long. That day I just decided that I was a morning person and from that point on I have been. I love getting up in the wee hours. I’ve solidified that belief because I’m intentionally choosing to believe it.
You can do this same thing. You aren’t until you are. I want you to think about the two questions I asked in the beginning. Who are you? Tell me about yourself. What did you say? Are there things on there you want to grow out of? Are there things on there you become more of?
Here’s another question, Who do you want to be?
There is such beauty in the knowledge that you get to be ANYTHING you want to be. Anything.
I love the animation film, The Iron Giant when he says, “I choose to be Superman”. Why not?
You are not subject to be someone and something that you don’t want to be. It’s not because you’ve always been that way and always will be. It’s a matter of choice, a decision, and practice. It’s learning to isolate the attributes you want to work on and then getting to work developing them, bringing them out of dormancy – is that even a word?
I remember as a teenager being really into personality tests. There were these little quizzes in magazines that asked a bunch of questions and you got to choose between a-d answers then at the end you’d tally them up. If you scored mostly A’s then it meant you were this. If you scored mostly B’s then it meant you were like this and so on. I was always curious and would anticipate the results like this magazine with generic questions could tell me who I am.
I still like personality tests. The Meyers-Briggs test is a good one to look into and these tests don’t tell you who you are. What I love about them is they offer you new thoughts to try on and to think about. We can read things they say and we can choose to connect with those and think, “yeah, I am really good at that!” And it can give us things to be mindful of.
As human beings, we love the idea of personality. We love giving personalities to everything even inanimate objects. We personify just about everything and create personalities so that we can connect with them. So that our brains can organize this information and create shortcuts so they can process other things. This conserves energy. We don’t have to see something and analyze it each time that would expend a ridiculous amount of energy so instead, it labels and categorizes things and creates these shortcuts too so that it can process other things.
This is great in some things but where we get into some trouble is when our amazing brain wants to classify box, and label people especially ourselves.
Notice how you do this with people in your life. We say things like, “They’re the mean one”, or “They’re the nice one”, “They always rude and judgmental”.
We need to be careful not to box ourselves and others in with labels. It’s something to be mindful of because your brain is so very good at it, it’ll do it seamlessly and you’ll hardly notice.
There was this woman at my daughter’s old ballet studio. She was terrifying and quick to snap. So my mind wanted to veer away from her. Like, she’s just a crabby person – let’s just not engage. And for a while, I did because I believed her personality to be abrasive. I labeled her and put her in this box. But after a while of trying to sneak past her each time I just didn’t like it. I didn’t like feeling that way, nervous, tiptoeing around her and so I just decided to question that belief.
What if she’s not crabby? What if she’s not abrasive? These adjectives, remember don’t go in the C line of our model because they’re not factual.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There are no facts just interpretations”
What if she’s not crabby and it’s just my interpretation of her that is creating all of this? So I started to talk to her each time I saw her. I treated her as if she were a lovely human being. There was this divine bakery around the corner that we loved so when we’d get a treat for us we’d pick one up for her too. After a while, she started sharing things about herself. She had several kids, she loves organization and had this system at home to keep order with her kids that I just thought was brilliant. I found out that she quilts and that we love the same little shop.
She became lovely because I stopped believing that she was crabby. I was genuinely about her and who she really was. We need to be careful not to label others or ourselves as, “They’re just _______ kind of person” or “I’m just a _______kind of person”.
That’s just a thought. It’s an opinion and an interpretation and you want to make sure you like your interpretation. If you get to be anything you want to be, what does that look like?
When you start trying these beliefs on, I want to warn you that your brain will want to argue. It’s like, “uh…no, you are certainly NOT a _____________” then it’ll provide lots of proof and evidence to put you back in your place. Be mindful of this. Just because that’s how things were doesn’t mean that’s how things are now.
Remember the things you tell yourself becomes true. We think a thought that creates a feeling for us. This feeling drives you into some kind of action and our actions create our results.
If you tell yourself, I’m just not very confident. I don’t think I can do that.
How do you think you’re going to feel?
Not confident, insecure
These feelings are going to create the action of doubting yourself, looking for evidence to prove the thought true.
And these actions create your result that, “yep, I knew I couldn’t do it, see?”
It’s a self-fulling prophecy. But it’s temporary. You get to choose who you are, who you really are at each moment of every day of your existence. You’re not something until the moment you are. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, or when you see results then you are. You are the moment you believe you are.
This is amazing news because no one, including yourself, is a particular kind of person. You get to choose, they get to choose.
We each have a huge list of things we believe we’re lacking or not enough in. Some examples I’ve heard recently, “I’m not outgoing.”, “I’m not ambitious”, “I’m not very organized”, “I’m selfish”, “I’m not optimistic”, “I’m a mess”, “I’m not very courageous” and on and on. You can add your own to this list.
None of these things are true. They’re interpretations, not facts. This means that you’re not boxed in and reduced to a specific label. You get to be who you want to be at all times. You’re a human being that thinks thoughts, thoughts that create feelings, that drive actions, that create results.
