Last week I was privileged to assist with a coaching training for social service professionals in northern Minnesota at a site dedicated for American Indians/Native Americans.

 

We were all invited to share something about how we got our names. 

 

One of the things I most appreciate about American Indian culture is the tradition of giving people more than one name, based on their spiritual essence.

 

One gentleman I met had been given the name “Little Turtle”. 

 

Little Turtle is ambitious.  His top strength is learning and he is working and studying to achieve his master’s degree.  (He plans to pursue his doctorate in Ashinabe culture and help his tribe.)   He shared that no matter what happens, that he feels content.  He is the dedicated single father of several children, who are the most important focus in his life.

 

I was struck by the perfect alignment between his essence and his name.  Like a turtle carrying his shell-home on his back, he carries a strong sense of home and valuing home wherever he goes.  He is deeply grounded in his truth and values, and methodically pursues whatever he puts his mind to.

 

When I was pursuing my master’s in counseling, one of my professors encouraged us to meditate and adopt a name that could encapsulate our coaching strengths.  Mine was “she who sees clearly”.

 

If you were to adopt another name honoring your values, what would you choose?

 

Children love to dress up as their heroes.  It is a way of identifying strengths and abilities they aspire to.  Most of us don’t have a tradition of adopting another name to identify and claim our strengths.

 

In the next week, I invite you to “name and claim” what’s most important to you.  What strengths, values and abilities are you most proud of?  Which ones do you aspire to?

 

And if there’s a playful name you’d like to give yourself, go for it!

 

Feel free to share this name with people who appreciate you.

 

And may you pursue your path, naming, claiming and honoring what makes you unique,

 

Best wishes,

 

Elizabeth