Imagine for a second living your entire life without a concept that you are anything more than just your body. You spend every year working to lose the extra fifteen pounds around the middle, you obsess on the dress size, you might try exercising but realize it can be challenging, you spend the majority of your adult life defining what you do, you gather accolades and awards and letters behind your name, you seek people to validate your existence and then one day, usually when life becomes gravely challenging, you realize that you are so much more than the what that you have aimed for decades to become.

What if I could encourage you to see that you are so much more than the what that you have been told you are, or what you have strived to achieve? What if I could invite you into a place where you see that much more than what meets the outer eye.

Let’s back up. Think about this:

What is the most important part of a house? What is the most important part of a tree?

Without the foundation and the roots, we may never see the beautiful windows and stunning branches and leaves. So if your body is the windows and branches and you have neglected the foundation or the roots, what will happen when life gets hard? (It will get hard, you know that).

Will your walls cave in? Will you blow over in a “storm”?

What are the parts of you that hold up the windows and branches?

What sustains you? What supports you?

What are the aspects of you that is your foundation or your roots?

I like to think of these as values or principles in which we live our physical life as. The branches that we become are all based on the root system that feeds, stabilizes and ensures we are our best self.

For me, my root system consists of the following four main roots (or four main foundation walls):

  • gratitude: the minute I step away from recognizing all that I have in my life and start complaining I have gotten lost and the root rot begins
  • strength: opting for the easy way out or choosing to give up is a sure sign that I will blow over the second life gets hard
  • positivity: there is nothing like a dose of negativity to squelch your growth. Period. If it isn’t nice or hopeful then don’t say it.
  • responsibility: doing what I say I will do and keeping myself accountable has served me so well both personally and professionally. If I walk away from that, I am done.

Ask yourself these questions and sit with yourself. Peel away all the “what’” that makes you up—man, woman, mother, father, heavy, thin, your job title, your credentials, and your outer form.

Now, ask yourself who am I? What is the essence of me? How do I show up in the world? You might find that the values/roots that make up your beautiful tree are things like love, purpose, courage, family, service, honesty, respect, accountability, knowledge, faith, and many more.

Do this important work now because soon we will take it a little further and look at how our actions, thoughts and words are aligning with those identified values.

Hang on, my friends. It’s about to get real!

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