What would you say if you met your past self for a coffee? Of course it would depend on which past self you chose to meet. Perhaps you would chat like old friends and perhaps the conversation would be a little guarded, a little judgemental. How do you feel about the connection you have to the person you were five years ago?
This is me five years ago, reading one of the very first copies of the first printing of my first book. I was really excited. I thought that finally finishing a book would change everything. But it didn't seem to make much difference. The business didn't grow. A few people loved what I had written, but for the most part, life chugged along with the same ups and downs.
Like any dream that doesn't quite live up to our hopes, this one stung a little. I kept meaning to go back and rewrite the book for publication and I kept putting it off. Reading it was hard and I had a lot to do that felt more forward-thinking and more productive. So I kept doing that instead.
Until this week. This week I closed myself into a hotel room with my book and started reading and making notes. As I expected, the going was rough in places. There are some places I winced a little, wondering how I thought that transition or that explanation would work for a reader. Some parts of the argument felt a little foggy or a little distorted. And yet. . .
Here was the blue print for everything I have created in the past five years.
It turns out that all the twists and turns have been in service of a remarkably consistent vision of how people work and what work I want to do. And maybe most remarkably (and hardest to admit), I'd like to have coffee with the person who wrote this book. I think we could meet as friends. She's not nearly as confused as I thought she was.
I get to see the path I have been following because I wrote something big five years ago, and stabilized what I was thinking and what was important to me. You don't have to write a book to do this, but it's worth considering what you were doing 5 years ago that might allow you to step back in time now and notice who you were and who you've become and how those two connect.
Congruence doesn't just mean pulling all parts of yourself together in this moment: it means that this moment contains all your past selves, and it's worth being curious about where they line up.