How Would YOU Answer The Question?

“Who are you?”

I mean it, really. Pause here and think about what your answer would be…

Got it?

I routinely find my clients defining who they are based on what they do. When we’re coaching and I ask the million-dollar question, most often the answer is something like: “I’m a mom, a wife, a manager…” And I come back with, “Great, that’s what you do, but who are you…really?”

You are not your job. You are not what you do. Those are only pieces of the big-picture.

I know, I know–it can be a tough question to answer!

Trust me, I’ve been there. When Bill and I embarked on our professional coaching training over seven years ago, I’ll never forget our first class. There were about 20 of us, and our assignment was to get up out of our chairs and mingle with the other students in the room, asking each other: “Who are you?” And we were not allowed to talk about our jobs or professional roles.

Wanting to bail

This assignment made all of us want to run out of the room (as did much of our subsequent coaching training!). When my first partner asked me “Who are you?”, I nervously giggled and said, “Ummm, I DON’T KNOW!” Ha! Today I would argue that yes, I did know who I was (just the way everyone else knows who they are at their core), but back then I simply didn’t have the tools or the language to verbalize it, much less assert it confidently.

Similarly, when my clients struggle with this same question, I get it. And I feel their pain. Life is set-up so that it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness, and in the jobs we do and the myriad of roles we play. So it’s no wonder that we’re not sure how to answer the question.

The problem, though, is that if we don’t know who we are, it’s impossible to know what we want.

Therein lies the dilemma of how we’ve gotten trapped in a cycle of continuing to do what we’re doing because it’s comfortable and it’s what we know. The predicament is that the life we’ve created isn’t necessarily the one we want. But hey—it works, right? That is, if you’re willing to settle.

One of my favorite quotes is by Shakespeare: “Know thyself and to thine own self be true.”

The only way to be true to ourselves is to know who we are.

We actually start out knowing

Back in the beginning, we’re born into the world knowing who we are and what we want. In our purity as infants and young children, those answers are crystal clear. But along the way, that “knowing” has gotten covered up by messages we received growing up, beliefs we’ve taken on as true, things we feel we “should” be doing, patterns we’ve created along the way, etc.

The result is that the answers are often buried pretty deeply.

My job, as a Coach, is to help clear away the clutter and the junk that’s gotten in the way of that innate “knowing.” One of the cool exercises I lead clients through is called a “Life Purpose Statement” session. The end in mind is for clients to gain greater clarity on who they are at the core; who they’ve always been; who they’re meant to be. Through visualization exercises, a defining ‘statement’ begins to unfold, pointing toward their true north. What a powerful process to witness in my clients! And it’s incredibly freeing. I know, because my Coach led me through that exercise way back, too.

I never ask my clients or readers a question I’m not willing to answer myself. So who am I? The way I answer depends on the day and there are many different facets to my explanation. But today I’m going with this: I’m a lover of life in awe of the world around me. Here’s that core of me being “on purpose” and shining my light:

Michelle Stimpson_Tortola BVI

Michelle Stimpson_Sedona

Michelle Stimpson_Cruise Sunset

So. Who are YOU?

If you need a little help reflecting first, one good way of beginning to define who you are is to become clear on what brings you joy (and then, of course, honor and embrace those things, making them a priority). You might want to check out these posts that can help you further tap into what you love:

What Are Your ‘Life Moments’?
What Makes You Come Alive?
Two Fundamental Questions
What Are You Passionate About?

Brave enough to write your answer in the comments section below? Tell the world who you are! I can’t wait to meet you.

For those of you who’d like a little more focused attention on helping you claim back the clarity, the passion, and the momentum so you can finally start to make a change, let me know cuz that’s what I do at LifeShine!


Blessings to all of you on your journey.

P.S. For a great “part two” to this post, go here!

Subscribe to Updates via RSS If you enjoyed this post, you'll love being a subscriber!

You might also like:

11 Responses to “How Would YOU Answer The Question?”

  • Jeff says:

    Michelle, thank you for the skillful, beautiful way you expressed who you are. Thank you for the challenge to our ingrained ways of thinking. And thank you also for the brief glimpse into how you and Bill express the gifts that you both possess on a professional level!

