Who You Are, Who You Should Be, Who You Want to Be

Photo: Mavenly + Co.

Photo: Mavenly + Co.

“She’s stuck between who she is, who she wants to be, and who she should be.” - unknown

Who You Are, Who You Should Be, Who You Want to Be. These are all phrases I have struggled with over the course of my life.

Who am I? Shouldn’t I know the answer to that question? Well I didn’t for a long time and I’m still putting on the finishing touches. I never took a moment to think about who I really was or what that meant.

Since I was little my life (like most of us) was mapped out for me- preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, after school activities, and college. That was my life for 22 years. After that ended, I didn’t know where to go or what to do. It was crippling. I didn’t come out of school with a clear path or a marketable skill; I majored in History (you business school kids should count your blessings). I didn’t have the tools to figure it out which was a rude awakening after 22 years of education. I had to completely start from scratch. I had to ask myself intense questions like what was important to me and what did I value? I would think to myself well this is the easiest question I’ve ever had to answer and then my mind went blank. I couldn’t answer them. I wanted my parents to just give me the keys to the kingdom and they couldn’t. I’t took me 5 years to even break the surface.

Once we start to figure out who we are it opens a lot of doors and tears down a lot of mental blocks. It’s like seeing a glimmer of light peeking through the curtains for the first time. And let me tell you I’m not 100% there yet and there were countless roadblocks along the way.

One thing that really tripped me up was the question What Should I Be? I hate the word “should.” I think it’s one of the most misleading words in the English language. I believe it has an oppressive connotation. You are doing this but really you “should” be doing this. Just because you “should” do something doesn’t mean it’s right, what you want to do, or what you are even meant to do. I listened to countless voices telling me what I “should” do. I “should” be a talent agent or talent manager because I would be good at it. I “should” run someone’s company because I’m organized. I “should” go to business school. I “should” do everything everyone wants me to do. Granted I did ask people what they should I “should” do.

I really should have been asking what do you think I’m good at or what do you think I’d enjoy, but who knows if that would have put me in a different place or not. Society pulls us in a million different directions. It tells us we should act a certain way, be in a certain place by a certain age, make a certain amount of money, dress a certain way, look a certain way, own a certain house, and stay in our lane. Well society, I’m giving the finger to your impossible, unattainable rules.

Instead I choose to follow my heart even though people may not understand it or accept it. We have one life to live and we should really do what we want. We need to enjoy our time here instead of crossing things off a list in hopes of being in a certain place.

Now that I’ve started to the journey of figuring out who I am, I can start to think about who I want to be. Do I want to be a giving person, respected person, important person, accomplished person, well adjusted person, happy person, uplifting person, or a loving person? These are questions I’m still asking myself and working on answering. But things feel much more in my control than they did before.

If I follow my heart, I can’t really go wrong right? I have no idea where that will lead me or where I will end up, but that’s ok. I feel safer knowing I now have an internal guide I didn’t have before. I have my own personal guidelines imprinted in my heart that can lead the way. I hope you all find yours and if you have found yours I urge you to congratulate yourself and listen to it!

Meg Coogan