“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey
This week I had a great opportunity to attend an event at NYU entitled “Redefining Success.” During the event our fabulous speaker, Agapi Stassinopoulos, called on one of the grad students and asked him what he wanted after he graduated. With shyness he whispered “it’d be nice to have a job.” Agapi pushed further. “What type of job? Making how much? Working with what type of people.” This great young man had answers to all of these questions – what he really wanted was a great job in PR or Marketing, making a certain salary, in a mid-size company with a culture of learning and collaboration, that allowed him to stay in New York City. Despite knowing what he wanted, he was reluctant to express it, to make a statement in front of others that defined the direction he wanted to move and who he wanted to become, and acknowledge what it would look like when he got there.
Does this sound like you at all? Is it hard to express what you want and who you’d like to become? Perhaps it’s a lack of belief, doubting that it’s really possible. Or maybe it’s questioning whether or not you’re worthy of the big dreams and goals you have. It could be a bit of feeling overwhelmed, and not knowing all of the steps to get you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. I know I’ve struggled with this before, and I continue to struggle with it at times today. I’m still afraid of what people will think of me if I say I want to become something and don’t end up accomplishing it. It’s easier to shy away from claiming who we want to be because it’s hard to risk failure, disappointment, bruised egos, and a sense of shame when we don’t end up where we thought we’d be.
As Oprah beautifully says though, you become what you believe. And part of believing is to live each day as the person you’d like to become. The person we want to become is also the person we are, and the sooner we embrace that, the more energy and intention we are putting towards our goal of who we want to become.
Who do you want to become? Is there a way you identify yourself, but have been hesitant to claim out loud? Or is there a goal you have but you’ve been nervous to express it, in case you don’t actually reach that goal?
For the longest time I wanted to live as a renaissance woman in Europe. I love the culture of Italy especially, and a big part of my love for it is the café culture that exists. When I first started pursuing this dream, it was hard to stay motivated since the reality of accomplishing it seemed so far away. One day I decided to purchase myself a fancy espresso maker, so I could make a really good espresso every morning. This small shift helped me start embracing the person I wanted to become, and kept me tied in to my desire to pursue it every day.
Similarly, I always knew I wanted to be an author, but since I was not published, I had a very difficult time introducing myself as a writer. An author I greatly admire, Jeff Goins, talks about this as well and the value in claiming who we want to become – because then we really start to believe we can be that person. When that message finally hit home for me, I made two changes to how I approached my writing: (1) I started writing every single day, even if it was only for 5 minutes; and (2) I started introducing myself as a writer.
Revisiting the prior question: who do you want to become? Now, what is one small action or step you can incorporate into each and every day to make you feel like you are that person? How can you live today like you are already the person you’d love to be?
Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook or Instagram and let us know who you want to become… and if you know how you’ll be living it today we’d love to hear about it! Or, if you want to brainstorm some ideas on how to live like you’re already that person, just ask… we love to help others live optimistically in this way.
Elizabeth Shaw & The Davine Team
P.S. – Our blog on writing your own to-be list is a great reference for diving into this question if you are looking for more.