Be You

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on

community wellness and inspiring others.)

Throughout our lives, the suggestions, comments and advice we receive from well-meaning family, friends and colleagues help shape the person we will ultimately become. Underneath it all is the individual we were born to be. While it is, of course, important to be grateful for those who are willing to share their experiences, thoughts and encouragement, it is critical to complete regular self check-ins to ensure that the path we are on is our own.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know the difference, but leading a life that is based around your unique likes, dislikes, skills and natural talents helps you to build confidence, character and a strong foundation for success, while living a life of purpose.

Here are some ways to stay in touch with yourself:

Start a journal.

Try a new hobby each month.

Practice meditation.

Start a scrapbook.

Go through old photos.

Visit with relatives.

Consider the activities that bring you joy.

When you think about the future, where are you and how do you plan to get there?

Ask yourself: What is my highest core value?

Consider your circle of friends – do they lift you up or lead you in the wrong direction?

Never stop learning.

Discover ways to give back to the community.

Speak the truth.

Examine your values.

Listen to your conscience.

Take some time to jot down a few of your attributes.

Do the same for your flaws and learn how to embrace them.

Never settle.

Own your decisions.

Travel and discover.

Evaluate your grades – there are some hidden messages in there.

Realize that if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Meet with a counselor or mentor on a regular schedule.