Do you know? Many people don't. I know I didn't until I came across it in my coaches training.

The definition of a personal foundation according to Coach U is:

"A structural basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life. One's personal foundation is composed of 3 elements, the What, the Who and the How of a person."

Notice the words "structural basis". Just like a house needs a foundation in order to support it, or a plant needs a root system to support it, a person requires the structure of a personal foundation to support him or herself. A skyscraper requires a much deeper foundation than a house because of its size, so if you want to grow BIG, you require as strong a personal foundation as possible.

A person's personal foundation literally becomes the platform from which everything else in one's life develops and grows. Without one, a person can spend most of his or her day struggling to just keep up with each crisis that may come his or her way. At the end of the day, this person is exhausted and is a far cry away from leading the successful and happy life that he or she wants. A house that does not have an adequate foundation will crumble under stress, and a plant without an ample root system will uproot itself under a heavy wind.

Imagine for a moment that your personal foundation is like a suit of armor and that you are traveling along a path that is very dangerous. The whole path is covered with stinging nettles and with each step you take something hard and heavy is being thrown at you.

With your suit of armor, you can make to the end of the path quite easily and with no harm done to yourself. Without one, how far along the path do you think you could go before the discomfort of the stinging nettles or the things being thrown at you would knock you over and stop you in your tracks? If you did get up tried to continue down the path, you would most likely spend most your time trying to avoid the stinging nettles and the things being thrown at you. You may or may not make it to the end of the path, and if you did, you most certainly would be exhausted and very bruised.

Now think of the things that you encounter on a daily basis that are uncomfortable and can knock you down. Wouldn't you want the armor that the personal foundation provides to get through your day with ease and success? Wouldn't you want to stop wasting your time trying to avoid these situations and put your time towards creating a terrific life?

You can live with a weak personal foundation, constantly getting further behind than ahead, or you can begin building a reliable and steadfast personal foundation and embark on a journey of prosperity and growth. The choice is yours.

The second part of the definition of personal foundation relates to the 'elements' of a person: the body (the WHAT), the Spirit (the WHO) and the mind (the HOW).

The "What" of whom you are (or the body) is the way that you present/express yourself in the world.
It is the way that you behave and what other's see and experience when they encounter you. When you are lacking a strong personal foundation, this aspect of yourself is often WAY out of proportion with the rest of yourself. You are caught up in the 'roles' you play, the 'image' you present to the world and make decisions in order to 'look good'. In the process, you tend to lose the sense of 'WHO' you are and the 'HOW' gets wrapped up into how to show off your best 'image/role'.

The "Who" of whom you are (or the spirit), is WHO you really are inside. This is about your authentic self, the core of your being. This has nothing to do with the roles you play, be it 'mother', 'wife', or 'career woman'. The 'Who' is about what is most important to you, your dreams and your passions. Ask yourself if you know what is truly most important to you, what your dreams are and what you are passionate about? Many people with weak personal foundations cannot answer these questions. Can you? If not, then the real you, the real WHO, is lying dormant inside and I would venture to guess that as a result, you are not fully happy with your life.

The "How" (or the mind) is about HOW you decide to express the "Who". Together, (How + Who) determine the "What", or what other people experience when they are around you. Once you have taken the time to truly uncover and discover your authentic self (the TRUE WHO) you can decide (in your mind) "HOW" you are going to express yourself in the world in order to be true to yourself. The 'What' then simply becomes an expression of what you have determined in the 'How" If you have not taken this time, however, and you live your life within the roles you play and the images you present, then HOW you present yourself has nothing to do with WHO you really are.

The other day on Oprah, she said something quite remarkable.

"If you don't express the WHO of who you are, the WHO of who you are gets REPRESSED and then eventually DEPRESSED."

As you can see, taking the time to build a strong personal foundation, allows you the strength and resiliency to deal with life in an effective way, while being true to WHO you really are. You will have created the structural basis to support you in living an exceptional life and in the process significantly increase the quality of your life. A strong personal foundation is a necessity if you want to live a vibrant, happy and authentic life.

Now that you know what a personal foundation is, are you going to do anything about it?


©Cheri Baumann, Life Strategist, Personal Development Coach & trainer with My Private Coach, Personus Coaching & Training, and the University of British Columbia. Her coaching specialties are personal foundation and life strategy. Her coaching style is quiet, with an intuitive strength that promotes self-discovery and positive change in an accepting and playful atmosphere.

You can get more information about Cheri at and contact her for a complimentary coaching session at either or . This article may be published without the consent of the author as long as the publisher's box is included in the post.