  • Pat Noren Enderson says:

    I am still working on who I am. How’s this: I am a creative person seeking to create my destiny. That’s what I am thinking today.

  • Denise says:

    “I am a capable, intelligent, unique, spirited, loving and lovable woman!” It’s taken me many years and many changes to the description to create my definition of who I am. But I believe it and I own it!

  • @ Jeff: Wow, you are so welcome and thank YOU for the beautiful affirmation! Your sweet note of friendship has touched my heart and made my day. I appreciate you being a part of our community, Jeff!

    @ Pat: Love that you are working on who you are. I truly believe that process of learning and development never ends…so know that where you are right now is perfect. And your statement is bold and beautiful!

    @ Denise: Lovely! My first thought was, “I want to know her!” I can tell that you believe it and you own it, too…and when you come from that confident place of trusting and knowing, the world smiles and cheers you on. Thanks for sharing!

  • Claire - Gratitude Connection says:

    Hi Michelle, I love this question, and how you’ve explained that it’s not asking about our ‘labels’. I’m a carer, a helper, a seeker of truth, a creator with a love of laughter, simplicity, order, but who’s occasionally spontaneous. I’m kind, trusting, loyal and genuine. I no longer feel the need to hide these qualities behind the corporate facade. I won’t make excuses for them, as if they are weaknesses. Thanks for asking, you’ve given me a precious gift of clarity today.

  • @ Claire: Hi! Isn’t it nice to be able to ditch those “labels?” I love learning about who you are – great description! The people who know you are blessed to have you in their world. What a brave, bold statement to say that you no longer need to hide these wonderful qualities. Amen! No need for excuses; in fact, it’s time to shine your light! Thanks so much for contributing. :)

  • Michelle – love love love the photos, esp the third one- you are observing the world around you in all three! I love how you are so “present” in those moments, and so present with us, your readers!

    I am a caretaking, fun, creative, catalyst – lover of people (especially Neighbor Dave!)

  • Joy says:

    Awesome question that cuts right to the core…I am an exuberant,creative, passionate about life, joy filled, faith filled Being who believes in God and drums to the moon and finds peace and bliss on the ocean or the hiking trails. I embrace, explore, experience, life moment by moment as the moments are presented to me, and I allow my Light to shine brightly to encourage/inspire those around me to live fully as well…

  • @ Jen: Thanks for the fun feedback! And I love knowing “who” you are; yep, that describes you perfectly. Cool how the “catalyst” theme is a foundation for your new business!

    @ Joy: Hi there! I could “feel” your enthusiasm for life leaping right off the screen! Your description is peaceful, calm, present, joyful, and full of life. Absolutely beautiful – thank you for sharing yourself here!

  • Sharon says:

    Hey Michelle! Wow, this one took some conscious thinking!! So far…I am a sincere, loyal, honest person that believes that if you live your life with what you believe, you will conquest….and justice will always prevail. I am a strong, determined female that has been through alot of painful life lessons and am thankful for them. Those lessons have made me even more “me” and I know that I can face anything that comes my way. I am intuitive, caring, nonjudgmental and loving. I am passionate about animals….they are in my soul…to protect and provide………..I am also impulsive and a procrastinator, which I love about myself! I have “character”! :)))) I live true to myself so I can live within my own skin comfortably. I am a lover of Jesus and God.

    that’s it so far! I always feel like I am not doing what I am suppose to be doing….now I need to take it to the next level..whatever that is! :)))

  • @ Sharon: Thanks so much for sharing this! And I love that you are putting conscious thought into it; it’s a big question! What a great write-up, and it gives us great insight into “who” you are. You know yourself well, and it sounds like you do a great job of honoring that core of you. Rock on!

Leave a Comment (I´d love to hear from you!)

Want your mug shot with your next comment? Get a Gravatar!
You’ll Love Being a Subscriber!
Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

Lacking clarity or direction? Disconnected from your passion?
Ready for something new or different?

Like What You See Here?
Facebook Like Button
Watch for this "Like" button at the end of each post and if you like what you see, please give it a big fat "thumbs-up!" Thank you!
“Like” Us On Facebook!

Where else you can find Michelle:

Project Light Year 2015

Our Funny Nude Beach Story!

Joyful Partnerships

Need help finding something?