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Move Your Position: Living By Design

Dr. Phil "Phil's In The Blanks..."


For worksheets, tests and more Living by Design click here.


Are you living a life that is more in tune with your "authentic" self (who you were created to be) or your "fictional" self (who the world has told you to be)?

When you're asked, "Who are you?" what is your answer? "I'm a mom." "I'm a doctor." "I live in Ohio." Often the answer is not who you are, but what you do, what your social station is, or how you see your function in life. You can't answer who you are, because you don't know.There is another level of existence that is the real, true, genuine substance of who you are.

Authentic Self

The authentic self is the you that can be found at your absolute core. It is the part of you not defined by your job, function or role. It is the composite of all your skills, talents and wisdom. It is all of the things that are uniquely yours and need expression, rather than what you believe you are supposed to be and do.

Fictional Self

When you're not living faithfully to your authentic self, you find yourself feeling incomplete, as if there is a hole in your soul. You may have found that it's easier to fill the roles your family and friends expect of you, rather than becoming who you really want to be. Living this way drains you of the critical life energy you need to pursue the things you truly value.

When you live a life that has you ignoring your true gifts and talents while performing assigned or inherited roles instead, you are living as your fictional self.

The fictional self sends you false information about who you are and what you should be doing with your life. It blocks the information you need in order to maintain the connection with your authentic identity. Relying on information from the fictional self means you're putting your trust in a broken compass.


Who are you?

How did you get to be where you are?


I’d rather be right than__________________________?

I would rather be happy, than right

Move your position from being right to being happy

Good news: The only person you need to make this change is YOU Bad news: The only person you need to make this change is YOU
* The only person you can control is YOU. *


Listed below are a series of situations. Finish each of the sentences briefly, using as many descriptive terms as you can. Include emotions (sad, angry, hurt, happy, hopeful, scared, tense), physical reactions (tired, shaky, sweaty, hyped-up, weak-kneed, full of pep, headachy), and thoughts (“I can’t do this,” “this should be fun,” “he doesn’t like me,” “she’ll probably say no,” “it’s my fault”).

When someone compliments my appearance, I . . .

When a family member criticizes something I do, I . . .

When I make a wrong turn on the road, I . . .

When I need to register a complaint with a business associate or vendor, I . . .

When a total stranger treats me badly, I . . .

When someone close to me successfully gets in shape, I . . .

When the service in a shop or restaurant is poor, I . . .

When someone does something special for me that they don’t have to do, I . . .

When I forget to do something I promised to do, I . . .

When my boss asks me to redo something at work, I . . .


Now that you’ve taken a first look at some of your typical reactions, I want you to go back and give them a second look. Put a star (*) next to every statement you’ve written above that could be categorized, either partially or wholly, as a negative assessment of yourself. In other words, what negative self-talk are you throwing at yourself in these situations? Once you’ve identified the negative internal dialogue, use the spaces below to answer this question about each of the situations in which you put yourself in a negative light: What do you get out of reacting with self-criticism? This is what the payoff factor is all about.

The low self-esteem acted out in your internal dialogue can be a handy excuse for choosing not to change, not to challenge yourself, not to step up to the plate. What’s the payoff for you?











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