Reminding yourself of who you really are - an inspirational African Story

I talk a lot about knowing who you really are and how this has changed my life, as well as helping many others along the way on this journey of self discovery. When I was younger, my Mum used to say "everyone of us has been gifted with talents, we just have to discover what they are". My journey of becoming a Strengths Strategy Coach is living testimony to this as I discovered the 'Strengths Assessment' which accurately measures our innate talents and strengths and then my work on helping people how to effectively apply their Strengths in their lives. My life's goal is to spread this far and wide because I believe we are at our happiest when we are our authentic selves.

Why is this? Because we get to think, feel & behave in ways that are natural to us, and this energises us, and can have a positive effective on those around us. It also takes less effort than trying to be someone else. I love the quote "don't try be me, i'm already taken" and I have come to realise I love myself just the way I am because only I know how to be me. My challenge in life is to become the best version of myself for the benefit of myself and others.

However, my walk in life has not been an easy one. I have staggered through much 'self imposed' adversity - the old age adage of "if only I would have listened to my Mum". This is why I love the story below, taken from a story told by Alan Cohen in his book “Wisdom Of The Heart". It reminds us to go back to ourselves, our values, our heritage, our faith, our culture, and all those other things that make us uniquely and beautifully who we are.

It also reminds us to see people for who they really are and to remind them of this, be their mirror, and to not judge, criticise and 'jail' people with our negative perceptions.

"When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she's pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends. Together they pray and meditate until they hear the baby's unique song. As they attune to it, the women sing it aloud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child's song to them. When the child enters school, the villagers gather and sing the song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the altar of marriage, the person hears their song. Finally, when it's time for the soul to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.

There is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If, at any time during the person's life, they commit a crime or socially aberrant act, they're called to the center of the village. There, the people in the community form a circle around the person and sing their song to them because… A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you've forgotten it yourself.

Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.


Your soul has its own song. Your unique energy and purpose are expressed through your talents, passions, and visions. When you're in touch with your joy and act upon it, your heart feels full and your life is rewarding. When you're disconnected from your passion, you feel empty, your life is frustrating, and you wonder what you're doing here.

Yet even when you're distracted by the fears and troubles of the world, your song still lives inside you. Its tune is etched upon your soul more deeply than any experience could be. As you move through difficulties, detours, or setbacks, your spirit guides you from within, urging you to carry on and emerge shining. In the face of a great challenge, your inner knowing comes forth in unprecedented power. All of your life lessons help you get back in touch with the music of your soul.

Others may try to influence you to sing their song rather than yours. If you do, you'll become resentful and lose your voice. To regain it, get back in touch with your truth and act on it. Never deny your expression for another's. You can harmonize with and support someone else, but don't do it at the expense of your own happiness.

You best serve others by reminding them of their song. Judgment, punishment, and power plays don't correct; they only drive human beings further from their joy and aggravate pain and self-defeating behavior. When someone is in distress or conflict, help them remember who they really are, and they'll have no need to hurt others.

Authentic self-expression brings healing, release, and relief. Remember your song, and you'll become magnetic and compelling… you'll also find peace within yourself."

—Alan Cohen

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Sam McDonald has been married for twenty five years and has four children. Their home is in Camps Bay in South Africa. She is a Strengths Strategy Coach with a dream to have Strengths Facilitation Programmes in Schools at Government level.

She works with motivated clients using the Strengthsfinder® assessment as a power tool for:

  • Strength Based Interviewing & Recruitment

  • Assisting motivated individuals to fall in love with their careers and find the work they were born to do.

  • Working with high achievers to discover their value and purpose

  • Working with Start-ups to gain momentum, motivation & self-awareness of the Entrepreneur

  • Assisting Students to gain a greater self-awareness, expediting their career path, building confidence and self-esteem.

  • Working with individuals to re-engage in their work environments & leveraging their strengths

  • Working with marriage relationships to help you love again and understand the toxicity, reduce negative experiences, create understanding and, in turn, assist with long-term strategies for lasting transformation

  • Finding your true Purpose, Passion and Value in Life

  • Falling in love with your life and work again

She teaches the 'Interdependent Rules of Engagement© & 'Confident Vulnerability' to focus on living 'Interdependence' as the key to healthier environments - choosing this as 'rules of engagement' over 'Dependence', 'Co-Dependence' & 'Independence'.

She moved to South Africa in 1983 from Nottingham in the UK.


To Book a Speaking Engagement you can email Sam here or to hear more about you can bring People Acuity and Strengths into your organisation drop us a line here.


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