Who Are You Becoming?
Exploring Your Personal Power and Potential
As we journey through life – whether Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z, or Baby Boomers – we are stakeholders in the present and in the future. Our choices infuse our days and impact those around us. Our decisions and actions carry implications for today, tomorrow, and future generations.
You may remember psychologist Abraham Maslow’s five-stage model – a pyramid describing the hierarchy of human needs (1943). The model suggests that humans have a natural desire toward self-actualizing – fulfilling our highest potential in life. Maslow proposed that to stretch toward our potential, we fulfill needs from basic to more complex – physiological (food, water, rest, air), safety, love and belonging, and esteem (from others and for ourselves). As we climb higher on the hierarchy of needs pyramid, we develop toward our unique and precious potential – self-actualization. This “being” stage engages our strengths, capacities, potential, and the desire to evolve toward our best selves. As we hit our stride in life, many of us aspire toward self-actualization, seeking greater awareness of life’s meanings, interconnections, and values. We make contributions to the world doing the best we are capable of in the season of life in which we find ourselves.
As we ponder life’s ongoing possibilities, we are reminded that any story, no matter who creates it, contains the viewpoint of the writer. Thus, each day we are developing our own stories. This awareness offers possibilities for re-creating ourselves and clarifying our interconnected relationship with the world in which we live.
The term self-efficacy refers to a belief in our ability to influence our own behaviors and environment in order to move toward our goals and produce a favorable outcome (Bandura 1997). Inventor Henry Ford is often quoted as saying “whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right.”
What have you learned, what are you doing, and who are you becoming each day of your life? What are your strengths, your longings, your actions, and contributions? Where have you been, where are you currently, and what are your next steps?
Explore the Story of Your Unique and Precious Life:
Give yourself some time to delve into your own story – the story of your unique and precious life. Pay attention to the information from your heart, your intuition, your life experiences, wisdom and observations from the world around you, the world in which all of us live.
Consider questions, such as:
How can I understand and build on life experiences as I write the next chapter of my life?
How do I navigate my strengths, power, and vulnerability in this lifetime?
Am I contributing to life’s problems or solutions? As I live each day, am I creating a positive footprint in the world?
How can I make a difference toward repairing the brokenness in our world?
What are my gifts to the world thus far? What would I like my gifts to become?
How am I growing and developing toward my unique and precious potential?
What are my action steps?
How will you choose to write your next chapter?
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” “If I am only for myself, what am I?” and “If not now, when?”
– Hillel, the Elder
- Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy. The exercise of control. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman.
- Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.
- Maslow, A.H. (1987). Motivation and personality. (3rded). New York, NY: Harper & Row.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD, PCC, CMC is an ICF Credentialed Professional Coach and Speaker. Ilene helps people live their best lives by bringing mind, body, and spirit into flow with their strengths, callings and potential. She inspires clients to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online and access free resources at http://ileneberns-zare.com.
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