Your identity is who you see yourself as. It can sometimes develop because of what people tell you, you are in words or actions. As a schoolchild I was a survivor fighting the bullies. When I left school, I was a dancer, a clubber. In my twenties a career person. Later a Spouse and parent.
How do you claim your Identity?
But does your work, your occupation define you? For example, what do you say when you meet somebody at a function and, respond to the question “What do you do?” Depending on your answer, you may feel you are defining yourself to that person by what you do. But is that who you are?
If you learn the art of networking, you may choose to illicit curiosity by sharing the outcome attached to your occupation. We then get the cliched conversations around “I help businesses to grow” type of response which is supposed to lead to “How do you do that?”
In, the past few years the likes of the excellent Simon Sinek, have taught us to embrace the importance of “Why.” The importance of why we do what we do. Our motivation, mission, and vision. Those drivers that inspire us to do what we do.
While I wholeheartedly endorse the importance of knowing and sharing our “Why,”
the difficulty is if we are unsure about who we are, we will struggle to find the right why. Our who, our identity is something only we, ourselves can define. If we allow others to dictate and define our identity, we will pick causes and ambitions that are out of sync with our values. It’s our values that are the driving force behind our identity.
We have all probably met someone who studies law or medicine because it’s a family tradition, only to find out that their ladder of ambition is up against the wrong wall. They will have an unfulfilling career unless they pursue the right path for them.
So, is our identity fixed or is it a Process and is our identity wrapped up with our Purpose?
Identity as a Fixed or spiritual calling
Theologians and followers of religions will, depending on their faith often entwine identity with spiritual calling, with their belief in the one God.
Identity as Process
Others, including Existentialists take a very different view and argue “Existence before Essence.” They see the value of human life expressed in freedom, authenticity, responsibility, and a self, which is experienced in relation to others. Thus, identity is more fluid and develops through experience.
When identity becomes a barrier to change
How often do we hear ourselves saying things like, “I’ve always had a money problem” or “I’ve been unlucky in business.” We tell ourselves so often, having a money problem or a belief success in business requires luck it becomes a consistent reality, an identity.
We become who we tell ourselves we are.
So who do your clients think you are and is your identity the same as your Purpose?