Know who you are

That's Elizabeth, second from the left! 

That's Elizabeth, second from the left! 

Last weekend, three weeks after The Hello Sessions, I finally got a chance to see my friend, the gorgeous and elegant Elizabeth Crane Swartz, for lunch. Despite living all the way out here in Massachusetts, Elizabeth attended THS this year, and it was so wonderful to hear her impressions of the conference.

But one thing she said especially resonated with me: "I'm working on a series of blog posts about the conference--what I learned about what I do, but also what I learned about me." 

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately--the connection between who we are and the choices we make. Since we spend so much time peeking into the lives of the people around us, it's natural that our brains start shouting at us to get in line with what other people are doing. But, in reality, no one else's path is going to be right for you. You have to do the hard work of carving your own way. 

One thing that I've found especially helpful in figuring out how to make my own way is Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies framework. Everyone, she says, falls into one of these categories. And while they overlap, you'll pull most strongly from just one. What's powerful about it is that once you understand which category you fall into, you'll be better able to understand how to work with yourself to accomplish more, live more fully, and enjoy the process. 

For example: I'm squarely an obliger, which means that I am far more likely to meet the expectations of others than my own expectations. As we ramped up to The Hello Sessions, I basically gave up on eating well, exercising, meditating, and a whole host of other self-care things because of this giant outer expectation. Rubin suggests that for people like me, it's important to set up parameters outside ourselves, in order to achieve our personal goals. Workout buddies, group activities, even apps help us to feel accountable to someone or something outside of ourselves. Knowing this about myself has made a huge difference, just in the past couple of weeks! 

To know yourself better, check out the quiz on Gretchen Rubin's website. Are you a rebel, an upholder, a questioner, or an obliger? 

We talk a lot about constantly improving our skills, but within that we need to make room for a broader conversation about constantly improving our understanding of ourselves and the people around us. It's then that we can stop holding ourselves back, playing the blame game, and comparing ourselves to others. 

Because you, my friend, are made to do great things. 

Joy (with extra love from Melissa)