People spend big bucks, time in therapy and online destiny tests trying to discover who they truly are. While each of those may lead you to your true self, childhood – your own – provides a great breadcrumb trail to the “you” that you may have forgotten.

Why is authenticity important? When you’re true to who you really are you make and keep good boundaries. You speak/sing/write with your own voice (very important in life and business). You have the courage to be seen and heard, like stepping onto a TED stage or having that difficult discussion. The authentic you does work that you love, because you know your unique gifts and you serve through them. You are living your life, not the one that mom, your teachers or your high school advisor said you should.

When you get to your really real, most days you wake up energized, you’re grateful – and happy.

If you’re struggling in any area of your life, dig deep to remember who you really are. If you’re having trouble recollecting, here are 7 clues from your childhood that may help you rediscover the real you.

Your favorite things. For me it was teaching and writing. I set up a chalkboard in our basement and created a “school.” I also loved writing and one year I received a printing press for Christmas which really spiffed up my homemade newsletters. Clue #1: What were the things that you loved to do as a kid?

Your friends. The kind of people you hang out with says a lot about you. Tony Robbins says, “Who you spend time with is who you become.” Clue #2: Who was in your posse?

Old photos and movies. You can learn a lot about yourself from family albums and old 8mm movies. I know one woman who didn’t think she was a leader until she noticed that she was the perennial boss in their family’s Christmas movies. Clue #3: Who were you? What was your flair?

Your secret hideout. Mine was a creek bank. Leslie’s was a closet used for the Underground Railroad in her family’s home. This speaks to what recharges you, where you find peace and is Clue #4.

Your big wound. Life is school. We each have a wounding. For some it was being bullied on the school bus. For others it was getting cut from the team. It’s not the wound or the scar but how you healed that is a key to who you are. Clue #5 (and a potential indicator of the work you’re here to do.)

Your favorite books/video games/music. When we grow up, we often grow out of who we are and move away from the things that we loved and lit us up. Society, parents and school point us in certain directions because they believe there’s promise for a good job, a big paycheck, a good spouse, etc.  The downside is that we often lose our true self. Clue #6: What was your genre?

What Grandma saw. Our elders have a kind of vision that comes with wisdom. Often they see things within us which may have become invisible to us. As she was readying to make her transition, my grandmother, who knew I loved to write, whispered in my ear, “You have at least three books in you.” If you are blessed to have your elders still in your presence, talk with them and ask them what they see and remember in you. If they’ve transitioned, sit in meditation or journal to connect with their spirit. Your elders hold Clue #7.


Living a life where you make your own magic and live with authenticity is what really matters. If you’ve forgotten who you are, look inward and backward to remember.

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