Who Do You Want to Be?

Written by on July 10, 2017 in Self-Awareness, Sense of Purpose

Who Do You Want to Be


Will the real you please stand up?

No matter how enlightened you may be, there’s a good chance that at some point in your life you have wondered why you do the things you do. Some people seem to find an answer to the “Who am I?” question at an early age, while others struggle with it their entire lives.

So why is this question so hard to answer? How do we finally discover who we were meant to be?

Maybe the question we should be asking instead is, “Who do I want to be?”

If you aren’t sure who you are, you might as well work on who you want to be. ~Robert Brault

Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, every single day you get to decide who you want to be. The choices you make and the actions you take today will determine your life experience tomorrow.

Without intentional direction, the quality and course of your life is left to fate, patterns, and circumstances beyond your control.

The environment created by the job you barely tolerate, the unfulfilling relationships, where you live, even your health, will all, by default, determine who you are, if you don’t consciously decide to choose them for yourself.

The key is to think of every decision as a building block to help you create your ideal self.

Who Do You Want to Be?

Who you have been is not who you have to be, but in order to create meaningful change, you need to first define the traits and behaviors you most desire to cultivate.

Identifying, or reaffirming, your core values is a great place to start. Your values are what you regard as the most important things to and about you.

They are what you “stand for” and adhering to them gives you a sense of authenticity (you know who you are), meaning, and purpose.

Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul. ~John C. Maxwell

Core values are very personal so they will naturally be different for each of us. But they may include traits such as kindness, compassion, accountability, integrity, faith or authenticity.

If you’re not sure where to begin a good exercise would be to think of the people you admire most, not for their social status or material possessions, but for their behavior and the way they choose to live their lives.

Maybe they exude positivity and remain unflappable in the face what whatever problems they encounter. They are dependable, motivated and passionate about the simplest things in life. They make time to take care of themselves, spend their days working to build a career they adore and at nights they are surrounded by people they love.

Make a list of the things these people have in common and from that, you can begin identifying values that most resonate with you.

However you go about it, the point is to form a clear vision in your mind of the person you want to be so that you can begin taking the steps to make that vision your reality.

One Step at a Time

To see how this works, let’s take one of the values referenced in the description above and translate it into action. Say you want to be the type of person who is dependable and can be counted on to fulfill your commitments.

You’d first take some time to determine how you manage commitments now and identify any problem areas. For example, maybe you often find yourself agreeing to commitments you don’t have time for because you can’t say “no”.

Besides the fact that these unwanted commitments take you away from the things and people that really matter to you, it is tempting to look for excuses to avoid fulfilling them, and very easy to experience growing resentment.

To change this pattern, avoid making decisions you’ll later regret by giving yourself a buffer zone before agreeing to any new commitment so that you have the time to evaluate the request.

Do you want to do it? How much time and effort will it require? Will you need skills or resources that you don’t have now, and are you willing to do whatever it takes to get them in order to fulfill that commitment? Will you have to give up something else in order to fulfill this commitment?

Remember, dependability is about trust, so if you want to be someone who others feel they can truly count on avoid making a commitment unless you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to keep your word.

The Grass Is Not Always Greener

When you’re ready for change it’s so easy to imagine how much better your life will be when things are different. That age old quote about the grass being greener on the other side because it’s been watered certainly applies here.

Before undertaking any changes, you need to be honest with yourself about how much effort you’ve been putting into your life up to now and how willing you are to do the work to nurture the changes you’ll need to make to become the person you want to be.

The grass may be greener on the other side, but it needs to be watered, fed, weeded and mowed to keep it looking that way.

Buddha left a road map, Jesus left a road map, Krishna left a road map, and Rand McNally left a road map. But you still have to travel the road yourself. ~Stephen Levine

There’s something very powerful about taking responsibility for your life. Yes, there will always be things (and people!) you have no control over but, as I often say here, you always have control over how you respond.

It is incredibly empowering when you accept that it’s up to you, not anyone else, the winds of fate or luck to become the person you want to be.

It begins by deciding who that is, and you can start right now.

If only it were that simple!

It will probably come as no surprise to you when I point out the obvious … knowing what you need to do and taking action on that knowledge is a gap that many never manage to close.

Fear tends to be the most common answer for why we don’t do the things we know we should. And while fear may be a factor, there’s a lot more to it than you might imagine.

So in my next post, we’ll be taking a close look at knowing vs. doing and the steps you can take to finally close the gap.

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can be!
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.

Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Marquita, so insightful and challenging exercise.
    Well thought out and many of us would be overwhelmed with the results we see of ourselves.

    My only focus is always on the beginning. Starting is the fist step and being consistent is harder for us men. That is just a reality.

    I am not one to desire to be someone else. No label myself other than being a conduit. Serving other all my life for just the pleasure it brings to me.

    The object of writing things to start and focus on adjustments all through this journey. That is the picture that remains within me.

