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Become the Definition of You

When you hear the name Michael Jordan, what do you think of?

How about Warren Buffett? What mental picture forms?

When you hear the name Tiger Woods do you think of him a bit differently than you did say, several years ago?

These men are popular in every sense of the word and each has in common a distinct definition associated with their name. They are defined by their outstanding achievements within their individual fields as well as by their respective actions outside of it. They’ve created a persona, a brand, a definition of who they are and just the mention of their name alone brings it to mind.

Popularity simply expands our definition to a broader audience. However, at all levels of interaction we are developing, adding or even subtracting from the definition of ourselves. The challenge is to create a definition of ourselves others will buy into. I call it becoming the definition of you.

What does it mean to become the definition of you? It’s creating a self definition of who YOU are. It’s having clarity of purpose to your meaning and value and living this meaning with intent. Rather than allowing others to define you, it’s taking control of who you are and desire to be and becoming the driving force to accomplish your goals in that regard.

Some may think in terms of personal branding and that’s certainly treading along the same path here. View it as you want to. The object of the goal is the same: To project the desired image of yourself upon others. Imagine a capacity audience staring at a blank screen in your own movie theatre. You’re the film about to be projected on screen. What do you want the audience to see?

I’ve heard some say they don’t want to “define” themselves. That doing so is counterproductive and limits their ability to extend beyond that definition. What…For real…? Then don’t’ allow yourself to be limited. We should continuously redefine ourselves. It’s the essence of growth. Would we be content fitting in the same self defined box at the age of 40 as we were when we were 20? We should think not, right?

Realistically, if we don’t define ourselves others will. Whether in the family, at school, at work – wherever we interact with people we are being defined. Their definition of you will vary according to the level of interaction they have with you. For example, your mother’s definition will vary from your brother or sister’s. Your boss’ will vary from your work mate’s and so on. However, mark my words – they have defined you in some way, for better or worse.

So, it becomes very easy to fall into the trap of becoming what other people define you as because we yearn for the approval of those around us. It’s uncomfortable to be viewed as different or out of the ordinary. It can cause distress to those around us and who wants that? Yet, we often find in our desire to gain approval that we have lost a part of ourselves. We may feel frustrated and angry, or we may become bored with our routine. Sometimes folks complain of how they’ve “lost touch” with themselves and how they need to “find themselves”.

I’m obviously no psychologist, but I feel in part, it’s because those who lose touch have simply grown tired of trying to fit the definition of ‘who they are’ that others have put upon them. I believe their search to find themselves is really a silent scream to break out and create their own definition of self; to become “the definition of you”.

It’s important to clarify your values. To determine what is and what isn’t important. Once your values are clear to you, develop a plan to get you where you need to be and work that plan with intention. Half-hearted effort will simply get you half way there. Be whole-hearted in your efforts and you will reap the full benefits.

Here are five helpful steps to get you on the road to becoming the definition of you:

1. Focus on the positive that others see in you

Ask those who know you well for feedback on the positive strengths or traits they see in you. This is their perception of you; it is THEIR definition of you so pay close attention to it

2. Based on this feedback determine what you would like to enhance as YOUR definition of you

3. Clarify what fitting this enhanced definition should look like – that image on the screen

4. Write down the steps you must take to achieve this image

5. Right away, begin the step by step process on the road to becoming the definition of you

This process of defining yourself is not an easy task and will take much effort to succeed. However, don’t allow the size of the task to dissuade you. If you’re thinking in terms of changing up, then you’re already on the right track.

Michael Jordan, Warren Buffett and Tiger Woods: three men who distinctly defined themselves in their lives and careers. You and I are no different. We can do the same and choose the level we want to play at. Go ahead, take life by the horns and take a chance. Meet the challenge and become the definition of you!

© Marc Townsend

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