By

Nicole Kovalenko MS, IAHC, AADP

| 08/29/2016

(ID)entity: Discovering your Purpose: Part 2

(ID)entity: Discovering your Purpose: Part 2

This is the second in a series of posts we are running on the topic of exploring identity and life purpose. A big thank you to Nicole Kovalenko from Nicole’s Holistic Wellness for sharing her insight with us!

Q. What suggestions do you have for someone who is middle-aged and struggling with identity “I’m not just a mother anymore but who am I?”

A. This is a question that I have struggled with myself as my children are leaving the nest. I think humans have a universal need to find meaning and purpose in their lives. A unique part of being human is the ability to be self aware and key into feelings and emotions. A powerful way to gain clarity around your purpose and passions is to identify the feelings you want to experience. Instead of asking the question “Who am I?” you could ask “How do I want to feel?”. For example, “I want to feel joyful, peaceful, vibrant, energized, and passionate.” Then ask, “What do I need to do to feel that way?” “What activities, people and experiences can help me create these feelings?”

Other questions to ask yourself include: “What brings me joy now or when I was a child?” “What comes easily to me?” “Do I consistently get complimented or thanked for particular things?” Many times the answers to these point to our strengths, passions and genius. All of these questions help us connect with our authentic self.

This leads to the next important question: “Am I living in my authentic self or am I living in my story?”Each of us has a story that we formed about ourselves as a child based on what other people said, our experiences, and how we felt. But these things do not define who you really are. Your story keeps you stuck in the past and unable to move forward. It’s time to drop your old story and ask yourself what new story you want to tell.

Q. What are some helpful books or resources or self-assessment tools you recommend for people who are exploring their passions and life purpose?

A. There are so many wonderful books and resources that it is difficult to choose only a few. But here are some of my favorites:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Eckhart Tolle)

Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness (James Baraz & Shoshana Alexander)

Tune In: Let your Intuition Guide you to Fulfillment and Flow (Sonia Choquette)

Two additional books I plan to read next are:

The Power of Vulnerability (Brene Brown)

The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul (Danielle LaPorte)

Q. What causes people to lose confidence in themselves?

A. I think a big reason we lose confidence in ourselves is that we are not being authentic or living in alignment with our values. We often live for other people and lose sight of our own desires and needs. We also get caught up in our old stories.

To offset that, it is necessary to discover your deepest values and develop a new script to live by. This leads to self-trust, which is foundational for unleashing confidence in who you want to be and where you want to go. Self-trust grows from histories of promises made and kept that are based on our internal values. It is interesting that we tend to be more careful about commitments to others than to ourselves.

A note of caution: When you make mistakes or have set-backs along the way, be curious about theminstead of beating yourself up or being a victim. What are they trying to teach you? What feelings do they bring up? Why are they happening for you instead of to you? Your mistakes and challenges are often your best teachers and you can see them as growth opportunities. Practicing self-kindness and self-forgiveness will create a safe space for you to trust yourself again.

Q. What steps can people take to increase their confidence and calm their inner critic to explore new possibilities?

A. The most important thing is to take one step at a time. You don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, it’s the small private victories that lead to success over time. And, just like a diet, there is no “one size fits all” way of doing things. You need to find what works best for you and be willing to try new things.

Start by connecting with your authentic self, which I believe will always be encouraging, loving, and supportive. One way to do this is by scheduling in “quiet time” to self reflect and be in the present moment. Meditation is a great practice to help with this along with gratitude journaling and simple deep breathing exercises.

Be aware of and acknowledge your inner critic. Let it know that you hear it but that you choose to release your old story and create a new empowering story.

Commit to identify and do more of the activities that come naturally to you and create the desired feelings you want (more joy, peace, energy etc.). This could be as simple as spending time with supportive, positive people and learning to do radical self-care. Putting yourself first is not a selfish act but a necessity. By caring for yourself at an optimal level (healthy diet, exercise, rest, and doing things you enjoy) you will have more energy to do what you came here to do.

Finally, realize and remember that you are enough and you are deserving of a purposeful and passionate life!

Q. How can working with a health or life coach help someone who is searching for these kinds of answers?

A. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I help my clients discover the root issues that are keeping them stuck and unable to achieve their goals. I create a safe space for my clients to explore their inner feelings and find their own answers. I also help my clients find the diet and lifestyle changes that will create health and vitality in their lives. I give guidance and encouragement along the way and hold my clients accountable to the promises and goals they make. I am their “guide on the side”. Together, we celebrate the successes and accomplishments they have made. My goal is to make their time with me a transformational experience and one that has lasting, sustainable positive changes.

About the Author

Nicole Kovalenko is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who helps women with thyroid and digestive issues improve their health and energy levels naturally. As a health coach, she also helps her clients reduce stress and anxiety, achieve and maintain their ideal weight, and easily incorporate new foods. 

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