    You are so empowering and well deserved richness in your presentations is amazing. I am thankful for reading and re-reading again. This article has given me the edification I needed to move forward. Thanks Marquita.

  2. ikechi

    Hi Marquita

    The great thing about life is that one can be want he wants to be but as you shared, it takes a lot of effort and commitment on one’s part.

    The only restriction to being want one wants to be is our mindset.

    Thanks for sharing. Take Care

  3. Elise Cohen Ho

    I believe that through life we are constantly recreating ourselves. I think it is a wonderful thing.
    Elise Cohen Ho recently posted…10 Day Detox Diet Bell Pepper Mini Quiche RecipeMy Profile

  4. I’ll have to ponder what prompted me to first think about how the people around me had certain things in common and when they didn’t, I purged those people. Because you’re right, that’s a good place to think about who you are/want to be. I like to surround myself with honest, kind people with a big streak of loyalty in them. And pray I give back the same.
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Rapallo, Italy’s Promenade is a Poetry of PeopleMy Profile

  5. Edward Thorpe

    Hi Marquita,

    Just continue to love the substance of your posts! This one about becoming the person you decide to become, is brilliant and very readable.

    Robert Brault’s quote was dead on for me. Thanks, Edward
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…5 Cheap Natural Alternatives To Expensive MedicinesMy Profile

  6. William Rusho

    I love the Be what you want to be. But do not forget necessity is the mother of invention. I began writing, for the simple fact I wanted extra income. My wrestling career was on the downside, I ended up being a low card wrestler which meant my dreams of the big time was over.
    So although, it is nice to be what you want to be, do not limit your experience to that. Something might appear that you will like even better.
    I found out I love writing, and also it expanded to writing a blog. Also, as a writer, I do not get hit in the head with a chair (not as often) as a wrestler.
    As always, thanks for sharing.

    • Terrific points William! This is actually something I plan to talk about in my next post on the gap between knowing and doing. So often we limit our view of what is possible by past experience and limiting beliefs and, as you point out, sometimes it takes the necessity of life to shake up our perception of what we’re capable of. Thank you so much for sharing with us. 🙂

  7. Erica says:

    I love the exercise of looking at people you admire and seeing what they have in common. I’ve never done that. I feel I’ve always had direction in my life about my passions. But I think we can all work harder at making sure we’re living a life that is authentic to ourselves. It is easy to let the noise from others cloud our sense of self. I grew up with a father whose passion and life direction all surrounded making money. And when he made it, he got hugely upset if anyone spent it because his life purpose was to amass as much money as possible. And he’s always pressured me to live like that. And I’ve always had to fight within myself to not fall into his definition of happiness, because that doesn’t resonate at all with me.
    Erica recently posted…A Non-Toxic, Natural, Beauty RegimenMy Profile

    • I find it fascinating getting to know you Erica and others who share here periodically about their childhood. We all know that our early years have a profound effect on us, but I can’t help but wonder sometimes why it is that some use those early examples to predetermine the course of their lives, while others of us put so much energy into creating a life experience of our own choosing, which often differs completely from our early experiences. Hum. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us Erica, always appreciated!

  8. Sonal Talwar

    Hi Marquita
    A very thought-provoking post, Marty. I loved the quote: “The grass may be greener on the other side, but it needs to be watered, fed, weeded and mowed to keep it looking that way.”

    I am happy as i am. The only thing I am working on is that I am very emotional and i feel at times people do take an advantage of it.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Sonal Talwar recently posted…Keep sore muscles at bay during rainy seasonMy Profile

    • Sounds like a good goal Sonal, our emotions play such a critical role in our lives it’s important to be able to understand and manage them. As far as being happy with who you are, congratulations! Does that mean you’ve stopped growing, that the world can expect nothing new from you? I’ll bet it doesn’t. Something to think about. 🙂

  9. It isn’t easy discovering who you want to be. Too often we let others define us by our job, our background or even how we look. I think the most important ingredient is to first be a person of character. Be true to yourself, but also be considerate and thoughtful of other people

    I love John Wooden’s (the famous UCLA basketball coach) oft quoted remarks:” Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

    I truly believe this and once you have the foundation, you are so much better positioned to be the person you want to be.

    • Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation Jeanette, I always value your thoughtful insights. Going through the process of defining character makes a lot of sense, except the “experts”, can’t seem to agree on what character actually is.

      I jumped over to a couple of the scientific studies websites I use for research and did a little checking and quickly found papers discussing the disparity between definitions, but here are a few: An invisible source of personal consistency and deep structures of personality that are particularly resistant to change. Other definitions range from an individual set of attributes that deal with doing the right thing despite outside pressure to the contrary to positive, healthy internal habits that one develops, mental and moral qualities or personality, and so on.

