Ask Dr. Zoe – I Need a Change, How Can I Find Myself Again?
I have recently quit a job that I was very good at but I was working 90+ hours per week and living away from my husband. I have always wanted to start a business, so I figured now is the time. I am 53 years old and time is ticking. But, I don’t know where to begin to figure out what business I should start. After working so many hours, I barely know myself and feel a bit lost. How can I find myself again and hopefully a new path?
Dr. Zoe Answered:
You are in good company. You and so many other women are struggling to find themselves in this season of life. And this is the perfect time to do it!
When a woman tells me that she has lost who she is, I always think of the famous line from The Lion King: “Simba, remember who you are!”
You may be thinking, “I just told you I feel lost—how can I remember who I am?” Those semantics are important because who you really are isn’t lost. You don’t have to go find her. You just have to remember. She is right there, buried under years of obligations, other priorities, a little bit of grief (or a lot) and disappointment.
You’re Not Alone
It’s easy to forget who you are. There have been times in my life where I completely forgot. I woke up and realized I didn’t even know who I was anymore. It took me a while to work my way back to me. And it’s not a one-and-done. It’s a continual practice because the world is often drawing us away from it.
I think this is an expected struggle for women in general because, if we become mothers, we have seasons of our lives where it’s necessary for the focus to be off of us. We are born nurturers and we are created to pour into those we take care of.
But we don’t only get lost in our parenting. We can get lost living someone else’s dream for our life. Simba got lost. He allowed grief, guilt, and fear to convince him to hide out and become someone he wasn’t. It can and does happen to everyone.
I’m here to tell you today to remember who you are … Remember who God made you to be.
It’s so important to figure this out because as Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, “When one is a stranger to oneself, then one is estranged from others, too.” Meaning, if you don’t remember who you are, you can’t show up for yourself or your relationships in any healthy way.
What’s a Girl To Do?
So, if you don’t quite remember who you are and you’re feeling a little lost, what can you do?
I love this exercise by Christina Conti. She said to think about if you were 98 years old and on your deathbed. What would you be most proud of in your life? Write down three things. Now ask yourself this question: Is the way you show up on a daily basis lining up with what you want to be most proud of?
Our drives and deficits sometimes keep us from showing up daily as we are—just like it did for Simba. But he just needed to be reminded of who he is. Today, I’m reminding you.
There is a spark inside of you that knows exactly who you are. You have occasional reminders—just like Simba did. It might be a dream or the smell of something familiar. It might be an unexpected glance of yourself in the mirror. It might be something you read. Maybe it’s this answer you’re reading right now.
Practical Steps for Finding Yourself Again
1. Write down what you loved to do for fun when you were between the ages of 8-10. Get specific. Most little girls love playing with Barbies, but what did your Barbie’s do?
2. Write down who your idealistic teenage self thought you were.
3. Write down what things or ideas are so interesting or enjoyable to you that you lose time when focusing on them.
4. Write down your non-negotiables about who you know yourself to be and by what guidelines you want to live your life.
5. Drop people who don’t support you in living your best life.
If making big changes seems like an overwhelming task, then pick one small way that you can show up as yourself every day in your life. Build on that.
Simba began the walk back to his pride without having made his transformation. He just started taking steps. The transformation back to himself happened after he committed to the journey.
So, commit yourself to the journey of remembering who you are, rediscovering who you are, and start walking on that path. You will find yourself along the way. Trust it.
It just takes a little grit and grace!
Doubtful about what you can accomplish? Be inspired by business maven, Christy Wright: Can Women Do It All? With Christy Wright of Business Boutique – 091!