Last month I asked my newsletter subscribers to share their biggest challenges and desires with respect to their current characters. This is because I’m working on a new character sculpting deep dive course called Stature, and I wanted to get clear about the real transformations that people want to experience. The questions helped people consider who they are now, who they desire to become, and the gap between those.
In this post I’ll share what my readers said they wanted to improve about their characters (without revealing anything personal that people shared in confidence).
I received many revealing replies, and I took a lot of notes. Then I re-read the responses and my notes again and looked for deeper patterns. It takes me many hours whenever I do this, but I always find it worthwhile. If I’m going to invest in creating a new course, I want it to be impactful and beneficial to those who enroll, so I need to know where my readers are struggling specifically. Then I spend even more time figuring out how I can help.
Ultimately I condensed the responses down to five core transformations that people are seeking here.
Whether you expect to join us for the new deep dive or not, I think you’ll find these transformations interesting. See if any of them resonate with you.
1. More Acceptance of Self and Others
The first transformation is to become more accepting of self and others. Many people internally resent some aspect of their lives – painful memories, disappointments with their health or fitness, mental and emotional struggles, unproductive behavioral patterns, and more.
Some people are concerned that they’ve become too judgmental all around, either beating themselves up internally or rejecting others too quickly. They realize that focusing too much on what they don’t want is only keeping them stuck. They’d like to relax and release some resentments and be more accepting of what they have to deal with, so they can progress to more interesting experiences in life instead of fussing so much with recurring problems. The excessive resistance often keeps them trapped in some form of experiential poverty, preventing them from accessing the most rewarding parts of life. They’re wasting energy resisting what is, and they see the benefit in freeing up this energy.
2. Commitment-Worthy Clarity
The second transformation is that people want more clarity and less confusion about their paths. Playing a confused and self-doubting character is getting tiresome for many people. They understand the importance of clarity, but they’re not sure how to create it for themselves, let alone getting it to stick with long-term consistency. Sometimes they feel envious of others who know what they want and are working to achieve it. At the same time, they also value freedom and flexibility and don’t want their lives to become too linear and predictable.
Character-wise these people expressed a desire for more definition, meaning, richness, depth, purpose, and contribution in the roles they play in life. They seem frustrated with the random currents of life tossing them around so much, as well as their own indecision, and they’d like to steer and direct their lives more consciously, deliberately, and consistently. They struggle to make this a reality, however, partly because they have high standards for which paths are truly commitment worthy. It takes a lot for them to really commit to a path, yet when they do commit themselves fully, they’re capable of accomplishing a great deal. We could frame this transformation as the quest to find a worthy commitment.
3. Alignment Among Values, Actions, and Social Circle
The third transformation is to improve inner and outer alignment, especially among values, behaviors, and environment. Many people feel that different parts of themselves are internally fighting with each other. One part wants to be ambitious while another part encourages laziness. One part wants to make detailed plans while another part wants to relax and go with the flow.
Many people also noted feeling misaligned with their environments, particularly their social circles. Some feel that no one in their life really gets them. When they try to express themselves authentically, they either hear cricket sounds in response or outright rejection of their ideas, which can be crushing. What they’d love to experience is a sense of internal and external teamwork. They want to stop wasting so much time and energy dealing with misalignments, so they can enjoy more flow and cooperation. The real challenge here is how to become a character who creates and maintains strong alignment inside and out.
4. Fierce and Fearless Self-Expression
The fourth transformation is to embrace authentic self-expression. People want to express themselves creatively through writing, music, art, speaking, coaching, making videos, deep conversations, and more. They want to feel free to speak their minds and not be overly concerned by others’ reactions. Many feel they’re being too quietly conforming, often keeping their opinions to themselves and not wanting to rock the boat.
This challenge is often combined with a lack of social alignment since if they do share their opinions, they’re not likely to receive much support for doing so; rejection from family and peers is likely. But deep down these same people see themselves as very smart, and they dislike that they’re holding their brilliance in check.
This also links with the third transformation about alignment. One mindset finds it prudent to stay quiet while another mindset wants to wield the courage to speak up and be heard (and feel respected for doing so). I found it interesting that several readers independently used the words “fierce” or “fierceness” to describe how they want to express themselves – all of them women.
5. Chill, Relaxed Confidence
The fifth transformation is to be more chill – to develop a sense of relaxed confidence both personally and professionally. People reported feeling stress, anxiety, and self-doubt with respect to certain challenges they feel they should otherwise be able to handle. Instead of feeling worried or overwhelmed, people want to say to themselves, “I’ve got this!” They’d like to build more trust in their abilities, intelligence, and instincts. They’d rather invest energy in taking action with trust and confidence to create meaningful lives instead of wasting energy on stress and worry. I detected some exasperation from those who feel they’ve been letting other people dictate the terms of life to them. I think they recognize that confidence is more energy efficient – not to mention more fun and rewarding.
Some people will resonate with all or most of these transformations because they tend to be connected. Others may only find one or two to be personally meaningful. I imagine that most of my readers will recognize their own situations in at least one of these.
Remember that these are compressed summaries of what people actually shared, so there’s a lot more to unpack here. In terms of alignment in particular, many people also shared specific values they want to elevate in their lives. Courage was a big one, along with fierceness, boldness, fearlessness, and more. I really got the sense that many readers want to step up and play stronger, bolder, fiercer characters for 2020 – no more holding back.
All five of these transformations have been a part of my personal growth journey as well, so I felt very connected to what people shared. Some of the messages were very moving, especially when people shared some of the events (often painful ones) that sculpted their current characters up to this point. I felt honored that people were willing to share such deep and intimate aspects of their lives, aspects that they usually keep to themselves.
These are difficult transformations indeed. So please don’t beat yourself up if you think your progress has been slow in the past. It takes a long-term investment in self-awareness and personal growth to work on these types of changes.
Moreover, we don’t just work through these transformations once – they come up multiple times as we go through life. There are many layers of acceptance, clarity, alignment, self-expression, and confidence to discover.