Is it time to give your identity a reality check?

Have you heard of the story of the young Lion that lived among the Sheep for so long that it grew up thinking it was a Sheep? Eating grass, making bleating sounds and herding together with the other Sheep as they grazed the land? This is until another Lion spotted him and got him to look at himself in the river (water reflection) that he realized he was very different from the Sheep he had soo fondly lived with.

From this day on, he owned his new identity and lived with a different demeanor fully acknowledging that he was considered one among the mighty ones of the jungle. Makes me wonder how his life was growing up amongst the Sheep. He must have been bullied for looking different, for having a different kind of ‘fur’, and perhaps even for experiencing food cravings that no one else understood. I am guessing his vegetarian brothers must have accused him of being crazy for having such ‘ridiculous needs’.

It is also highly likely that he lived through identity suppression just to try and fit in with his ‘brothers’.

How many of us are like this young Lion? Mighty in our own right but living in an environment that does not allow us to bring out the greatness within?
A lot of us suppress who we are just to fit in to the environment we live in. Never mind that sometimes the crowd may be a mindless bunch of Sheep!

And this is why a Personal Branding exercise becomes necessary.

Personal Branding lets you figure out who you are, your strengths, your weaknesses, your expertise, and talents; with the intention of showcasing these skills to the world in a way that helps build trust and credibility. You want to be able to fully understand your capabilities (expertise, experience, and personality) and present them to the outside world consistently while being true to yourself.

You can only achieve this if you embrace the Lion that’s in you; a process that requires us to be consciously self-aware.

Fun Fact: According to psychologist Tasha Eurich, 95% of people think that they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% really are!

Most of us live like this young Lion, unaware of who we are and the value we can bring to the table. To change this narrative, we need to be courageous enough to:

Let go of the herd mentality
Sheep do everything together and this is not the way to differentiation. I am sure none of us would like to be called among the Sheep.

While the young Lion had everything in him that could get him to stand out, he had probably never been alone long enough to explore the full extent of his capabilities as a ‘differentiated Sheep’.  Sometimes, all we need is some alone time to figure out what we are all about as an individual. Take some time out, call yourself to a meeting and explore who you are, and what potential is hidden or suppressed within.

And if you really must be in a herd, find likeminded individuals who will bring out the best in you. Don’t be too excited to be counted as the first among the Sheep, rather, it is better to counted as the last of the Lions.

Explore your natural impulses
Nature cannot be hidden neither can it be fooled, not too long anyway. Sooner or later, the inevitable will emerge, and you will have to contend with the rewards of embracing the nudges that crop up or the regret of ignoring them.

There must have been moments when the young Lion wanted to say NO to the vegetarian diet and instead try some meat, say NO to the regular shearing process and instead have his mane grow big and shiny and perhaps even say NO to the idling around in the fields and instead run past the valleys….but none of these alternatives were ever explored.

Once in a while, you will experience unexplainable urges from within (sometimes known as instincts). These urges could be an indication of your inborn natural talents rising to show you that they exist. Most times, we tend to ignore these urges, but it is time we embraced them. When the ‘strange impulses’ arise, do not let them go back to their hiding place, experiment with them, as you never know where they could lead you to.

Be aware of your surroundings
Growing up, we believed our mother’s cooking was always the best. This was until we experienced the different cuisines that exist out there that we got to realize there is more to mum’s cooking. When we are always within the confines of our environment, there is not so much you can do, learn, and experience; much like the young Lion that lived among a group of Sheep that seemed comfortable with very little knowledge of their home / plains.

The external environment is just as important as the internal environment in transforming one’s world view. So, in your everyday environment, give yourself the courage to explore beyond the proverbial 4 walls and discover what more exists out there.

Are you living cowed by the Sheep in your environment, yet you should be living like the Lion? Then it’s time to give your identity a reality check.

It only took the young Lion a minute of looking at his reflection in the river for him to realize that he was different. It’s time to break out from the masses that want you to conform to their way of thinking and doing. Be yourself. Take the chance and stand out from the crowd. Take charge and give your identity the reality check it deserves.

Be the Lion you are destined to be by bringing out the roar in you and #Standout4Growth

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