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Who Are You?

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

Today’s news has been inundated with stories regarding young college students doing everything they can to fabricate their life stories to get into prestigious colleges and universities. Only to find out all the stories they have told were false.

So why do we have the need for false positives? Are we so removed from who we are at our authentic core? Do we not trust the person that we are for fear people will not like us, believe in us? Where is our continuity of character?

Finding The Truth of Who You Are Is Finding Your Passion

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a client named Lou in his 50’s. When I asked Lou the proverbial question, what brought you joy and happiness in your life as a child alone in your bedroom? What is that thing you'd do until your mom called you for dinner? What were your passions before societal constructs pushed them down?

His liner thinking was based on all the minutia, the inconsequential details that surrounded his beingness. Once we took an imaginary pick hammer and started to chip away at the person beneath, he along with myself discovered someone who had the ability and creativity to take something out of nothing and make it into something. He had started his own translation business as a side hustle while he was a very well-respected copywriter and creative director for some of the top advertising companies in its day. He discovered that his love of legos became his passion to put projects together whether it was selling advertising, marinas, or private jets. He discovered about himself that he had a value and changed many companies by his ability to brand them and bring them to market.

Craft Your Unique Story

I have often wondered why is it, in schools we are never asked the question, “Who Are You?” We never focus on the being but rather a being’s accomplishments as if any of that has to do with who and what we are or truly meant to become. Why do we push so hard and move the finish line so that we can continue to define ourselves? Why can’t it be that our stories lie in the deep burrows of our existence and therein lies our truth and power?

We must not align ourselves with the Lori Laughlin’s who tell stories about her young girls as rowers when they have never touched an oar. We must stop being the Road Scholar who claimed poverty and abuse, when she was raised in Boca Raton, Florida. We must stop fabricating and start weaving the threads that make us who we are with grace, vulnerability, truth, and ownership.

For myself, I have always been a storyteller. From the time I convinced my parents who were living in a suburb of Los Angeles to move the hills of Beverly Hills. I have been able to construct dreams and turn them into reality. From my modeling days living in Paris to owning and operating my own public relations and marketing company in New York City.

I told stories for people, companies, businesses, fashion, and luxury products. My job was to find the curtail of truth and create and build a story that others would find as their own. Through my work with Elizabeth Taylor, I was able to inform the world that AIDS was not only for homosexuals, but it was going to be the disease of every man, woman, and child. From selling cosmetics for women with eczema and allowing women with the condition to tell their story of how the product changed their lives and why others may benefit from their stories. Stories move mountains.

Now as the founder of YourCareerDesignLab, I have had the opportunity to architect, design, and curate hundreds of young adults in colleges, grad schools, 20 something’s, 30 resets, and mature audiences that followed the norm and help them to come back to rediscover their passion and bring forth the self they did not know.

All to say, knowing who you are, what it is that brings you passion, joy and happiness is your story. What makes you get up in the morning is who you are, the rest is pure constructs given to us by our family, teachers and society. Now, at this moment more and most importantly. NOW is the time to find out where you came from, and where you are going.

Who are you?

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