Even though January 1st is officially the beginning of the new year, because the school calendar is so ingrained in my psyche, I view August and September as a new beginning and a poignant time to reflect upon where I am in my life and what I want to accomplish. After years of "back-to-school" shopping, it is also a great time to look at how you want to express yourself to the world.

When my three daughters were young and had to wear uniforms to school, their book-bags were their big form of self-expression. We would discuss the kinds of bags they each wanted to carry (backpack, messenger bag, shoulder bag, wheely-book bag), the fabric, and the pattern (leopard, cupcakes, hearts, or basic black). Then I would do extensive searches trying to find the perfect book-bags that would communicate to the world who they were that year. As my children got older so did their forms of self-expression. Their desires were based as much on the activities and friends they were involved with as they were a reflection of their sense of style. I thought we had hit the pinnacle of self-expression when we put together my first daughter's dorm room but over the years, as my daughters have moved into new apartments, making these spaces into a statement of who they are -- the image they want to project to the world as well as the emotions they want to feel when they walk through the front door -- became a whole new challenge.

Working with my daughters, I became fascinated, looking at all of the ways people communicate to the world who they are without saying a word. In the past, I have used color, clothing, decor, and the music I blare in my car to express who I am. But as I look around lately, I see people expressing themselves in everything from the cars they drive to the tattoos they have on their bodies to what they "like" on Facebook.

In "The Code of Supreme Beauty" in her book Courage, Debbie Ford wrote: "You are always communicating something about who you are and your belief in your own value. If you do not find the courage to embody your message on every level of your being, you will not reach the hearts that are waiting to be touched by you."

It is crucial that we understand that every choice matters and that we are always, through every level of our beingness, communicating to the world who we are. Debbie also said, "You may think that if you take the actions or if you say the words, you have done enough. You may think that you don't need to take responsibility for embodying the message you are sending. But if you think you can just say things without truly owning and embracing that which you already are, you are just putting ice cream on top of poop."

To be able to stand in who you are, to let your authentic self be seen and to have the confidence to communicate that to the world, whether it be through your social media posts, the people you hang out with, the kind of pet you have, or even the way you wear your hair, are truly acts of courage! What could be more supremely beautiful than showing the world who you truly are?

Transformational Action Steps

(1) Look around the different areas of your life and reflect upon what those areas as they look today are communicating to the world about you.

(2) Take on one area where what you are communicating feels out of alignment with who you truly are.

(3) Determine what that area would look like if it were an accurate expression of who you are.

(4) Take two actions steps each week to bring that area into alignment so that what the outer world sees is in sync with who you are.

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Kosow is a Master Integrative Life Coach, CEO & Program Leader of The Ford Institute. She is a leader and teacher of emotional education, shadow work, and personal mastery.

In 2007, Kelley joined The Ford Institute staff. She was hand-picked and personally trained by the late Debbie Ford to lead her programs and continue the legacy of her life-changing work. Known as a “coach’s coach,” Kelley works with individuals, groups and corporations world-wide.

Kelley is a graduate of Brown University and University of Miami Law School. Kelley has been featured in local and national media. Oprah Magazine named Kelley as someone who could “Dream it, Do it.” She has been featured in In Style, People, NY and LA Times, and Conde Nast Traveler.

Kelley's book The Integrity Advantage will be published by Sounds True in November, 2017.