WRITTEN BY Angie morgan

Did you have a Magic Eight Ball growing up?

I didn’t, but my cousin did. Whenever I’d go to her house, I’d snag it from her shelf, shake it hard and then wait for it reveal answers to life’s mysteries:

  • Would I marry?
  • Would I be an astronaut?
  • Would I drive a fancy car?

Sometimes, the Magic Eight Ball told me what I wanted to hear. Sometimes it got it wrong. So, I’d shake it again to give the floating white die in blue liquid another chance to get it right.

Eventually, I stopped putting faith in this toy. That didn’t mean, though, I stopped searching outside myself for answers to life’s questions and, more specifically, my own identity.

I believe we’ve all looked outside ourselves for clues, insights, and ideas about who we are and what we should be doing with our time, talents, and treasures. The interesting thing, too, is that the outside world – advertising, social media, well-intentioned friends and family members – is never short of recommendations.

I’ve learned through time, which included a few stumbles, that it’s wonderful to take inspiration from around us. But to answer questions about who you are and what you should be doing, it’s best to consult with yourself, first.

I’ve been talking with many coaching clients lately who come to me because they’re uncertain of what they should do next in life. I remind them that I’m not the Magic Eight Ball. They are. My role is to ask them questions so they can reflect, listen to themselves, and draw their own conclusions about their preferences, interests, and passions. Then, I take notes and share with them consistent thoughts that keep appearing, which helps them clarify their vision and inform their self-awareness.

While a coach is valuable, you don’t have to have one to gain this level of clarity. You could, though, benefit from some quiet time and engage in a few of these activities:

  • Journal. Just because we think something doesn’t mean it’s a developed thought. Writing allows you to process what’s in your heart and on your mind.
  • Ask Friends to Listen. Tell your friends that you need time to think out loud and ask if they’d be willing to ask you a few pointed questions to help you workshop what’s been on your mind. A few questions might include:
    • When are you happiest?
    • What’s something you’ve always wanted to do (but have been scared to try)?
    • What’s going well in your life?
    • What needs to be improved in your life?
  • Stop Moving Around So Much. Are you really that busy, are or you avoiding something? When you’re still, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. It can also be revealing and clarifying. Try being less-busy and un-moor your mind a bit so you can pay attention to your thoughts and listen more to your intuition.

We humans are amazing. We’ve got this amazing ability to turn inward and direct our lives. Self-Leadership is such a simple concept, yet quite hard to invest time and effort into. Yet, the effort is well worth it because it helps you unlock your potential through understanding what you really were put on this earth to do.

Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch are Lead Star’s co-founders, leadership coaches, and the bestselling authors of SPARK, Leading from the Front, and Bet on You. They help professionals reach new levels of success through their innovative coaching program, Year to Rise.