Declare Who You Are!Jun 13, 2013
Morgan Freeman is a tremendous actor. But he didn’t become that actor, enjoying engaging and compelling roles until he was 50. He tells this fantastic story of declaring who he is on Oprah’s Master Class series.
In his early years of searching for acting roles, Freeman landed a role on PBS’s The Electric Company. In 1977 the show was canceled leaving Freeman with no income and no prospects. Years earlier he had worked as a clerk-typist. When he went to apply for unemployment benefits, the numerical code for clerk-typist was assigned to him. Clerk-typist was the only type of job he could apply for as he searched for work and sought to be approved for unemployment benefits. In the Master Class series, he described searching for clerk-typist roles all the while feeling a sense of deep internal discord. One day he walked into the unemployment office to address the supervisor, Mrs. Lipton. “I’m an actor, Mrs. Lipton.” Freeman declared. “With this clerk-typist code, you’re forcing me to be something that I am not.” Mrs. Lipton absorbed what he declared and stamped his unemployment papers “APPROVED” providing him with six months of unemployment benefits to search for acting roles. The rest is a history of extraordinary acting roles and accolades.
I was so struck by Freeman’s statement Declare Who You Are. This powerful statement got me to thinking about the ways external systems (like government programs), other folks’ beliefs and fears, notions of the “appropriate” chronological age to do certain things, or our own internalized beliefs and fears often collude to keep us from fully living who we are.
When Morgan Freeman declared who he was his acting opportunities multiplied. The power of his declaration put into motion his absolute focus. Hunger didn’t keep him from his focus. A lack of money didn’t keep him from his focus. “Practice your natural gifts,” He encouraged. I found this inspiring and incredibly relevant to my journey.
Declare Who You Are! I know so many people who are living their lives as clerk-typists; meaning their natural gifts and desires are limited by fear or compliance to systems suffused with lack and limits. Do you know artistically talented people who say “I really wanted to be an artist”, but instead they work as a lawyer because others made that declaration for them? Do you have natural gifts you possess, but have been led to believe you can’t or shouldn’t fulfill them? How enjoyable and fulfilling is your life? Your natural gifts are given to you to share. It is that deep, driving desire I’ve written about in the past. When we declare who we are and we believe our declaration, the Universe automatically begins to respond to the declaration. Our belief in our declaration begins to remove blockages and limitations.
You won’t know without trying. Declare who you are and focus your entire being on using your natural gifts and deep, driving desire as intended. How will you know that you can’t be an artist, life coach, business owner, mother, father, athlete, scientist, college student, leader, healer, or coach? I will only know when I declare, for myself, who I am. Be fearless—Declare Who You Are—and bring your magnificence to bear!
Jenny DuFresne is the CEO, Leaders Transform. Our mission is to develop leaders who grow, inspire, and evolve people, culture, and impact. Our team supports executive and mid-level leaders with executive coaching, leader, team, and culture development in mid-market companies. Learn more at www.LeadersTransform.com
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