Who are You (+ Who do You Want to be)?
If you've ever found yourself at an event attended by a group of strangers, you've probably been faced with the challenge of introducing yourself.
You know the challenge - the group sits around in a circle and is given the impossible task of introducing themselves in just a sentence or two.
There are, of course, variations on the exercise.
One fun one is to tell two truths, and a lie and people then have to guess which are which.
2. I was a goth in my early 20s
3. I was my school’s spelling bee champion three years in a row.
Guess which is the lie in the comments below.
Whatever the exercise - I always come away from the challenge feeling like I didn't do a good job of letting people know who I am and second-guessing what I said (perhaps the curse of being an introvert who doesn't think quickly on his feet).
I was going to make this week's prompt a challenge to answer "who are you" (and if you'd like, you can take a stab at answering that) but instead today I thought I'd take a slightly different approach to the question...
WHO do you WANT to be?
You probably got asked the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" a lot when you were a child - a question designed to get a child thinking and talking about what occupation they want to have when they become an adult.
This week's question is a variation on this.
WHO do you want to be?
Of course, the simple answer to this question might be, "I just want to be me", - but humour me a little and dig deeper.
Perhaps another way to answer this is:
What do you want to be known for?
Exercise: Write Your Eulogy
One creative exercise to help you ponder this question is to do the exercise of writing your eulogy.
Project to the end of your life - ponder what you want to be said about you at your funeral.
It's a confronting question - firstly, because it reminds us of our mortality - but secondly, it takes us to a place of pondering some deep and perhaps uncomfortable questions.
Don't let this stop you from doing it - I found the exercise to be deeply moving and transformative when I was first given it as a young adult.
It's something that had such an impact and brought so much clarity that it is something that I've done several times again.
Create some space - grab your journal and write your eulogy.
Don't write it as if your life ended today - but project forward and dare to dream about who you want to be known for and what you wish people would say about you.
Perhaps you might include some of the things you'd like to have done or some of the achievements you'd like to have had - but also focus on the type of person you want to be known for.
- What do you want people to say your best character traits are?
- What do you want them to say that they are grateful for?
- What experiences with you do you want them to reflect upon?
Take your time with the exercise - it might be something to work on over a few days. Let it sit with you for a while.
And once you're happy with it - take some time to ponder the question that is already probably coming to mind...
What Needs to Change?
If you are to end up being the person you describe in your eulogy - what needs to change in how you live the rest of your life?
- If you want to be known as a generous person - what needs to change in how you view your time and resources?
- If you want to be known as a person who lived a life of adventure - what needs to change in what you spend your time doing?
- If you want to be known as a person who left a legacy in their work - what do you need to do in your career?
If you're anything like me, you'll get to the end of writing your projected eulogy and realising that your current life trajectory isn't taking you to the places you want to be.
There is likely a gap between your intended 'destination' and your current trajectory.
This gap can be confronting, but I hope it will also be motivating.
How are you Going?
I hope you find this week's prompt to be a life-giving one that makes sparks fly, and I'd love to hear how you find the exercise over in the Find Your Spark group.
If you've found it helpful, please feel free to pass on this prompt to anyone who might find it useful.
Til next week - may sparks fly!