Where are you in your life right now? Maybe you have a vision of where you want to be down the road. Maybe you have some ideas and are not sure which direction you want to go in. And maybe you have no idea at all and are worried about the fact that you can’t figure it all out. How would you like a powerful tool to get you unstuck?
1. Your Ideal Self
No matter where you are in your life and your goal-setting process, it helps to take a moment and reflect on what you are like when you are at your best. Think of yourself when you are totally in flow, doing what you do best, feeling incredibly confident and joyful. Don’t you feel as though you could do anything you put your mind to?
That’s because you have just tapped into the Ideal You. Let’s get to know your Ideal Self a little better.
First of all, start thinking about a few experiences that you have had where you have felt incredibly joyful, confident and in the flow. These experiences can come from your creative life, your career, your relationships, your leadership positions–anything where you feel you are at your best.
Once you have a few of these experiences in mind, describe what you are like when you are at your best and in the flow. Make a list of these qualities.
Think about what are you like in terms of your
• Favorite personality traits
• Artistic talents
• People skills
• Leadership skills
• Thinking skills
• Organizational skills
Now ask yourself the following questions:
• How do you describe your attitude when you are at flow?
• What do you feel like when you are at flow?
Write these down. This is the Ideal You, the person you are when you are using your favorite strengths and living your passions. And, chances are that when you are experiencing joy, you are honoring your top values. Don’t you feel better now that you can see yourself at your best?
In a recent workshop that I did with a talented group of young professional pianists, here is the composite list of qualities that came up as the Ideal Self:
Living in the moment
How does your list compare with this one?
Once you have your long list, pick the 3-5 words that represent you at your absolute, authentic best. You might even want to give your Ideal Self a name.
2. How your Ideal Self can help you get unstuck
Your Ideal Self can be a powerful ally to help you anytime you feel stuck.
Suppose you do not have a good idea of what you want right now. And it is getting you down because you worry all the time about the fact that you do not have a direction. Go back to your Ideal Self. Think about what makes you feel the most alive. What situations allow you to live like your Ideal Self? What is working for you in life right now? Where do you want to be? That should give you some clues on where to direct your efforts. Maybe you need to go back to school. Perhaps you need to acquire some new skills or expand your knowledge base through reading, networking or meeting some new people. If you are in school and still unsure of your direction, what courses or mentors or colleagues can help you get the clarity?
Listen to your Ideal Self and stop worrying because worrying only adds to the confusion. Once you stop worrying, you will find yourself a lot freer to take in information about what works best for you. Before you know it, you will gain clarity and have the tools and the information to set the right goals. Again, your Ideal Self will let you know when that moment is and what goals are the right ones for you.
Or what if you are unsure about a decision? Again, ask your Ideal Self. Chances are that if you are listening closely to what makes you feel you best and you honor that best self, your Ideal Self will help you to make a choice that reflects your values and your best interests.
Enjoy how great it feels to be in alignment with the real you–Your Ideal Self!
(C) Astrid Baumgardner 2010
I would be delighted if you should wish to reprint (for free) any part of this article in your newsletters, blogs, websites, and message boards. Please include the following attribution:
Astrid Baumgardner, JD, PCC is a professional life coach and lawyer, Coordinator of Career Strategies and Lecturer at the Yale School of Music and the founder and President of Astrid Baumgardner Coaching + Training, which is dedicated to helping musicians, lawyers and creative professionals take charge of their lives and experience authentic success. In addition to her work at YSM and her individual coaching practice, Astrid presents workshops at leading conservatories and law firms on topics including Career Planning, Goal-Setting, Time Management, Dynamic Communication, Conflict Management and Personal Branding and Networking. She is the author of numerous articles on the various aspects of how to achieve and live authentic success.