Creating Who You Want to be

Editorials Aug 15, 2022

by Melissa Gorzelanczyk

This spring, I was wandering trails behind my house at dusk, listening to an interview with writer and activist adrienne maree brown about boundaries and making a creative shift.

The podcast interview came at a time when I was struggling a bit. Maybe you can relate: Sometimes I want expansion, vitality, and goals, but I don’t necessarily have the capacity for them. However, I can listen.

So I ambled over new grass through cold spring air as adrienne spoke of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. adrienne liked how Clear inspired her to ask these questions of habits:

What kind of person do I want to be?
What are my habits to become that person?
Do I have community around those habits?

The idea of having habits and community around the kind of person I want to be intrigued me. And terrified me a whole lot. It’s true: the things I do every day make up my life. (Scary, right?)

In time, I reflected on my list of desires. It’s written on a yellow index card. I wrote the list after reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. Deepak suggests you write such a list, a list of things you desire, and carry it with you wherever you go.

One of my latest desires is to be a financially successful author. Now, inspired by adrienne’s three questions to take my list further, I sat with my favorite notebook, comfiest blanket, and red rooibos tea to ponder the kinds of habits a successful author might embrace. Then, I noted where community exists or could exist if I want.

Like this:

What successful authors do

Community: Sunday writing group, social media, email newsletter
Community: Libraries, bookstores, UntitledTown book club, subscribe to magazines and journals
Work on craft
Community: My MFA cohort, writing workshops, writing conferences, writing organizations, tips from social media, specific friends whorecommend writing craft books
Present work
Community: Writer friend goals/accountability, follow magazines and journals

And so on. I can use this list to help ensure the things I do in my days and weeks align with the kind of person I want to be, especially on those difficult days. I can use it to nurture my deepest desires.

What lists could you make? As adrienne said on the Moonbeaming podcast, once you decide to develop mastery, you set a pattern and then grow the pattern. You could start with one minute. You could start with one walk.