You can either label these results as fails and then use them to label yourself as a failure, worthless, insignificant, not enough, weird, different or you use these results as information.
Okay, that happened, now what? Did I tell you this is my go-to phrase that I say daily? It takes everything and puts it into perspective. Everything is just information and it’s up to us to take that information and interpret it.
Why then are we insistent to make it mean negative things about ourselves and other people?
All of this is just an invitation to question, to pause, to be present, and then to use your agency to decide who you want to be in this moment?
What if there is no personality at all? We aren’t anyone kind of person. We’re a collection of our thoughts because our thoughts create a chain reaction that ends in our results. We’re a product of what we choose to think about and the amazing thing is, we’re not confined to believing one certain thing. You get to believe anything you want to believe.
I’m hoping if I say it enough it’ll stick. Practice that thought. You get to be anything you want to be. The people in your life get to be however you decide to interpret them to be. Do you want to perceive them as hostile, judgmental, and negative? Why not question that and decide to be open to the belief that they’re just human?
All of this is thought work. It’s a matter of learning to think differently and deliberately.
“As a man thinketh, so he is”.
Some of these beliefs and thoughts are so engrained not because that’s just who we are but it’s what we’ve been practicing for years and years. It doesn’t make it true. It’s just an interpretation. Which is why coaching is so valuable. It’s difficult to rummage through our thoughts because we’re still currently thinking about them instead of questioning them. Coaching is incredibly eye-opening because you’ve got someone there to help you question the thoughts that aren’t serving you, the ones you can’t even see. A coach helps you to learn how to change those beliefs and become who we want to become.
All of this sounds simple in theory but it’s a process and a daily practice. It sounds simple to think, “Oh I just need to change my thoughts. Okay.” But challenging and difficult in the application of it.
It seems easier to blame things on personality or “that’s just the way things are”, or “That’s just my personality” because it takes the responsibility off of us. There’s a reason, there’s something to blame and it’s not me. “That’s just who I am” kind of mentality and this isn’t true. It’s not just who you are, or your personality, or the way things have to be.
It’s who you’re choosing to be, it’s the choices you’re choosing to make, the thoughts you’re choosing to think. And again, you get to be anything you want to be so if you’re choosing that, own it.
It doesn’t mean that’s how things will always be because you have your agency to choose at any given moment an entirely new path. So you’re going to want to check in regularly, several times a day. Be deliberate and intentional, who do I want to be? How do I want to feel? You might say, “kind”, “understanding”, “loving” – Then ask yourself, “What does kind look like in this circumstance?” What does KIND think? And align yourself with these chosen virtues.
This is how you become who you want to be. It’s not a matter of “that’s just who I am”. It’s always, “who am I choosing to be?”
There’s so much power in this. Thinking that we’re confined to a certain way, a certain personality is disempowering.
It boxes you and keeps you stuck. It also blocks your ability and capacity to be able to see yourself any other way so what you believe about yourself becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your brain will filter everything through that lens. If you believe you’re not enough, that’s all you’re going to see. If you believe other’s are out to get you, that’s all you’re going to see.
We need to separate and distance ourselves from the stories we tell ourselves because it’s these stories that are blocking you from knowing who you really are.
Let’s go back to the first question I asked you. Who are you? Look at your list or think about the things you told yourself. Are those things in alignment with the you, you would choose to be? If not, question them. Take responsibility for them. It’s not who you are, it’s who you were choosing to be.
James Allan said, “A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.”
We’ve been given a supreme gift of agency to choose who we are, who we want to be, which direction we want to go, and how we want to experience the world. It’s such an amazing gift.
Think about how incredible this all is. Everything you see, hear, experience is a product of your thoughts, of your making. You think thoughts that create a chain reaction that creates your perception, your experience. How does this change how you look at the world? How does this change how you look at yourself?
You are not your past. You are not your yesterday. You are not your 5 minutes ago. All those limiting beliefs you picked up along the way aren’t yours to carry. You can put them down. You don’t have to think you’re different, that something is wrong with you, that you’re not enough, that you’ll never be enough, that someone is better than you, that you’ll never have what you want, that people don’t really like you, that you don’t have any real friends.
All of those are just thoughts and you don’t have to keep them. If they’re not serving you, I invite you to try on a new thought. If that sounds terrifying or confusing and you don’t know how to do this, I strongly recommend that you come join me in the CATALYST membership program.
It’s an entirely different program that will teach you real tools to up-level your life, to help you create the experience you want to have, to be able to create genuine confidence for yourself, and then to go and do all the amazing things you’ve only been secretly dreaming about.
This is the real deal and it’s a game-changer! Go to members.thecatalystcoaching.com and join me!
Who you really are is who you choose to be. Instead of holding on to all the things you’re not, why not start trying on the thoughts of who you want to be. You aren’t until you are. You get to choose who you really are. Make sure you choose things that inspire you, uplift you, strengthen you, and motivate you to keep moving forward.
You’ve got this! Talk to you next time!
Come Join the MEMBERSHIP here: The Catalyst membership program