I change my life a lot. Like really, a lot. I move to different continents, change jobs, learn new languages, meet new friends, and try new foods. I feel very fortunate to have seen so many places and to have had such amazing experiences. But I realize that I, like many people (even those who are very grounded), sometimes I feel lost. Is it something about this generation? Is it all of the endless options? Is it the one-time use culture? Why do we feel unsettled? What can give us the peace, security, and certainty that where we are and what we are doing right now is enough?
I think I know. It is more simple than you think. You are you. No matter how young or old, no matter what you wear, what car you drive, or what job you have. You are YOU. Your age, circumstance, location, job, and relationship status will change but at the end, you still will be you. Now who you are is up to you and the ever-changing roles and circumstances in your life can’t define your identity. This would be dangerous. This is dangerous because if we cling to our roles or circumstances, we are bound to feel lost or unhappy when things change.
As I prepare myself to visit the US again for the first time in two and a half years, I have reflected a lot on the woman I aspire to be. What would I like to share with the world and how can I make the most of my talents and be of service to others? The reason I even think to ask myself these questions is because I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by powerful, independent women that raised me to think this way.
Which leads me to the question I urge you to ask yourself. Who is a person you admire? What are the qualities in this person that you would like to emulate?
With the answer to this question, you can create a personal mission statement. It is a sort of bible that you can always revert back to in times of uncertainty to remember who you strive to be at your core.
I most admire my Aunt Lori. She’s more of the older sister I never had than an aunt. She is generous with her time, energy, resources, and talents. She contributes to her community by providing creative education. Her service inspires both children and adults to express themselves artistically and challenges them to constantly learn and grow. She seemingly effortlessly shares a positive energy with everyone around her. Although she has all the reasons to be proud, she is absolutely modest.
She is an outstanding mother. She is patient, loving, thoughtful, responsible, dedicated, creative, and adaptable. She keeps her problems as her problems and doesn’t reflect them onto her son in a way that would make him feel responsible or guilty. She embraces motherhood for all that it is both the challenges and the wonders. She is honest about the strengths and weaknesses of herself and her family. There is no perfect marriage or perfect parents and that’s okay. In family life, just like in professional life, she just strives to always keep learning and constantly improving. She focuses on all the good parts of being a mother and doesn’t look at it as a loss of independence or sacrifice. Her adaptability to change shines in her transition from single to married and from being without a child to becoming a mother.
Before family life, she focused on her goals and never based her life around an imminent future as a wife or mother. The meaning of her life didn’t depend on these things. She was okay with or without that happening because she is whole within herself. Her hard work, discipline, resilience, faith, strength, bravery, and passion led her to have a fulfilling life as a single woman or as a wife or mother. All of these qualities are alive at her thriving business, the Philadelphia Dance Academy. Her success is owed to her internal compass that led her to create the right environment, teachers, culture, and methodology.
Most importantly, Lori doesn’t underestimate the impact of others on the development of who she is today. She is always gracious and thankful for those who have influenced her to become her. She owes a lot to my grandmother who exemplified female power and strength. She also recognizes the impact of her teachers who were role models to her as a child. She constantly shows her appreciation for those who have helped, supported, and influenced her. You can see this in how she treats her employees, family members, and friends.
She is also warmly accepting of all people regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, class, education, or body type. She shows loves and respect to all people (and animals!) She goes out of her way to be inclusive of everyone even in the most challenging circumstances.
Lori was was one of my earliest influencers and taught me the appreciation for food and culture. She is an avid traveller and fearless adventurer. A huge thing I love about her is that she taught me to spend money on food and experiences instead of on things. She exemplifies that spending money on quality is so important but buying things to show off is senseless and would probably be better spent on an excellent cheese board and a fabulous glass of wine.
I hope you have taken something from my experience defining the things I love about a person I deeply admire. I hope that you will try this and it will bring you clarity, peace, and direction.