Monday, September 19, 2005


personal stereotypes

i've written before about challenging our assumptions, and the important role it can play in opening up greater possibility for what can happen in our lives. the last couple days i've been thinking about this specifically as it relates to the "type" of people we see ourselves as. the assumptions we make about who we are and who we are capable of becoming.

from the time we are young we get messages about who we are. these messages are often communicated in relation to other people, who you are as compared to your siblings, your parents or your cousins - how you stand out or are similar. we are told that we are the smart one, the shy one, the goofy one.

these early characterizations of us stick - in a big way. sometimes these messages are right on the mark and allow us to take great pride in these parts of ourselves. unfortunately, sometimes they aren't so accurate, and when this is the case they can become major road blocks to creating the life we want. in many ways they are like personal stereotypes, oversimplified and unfounded opinions we hold about who we are as people.

challenging these assumptions can broaden what is possible in all aspects of our lives, from our relationships to our career path. the importance of freeing ourselves of these assumptions came to mind as i was noticing the stereotypes i have about myself based on the messages i got when i was a kid: i am a people person, not an artist.

these assumptions become clear when i have ideas about things i'd like to do that involve me being more creative and artistic - almost always i immediately dismiss them. and yet, when i have ideas about new ways i can build community and help people live bigger lives, even if they seem incredibly challenging, i'm willing to entertain them.

what possibilities do i close myself off to by accepting these assumptions? moreover, how silly to try and stay convinced that i am not an artistic person in the midst of my mind coming up with idea upon creative idea.

what stereotypes do you have about yourself?

what possibilities might open up if you allowed yourself to challenge them?

as always share your insights and thoughts here, i'd love to hear what you are noticing and figuring out!

dream big,

Funny you should be writing about this today. I've been working on a book for several months, but I haven't been satisfied with the approaches I've tried - until now. The ideas I have come to have been a result of a very long journey, but in writing in the non-fiction genre I have felt limited by the need to express these ideas in an organized, scholarly fashion. I did not feel limited by who I think I am, exactly, but by what I thought readers would expect of a book in this genre.

But I have started the book over again, this time deciding explicitly to write about my journey of discovery - about my successes and my disappointments along the way - so that the reader can follow the same path that I did. It will expose much more of me than most non-fiction books I have read (other than biographies, of course, which this is not intended to be), but my instincts tell me that this is the way to go. Letting go of our ideas about limitations and trusting our instincts instead can be incredibly powerful. Here's to being our authentic selves!
I've not met you in person, but I feel we are kindred spirits anyway. You have such a great way of weaving your own personal stories about what works and what you'd like to make different that allow your readers to tap into their own view of what may be holding them back. You definitely lead by example and help others step into their own power as well.

I've worked on a lot of my own "stories" about who I thought I was and who I thought others thought I was or should be and then living my life through my interpretation of their ideas. Whew! Just writing that out shows how very convoluted we humans get when we get in our own way.

I've learned that in order to get where I'm meant to be I need to get out of the driver's seat. As I connect with my higher self - by being awake to the possibilities I create and those I allow and listen to - I recognize that the results I'm able to witness and produce are so far beyond what I could do on my own.

The insights I've been able to recognize for and about myself have allowed me to have a whole new view of other people as the whole, complete and perfect beings they are. As I now support others in working first on SELF, I witness and share examples of how then people are able to recognize their effects on others so that they can work together on action that impacts whatever community they choose.

Thank you for asking the great questions you ask in a way that allows others to engage and get in the game of life!
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