A lot of our life is wasted trying to be someone else.

Growing up we are told to be this way or that – usually more or less than we are most naturally. Our parents and teachers urge us to be more respectful or less talkative. Later, as teenagers, we try on several identities… the Geek, the Athlete, the Rebel… searching for the perfect fit. As adults, though we’ve settled on a pattern of behavior, we are still making adjustments trying to be more successful or more lovable.

Sometimes we find that who we are striving to be has become a burden. A mask we carry around that shields our true nature from others.

But nature is persistent. And at some point we tire and decide to become ourselves.

If I have learned anything as a coach, it is that, though we search for success in the world, our capacity for it is held in our very own nature. I believe our truest vocation is to attend to our own development. To become exactly who we are.

Authenticity is irresistible. It attracts a whole host of opportunity and acceptance more real than all our fantasies.

A lot has been written about this self-expression. Marcus Buckingham calls it “having strong moments.” Ken Robinson calls it “being in the zone.” Dr. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chicks-sent-me-HIGH-ee”) calls it “flow.” Whatever the label, they are the fleeting moments when we let our guard down – quiet the inner critic – and allow our authentic self to shine through. It’s when we use our most natural gifts, in the precise ways they are meant to be, to the greatest positive effect.  And it’s magnetic.


  • For an engineer it may be finding the chokepoint in a complex system.
  • For a teacher it may be igniting a student’s thirst for learning.
  • For an athlete it may be executing the perfect play.
  • For a nurse it may be easing the fears of a patient.


What is your strong moment? Identify one activity that sets you ablaze or puts you at peace and allows you to be your most natural self.  Next time you do this – notice the shift in your energy.  Notice how others react.

These small moments are the signposts to your success.



Heather Petherick is the leading Career Freedom Coach for women worldwide, supporting women to create the career they love and the life they deserve. She is the creator of The Incredible Career Makeover program and since 2007 she’s been using her signature blend of humour, courage, and the unvarnished truth to help women navigate the murky waters of their career. She is a proud Canadian, a wife and mother of two, a lover of smelly cheese and salty meats, and a passionate advocate for women living their best lives. Learn more about Heather at www.heatherpetherick.com

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