When I was growing up, we had interesting odd games that we would play at dinner. A college roommate of my dad’s typically started these strange word games (he is an author and believed in the power of words). One of them turned out to be the most challenging, but, also, the most effective. It’s hard for anyone to think down to their core and describe themselves to others. Everyone struggles. It can be particularly hard, if you haven’t had the tools or mindset to think of yourself in a positive way. The foundation of who we all are can be described in very few words. Here is the challenge: Describe yourself in one word. The one word has to be positive, it cannot be a skill (baking, running, working on computers etc.) It has to be what inherently is at the core of you. Could you do it? I will give you ten minutes to figure out your one word. I will wait.
Do you have it? It was amazing to hear the words that women described themselves as. Funny, direct, realistic, creative, happy, driven, determined, and persistent. Not one negative word came to their minds. While I was there to act as a guide, none of these ladies hesitated on their one word. It was the first time for many that they had to think of themselves as other than a label. There wasn’t anything about being a mom, or a divorcee or a failure. Every single word was the heart of who they really are.
What is your tennis ball? What a weird question! I was watching a commencement speech, where the founder of Drop Box was speaking to M.I.T graduates. If you think about a dog, at the heart of a dog, they are what humans aspire to be. They are happy, loyal, simple and full of joy. When a dog is at their happiest, they are chasing after a tennis ball. So what is your tennis ball? What is the one thing that you will not give up on, to make you happy? Is it to go back to school? To find a new career? Or something philosophical like being a help to others? Whatever it is, don’t ever give up on your tennis ball. Whatever your one word is don’t lose focus of it. Remember what is at your core. And remember – you define you. No one else can. (ekm 05/31/2016)