By Mike Robbins
If you had to sum up your life’s story, would you say it’s inspiring? Boring? Tragic? Realize that not only are you the main character in your life, but you’re also the author—only you can determine if you think your story is good and what the next chapter will be!
Sometimes when I’m about to take a big risk, go for something important or step out in a bold way in my life, a judgmental question will pop up in my head: “Who do you think you are?” Does this ever happen to you?
This is one of the many ways the feelings of not being good enough or of unworthiness show up in your life and get in the way of your success, fulfillment and authenticity. Sadly, as most of people know, this question doesn’t come from your true self; it comes from your “Gremlin,” the little monster in your head whose only job is to keep you out of perceived danger. The more you listen to your Gremlin, the more you allow him or her to sabotage your life.
However, this question, “Who do you think you are?”—while often asked in a negative, critical way and is something you allow to stop you from doing, saying and going for important things in life—is also a very important question for you to ask and answer honestly. When you look at it on deeper level, you see that your answer to this question has a lot to do with how you experience life in general.
How life is for you has a lot less to do with your circumstances or situations and much more to do with how you relate to them and the thoughts you have. Some of the most powerful thoughts you think and the ones that have the most impact on you are the thoughts you have about yourself (i.e., who you think you are).
Everyone has a story about themselves and their lives. These stories are often dramatic, funny, scary, inspiring, sad, intense, boring, enjoyable or tragic (usually a combination of many of these things). In most cases, the story you have changes a bit, depending on how you’re feeling about life and yourself at any given time.
One of the things you may sometimes forget, however, is that you’re the author of the story of your life, not just the main character. You may think that your story has to do with all the things that have happened to you, the qualities you were born with or have cultivated, the stuff you’ve done or haven’t done yet. But, when you remember that your story is a function of your thoughts, most specifically the thoughts you have about yourself, you can be empowered to consciously transform not just your story, but your life as a whole.
Here are a few things to think about and do to enhance your thoughts about yourself and therefore enhance your experience of life:
- Notice when your feelings of being not good enough or of unworthiness show up.
In other words, pay attention to when the question, “Who do you think you are?” stops you in your tracks and takes you out of the game of your life. When you’re able to notice this, be honest about and have some compassion for yourself, you can take your power back from your Gremlin in those moments and step more fully into who you really are.
- Ask yourself more deeply, “Who do you think you are?”
Go deeper with this question, beyond the judgment, and really inquire about how you relate to yourself. What’s your story? The more honest you can be about the story you have about yourself, the easier it is for you to acknowledge it, own it and ultimately change it. Remember, these stories are not “true”—they are simply your interpretations, judgments and beliefs. You created them, so you have the power to transform them at any time.
- Upgrade your story about yourself.
In the specific areas of your life where your story is not empowering, inspiring or fulfilling, see if you’re willing and able to “upgrade” it in an authentic way. This basically means you change your thoughts, words and feelings about your story in a genuine way. Because people often get so attached to their stories and tend to defend them passionately, this upgrading process can be challenging. It sometimes takes support, feedback and coaching from others in order for you to move beyond your story and remember that you have the power to upgrade it whenever you’re ready.
Who you think you are is one of the most foundational aspects of how you relate to life and yourself. As Henry Ford said in his famous quote: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This simple quote is so wise and profound. And, whether you think you’re great not, you’re always right—it’s a function of who you truly think you are.