Growing up in an Air Force family I got to move more than many of you reading this. It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood though that I noticed the phenomenon that I want to share about today.
When you move somewhere new and no one knows you, a couple opportunities present themselves.
You get a fresh start. A chance to choose how you want to show up - to redefine yourself and how people will experience you. You choose what you will commit to and where you want to lay low. This, of course, is only if you make yourself conscious of this and take advantage of the opportunity.
You also instantly lose your ‘notoriety’ - not in the public sense of that but in the sense that there were numerous people who knew your strengths, your accomplishments, your sense of humor, what they could turn to you for, people who enjoyed being with you.
This second point is an opportunity too but it can be a harder one to embrace.
A few years ago when I moved from New Brunswick, Canada to Massachusetts to Bill’s world I left what had been home for decades to a place where no one knew me. I began to know my in-laws truly after moving.
During those months it was interesting to be out somewhere with Bill and have people react to his name. ‘Oh, are you an Orr from the dealership?’. Bill’s family name meant something where we were living. It was fascinating to be known only for that inherited characteristic.
Now, in Texas, people don’t know the name Orr. (I hardly ever even hear ‘Are you related to Bobby Orr?’). People don’t know Bill and I where we live now.
There are benefits from new starts and I think some of these benefits we can get without moving to a new country, city or town.
We can get attached to our ego and the kudos we get from it without even knowing how attached and dependent we are on that. Fresh starts let us lay that down and just be known and loved for our core self. People in Wimberley that I hang out with now have never heard me speak, likely don’t read my blog, have never been coached by me or counseled by me and yet seem to enjoy my company. Cool.
When we receive attention and feedback based on accomplishments and performance sometimes we don’t get to enjoy the more basic sensation of purely being enjoyed without performing. New relationships are an opportunity to NOT present what we’ve done, ‘who we are’ through performance, degrees, who we know, etc. This may be scary but it is also so rewarding.
I can only imagine that it is like when a celebrity finds a little getaway place where nobody knows who they are. We all have that but on a different scale. There’s a weird mix of ‘don’t you know who I am’ and ‘I’m so glad you don’t know who I am’. Freedom and identity loss.
So, without moving how do we get this?
It can be simply moving in to a new club, meet-up, company, etc. We can make these transitions with intentional strategy to not hide behind or ‘benefit’ from telling all the new people in our life about our accomplishments. The benefits will be a chance to strip back how you’ve been used to showing up and rediscovering yourself.
How do you want to be known?
What is it people love you for?
What were you doing just to keep getting your ego stroked (that wasn’t life giving)?
Well, I’m going to practice what I preach and enjoy this new phase in my life of living in the country, outside of a small town where very few people know my name.
Here’s to all your fresh starts!
Until next time,