Remember that kid who wasn’t afraid of anything?

Bobbi Kahler

I am a podcaster, speaker, and author in the area of self-leadership: the intentional act of creating your freedom, your life, and your way.

March 27, 2023

Back in December of 2002, I was at an entrepreneurial conference in California. On the closing night a 17-year-old girl, who wanted to become a singer, was invited on stage with a country singer. He had heard of her dream, and he gave her the chance to share the stage with him.

I was sitting in the audience, and I was awestruck at this young girl’s courage. I thought: “Wow. I wish I had had that sort of courage when I was 17.”

And then I remembered: I did have that kind of courage when I was 17. I went after my dreams when I was 17.

The problem was that I had forgotten that.

Do you ever get that wistful feeling along the lines of, I wish that I was:

  • As courageous as I was when I was younger.
  • As spunky as I was when I was younger.
  • As daring and bold as when I was younger.

I have at different times over the years. And I know that my clients have as I’ve heard them say it many times over the years.

It makes me wonder: what’s going on?

As I’ve pondered this and researched it, I saw a convergence of influences. That led me to this conclusion:

We’ve lost touch with our inner spirit and our inner knowing.

We were all created as uniquely special, and we were created with unique gifts. We were each created and born to fulfill a purpose in this life. When we were younger, we lived more in that spirit. Life hadn’t yet taught us to censor ourselves, to curb our enthusiasm, or to be stressed out about any number of things.

3 activities to get back to our true spirit.

Activity #1: Shift to being “in spirit”

Ekhart Tolle speaks about this, and he says that it can be as simple as noticing when we are not in spirit and then intentionally shifting. This is very similar to what Dyer shares in his books and speeches.

How I’ve used this for myself is that when I notice friction or struggle in my day, that has become a signal to me that I’m probably not in spirit. When I notice that, I take 2-3 minutes to walk away from what I was doing, look out the window (or step outside) or something along that line and take a few deep breaths. This calms my mind and relieves the stress of the moment. By the way, this 2-3 minutes of deep breathing has been proven by neuroscience to work to alleviate stress and return us to calm, clear-headed thinking.

Activity #2: Use PQ to silence the self-judgment

Check out the book, Positive Intelligence, for a comprehensive look at the science and to gain a deeper understanding of how this might affect you. The book also lays out a great structure for working on quieting your judge and bringing forth your inner wisdom. There is also a free assessment that you can take to help you know how much this internal judging might be affecting you. It only takes 3-5 minutes and it’s a helpful tool.

In addition, I have recorded 4 short (5-7 minutes each) podcast episodes on this topic:

How mental fitness can restore our excitement for life in 3 short weeks

Activity #3: Childhood picture visualization

This approach is something that is talked about in both Positive Intelligence and in Dr. Dyer’s work. I’ve also coached people using this approach (and I’ve used it for myself) and, when executed correctly, it’s very powerful.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Find a childhood picture of yourself (ideally a picture from when you were fairly young). I use the one above from when I was about 5 years old.

Step 2: Take at least 3-5 minutes to quiet your mind. You could take a brief walk outside or just take a few minutes and do some deep breathing exercises.

Step 3: Look at your childhood picture. Don’t judge yourself, your hair, your clothes, etc. Just really look at who you are in that picture. Notice your eyes, your smile, your spirit. Really see your essence, your spirit. Then think of (and write down) some “I am” statements. For example, when I looked at my picture, the “I am” statements that came to mind for me were:

  • I am bold
  • I am courageous
  • I am confident
  • am playful

Step 4: Put that picture somewhere where you can see it every day. You might even put your “I am” statements with it.

This might seem like a silly exercise, but I promise you when you execute it well, it will change things for you in powerful ways.

For example, I had a client who is a high-performing senior manager and I was worried that he’d think it was a stupid exercise. But he embraced the activity and he said it changed him in the following ways: it helped him to re-connect to the kid inside of him, it brought him tremendous empathy for himself (which he could also then extend to others), and it helped him re-connect to the joy in life, his wife and his kids.

Any of these approaches will help you find and trust the inner spirit that served you so well back in the day.

Do you know the one?

The one that wasn’t afraid to conquer new worlds, who found joy in the adventure and didn’t worry about falling short or failing – because that was all part of the fun.

I hope that you’ll give one of these 3 activities a try, or better yet, use them all. They work together.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a note. I am always happy to answer questions!

Subscribe to the Find
Your Forward Newsletter

Find Your Forward is my bi-weekly newsletter to move you forward when you are stuck, facing a crossroads, or adapting to a fast-changing world. No matter where you are, there is always a way forward.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.