      If this weren’t enough to make one’s eyes glaze over, try this one on for size: Some psychologists argue that the “true self” we so often refer to is merely a combination of past experiences, the stories we make up about ourselves and patterns we repeat.

      My point in sharing this isn’t to dispute the value of creating a strong foundation, in fact, I’m all for it! It’s just that not everyone is willing or able to devote the time and energy to do the work to discover who they are on the deepest level, but that doesn’t mean they can’t begin to create positive change in their lives by focusing on the type of person they want to and are capable, of becoming.

      Ha! Sorry, didn’t mean for this to be so long, but hopefully, it will be of interest to other readers. 🙂

  10. mark

    Very enlightening indeed M!

    And I absolutely love your very first quote from Robert Brault.

    I also totally appreciate your advice, on the long term benefits of gradually easing into who it is, we’re striving to become.

    Because trying to accomplish too much, far too soon, tends to cause more frustration and eventual burnout. At least, to this particular point in my life, this has pretty much been the case for me. LOL!

    Very well said, and thanks for sharing another extremely helpful and inspiring post.
    mark recently posted…Introducing The Not So Secret Strategy Entrepreneurs Use To Get The Word Out!My Profile

  11. Danielle

    Determining who you want to be is a great way to look at it. I think it’s come with maturity and experience, but I’ve learned to focus more on the things I can control. I used to wonder when others would change, but now I focus on the improvements I want to make for myself and ultimately the situation or environment changes.

  12. Mandy Allen says:

    I think we spend a lot of time trying to be what we believe others want us to be. It isn’t always in our best interests to do that but it’s a habit we form from an early age.

    Enjoy the journey!
    Mandy Allen recently posted…How To Use Influencer Marketing To Build Your Business Part 2My Profile

    • I think some people do focus their energy on trying to be what others want them to be, but we’re talking about the power we each have to create ourselves now, and the wonderful thing is we’re never too old to dive into that challenge as long as we’re willing to do the work. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  13. Emily

    I want to be someone who is more positive and happy. I tend to let my emotions get the better of me which is not fun for me or others around me. This is something that I have been trying to work on because this moody person I am is really not who I want to be.
    Emily recently posted…I Made These 7 Blogging Mistakes So You Don’t Have ToMy Profile

  14. Phoenicia

    Great post Marquita.

    It took me years to realise, accept and like who I am. I did not fully understand myself, my quirks, ultra sensitivity, need for regular time out, unease being in large groups. I am an introvert!

    Core values are your foundation, whatever you do and feel derives from this. Our values define us as people, it shows others what we are willing to stand for or in some cases not.

    I learn a little about myself each day.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Embrace the introvert or extravert in you!My Profile

    • Well said Phoenicia! You are such a wonderful role model as someone who has really embraced the value of cultivating self-awareness and translated that into empowered personal transformation. 🙂

  15. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Marty. I love this quote: “The grass may be greener on the other side, but it needs to be watered, fed, weeded and mowed to keep it looking that way.” Thx for sharing that.

    I am very happy with the person I am, and the way I am perceived by people. So if I can translate that into a stronger financial security, that would be terrific. As I get older, I realize how that can be to our health and welfare.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best hotels in Hershey, PennsylvaniaMy Profile

    • Glad you like that Doreen, I think it is so true! And, I hear you about translating your efforts into financial security. It’s such a precious gift to find ourselves in a place where we genuinely feel like we’re making a difference and enjoy the work we do. Adding a measure of financial success to that mix would surely be like the proverbial cherry on the sundae. 🙂 Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation.

  16. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    I first have to say that I love the Emerson quote you put here. So true!

    When we are making the necessary changes in our lives, it has to be one step at a time otherwise, we will fail.

    I am working on my spiritual faith as I write. I have it, but I feel like there is an empty space for more. I made the decision to get on board with it. I am a Catholic and am fortunate to have a church run by Franciscan Monks. One of them I asked to be my spiritual advisor. So we meet and chat. I’m doing it one step at a time and it feels so fulfilling.

    Well that is my two cents! Have a wonderful week ahead,
    Donna Merrill recently posted…1 Terribly Crippling Mistake Made by Struggling Bloggers – and How To Correct ItMy Profile

    • That’s beautiful Donna! I know that whatever you decide to do you go about it wholeheartedly. Thank you SO much for sharing your “two cents” with us, always appreciated. 🙂

  17. Lydia Brown

    At an earlier age I wish the question put to me was, “who do I want to be” vs “who am I.” The latter was too puzzling. Very hard to answer. The former would’ve have helped me ask some question that would have guided me to how I could become the person I wanted to be.

    • Well said Lydia, and I agree with you. I believe focusing on what we want to be is so much more powerful! Thanks for stopping by, good to hear from you my friend.

  18. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Marty! Awesome post my friend! At this pint in my life right now all I want to be is a Great, Mother, Grandma and Friend!
    Thank You So Much For This
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Are You Willing To Adapt?My Profile

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