I have a theory. It’s that we are pretty much who we’re going to be at an early age. That’s not to say that life experiences don’t change us, or that we can’t undertake change on our own. Stuff happens, our perspectives shift and we change.
But if you’re born left-handed, you’re probably going to stay left-handed for life.
The Internet is an unparalleled way to reconnect. I got this in my Classmates.com in-box:
“I don’t know if you remember me from elementary [school], but I’ll never forget you. I remember nervously walking into the school for the first time after I moved there at the beginning of the 3rd grade. Mrs. W (who scared me to death!) was showing me where the classroom was located — it was early and hardly any kids had arrived yet. You walked up to me from the other end of the hall and struck up a conversation, and made me feel like I wasn’t an outsider. I don’t know if I ever thanked you, but I always appreciated that. You made my transition to a new school much easier.”
I have to tell you, this email rocked me. Families tell stories of our youth, but they usually involve — in my case — where I made a complete and total fool of myself by saying or doing something incredibly dopey.
To hear a tale of my past, from an outside, objective observer is like watching a documentary of my life. No spin, no role-playing — just a glimpse of who I was in third grade. Priceless.
And know what? I don’t remember the woman who wrote me (I do remember the evil and wicked Mrs. W, our teacher. Still get the shivers mentioning her name). But a year or so after the incident my correspondent described, my family moved two thousand miles away and I haven’t been back to that little town since. So in writing me she had no relationship to mend, heal or promote — she just had an open, grateful heart and a place to share. What a gift to me.
I’ve been spending a lot of time recently working with clients — and myself — on discovering strengths. I ask questions like: What do you do best? What do you really like? How can you play to your strengths? Because when you play to your strengths, whatever you do feels…easy. Not at all like work. Even, dare I say, fun?
Can you imagine what life would be like if you played to the inherent strengths you’ve had your whole life? Since you were in, oh, third grade? How effortless would that be?
So, what parts of your childhood personality remain? Who were you then — and who are you now? Understanding who you were — to others, to yourself — can illuminate and inspire your life today. Turn the light on, and uncover your own, innate, wonderful strengths. Then put those natural strengths to use, and craft a meaningful, purpose-filled… easy life.