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You are amazing. You’ve always known it. If you look at pictures of your two-year-old self, you can see it’s true. You were thrilled with your skills and wildly impressed by your proven ability to learn something new every day. Your mindset was one hundred percent growth-oriented and you were going for it! You were fearless. Curiosity was the name of the game and you explored the multitude of unknown things that surrounded you with attention and intention. Every day as brand new and your purpose was clear:  experience it!

So, what’s going on with you now?

If you’re feeling less than inspired and on-purpose, you’re not alone. But don’t worry, your original way of being and relating to the world is actually the most natural part of who you are. And you can find your way back again.

Identity Crisis

When we forget our innate curiosity and sense of wonder, we’re actually having an identity crisis. When we do this we get very serious about our problems. In fact, we focus on them a lot. Statistics from the National Science Foundation reveal that we squander nearly 80 percent of our energy on our negative thinking! Curious where you fall on this stat? Take this free quiz and find out.

We also become afraid of showing our real selves to others and begin to doubt our ability to change, adapt and grow. Essentially, our mis-identification about who we are causes us to start shrinking, living from a more contracted and fear-driven place. When we start leading our lives, relationships and careers from that low end of the human experience spectrum, it makes sense that the byproducts are unhappiness, depression, anxiety and stress.

The good news is, no matter how many problems you think you have, you’ve only ever had one. You were simply identifying with your contracted self, giving it your energy rather than the part of you that is expanded, free, open and focused on what’s needed for the next level of your success.

If you’re asking yourself, “How can my work or relationship problem get solved by me identifying with the qualities of my inner two-year-old? The answer is simple. When you are identifying with your original, courageous, curious self, you’re in the solution already—that’s where things get solved! That’s the place where trying new things lives. It’s literally where every good idea you’ve ever had lives. It’s your most alive state, where you feel in the flow and come up with the most useful, inspired, innovative solutions.

Remembering Who You Are

Forgetting who you are is something we all fall prey to when we are afraid, uncertain or stressed. This just happened to me recently. My eldest daughter, Caitlynn, moved to college. She and her little sister, Jacquelyn, are five years apart and really close. In fact, the three of us are a little, inseparable tribe. The unknown of the upcoming change triggered a deluge of thoughts in my mind:  How will this go? Will they grow apart or miss each other? What does this mean for me? Will I have terrible grief? Should I move, downsize to a smaller place now? What does this mean for my life? Then I realized what was happening—my shoulders were rounding, breath constricted, bleak thoughts and negative future fantasies swirling, uncertainty, worry and doubt were running around unchecked in my brain—I wasn’t going to be able to solve anything from here.

Nothing will get us sinking down into contraction like the unknown. That’s why success coaches encourage us to do one uncomfortable thing each week. Because if you can be in your expanded self while in the midst of the unknown, rather than shrinking down, you’re going to save a lot of time and energy that can be rerouted to whatever solution you’re after.

Sinking down the ladder of consciousness, however, is a natural stress response! The key is to not linger there. One of my teachers, John-Roger, once said “I get caught up in things just like everybody else. But I get un-caught very fast. As soon as I feel something that even begins to hurt or contract, I say, ‘That’s a signal to expand.’ Whenever something pushes in, I say, ‘Expansion.’”

Living from your best self is about noticing what triggers you to contract into your small self and what you do to get yourself back into your most expanded, highest state.

Thoughts program our brains. Try this affirmation and coaching exercise today.

Affirmation: I am a resilient force of nature with the power to change any situation at any time.

Coaching Exercise: What would I like to see happen in this situation? What’s one action I can take now to get me closer to that outcome? Who can I ask for help?

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