BECOMING YOU - ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES TO LEVEL UP YOUR IDENTITY
How we portray our self and the lifestyle we choose ties into our identity. At times we feel confident about who we are and proud of how we identify our self. Other times, we feel lost, confused, unsure of what direction we are heading in. Certain ages and events prompt us to reconsider the way we are living our life and what we affiliate with.
If you are doing a little soul searching, summer is an ideal season to refresh and reflect. Late nights sitting on the pier or around the campfire are the perfect time to examine and explore your identity. Quarantine, has also been quite the opportunity for such introspection. Below are some tips to prompt further exploration of who you are and who you want to become.
Beware of limiting your identity
When we put considerable energy and focus into one specific thing, such as running, other strengths and talents may be overlooked. People are unique, complex, talented and have many dimensions. By choosing one thing, such as being a triathlete, to solely identify oneself, other gifts may be overlooked. Consider nurturing another interest and you may be surprised how much you may grow and learn from a new adventure.
Be open to new experiences
It sounds so basic, yet it is true. Try new things and explore. If you continually do the same things and never wander you are limiting yourself. Think back to a time that you did something reluctantly. Perhaps a colleague convinced you to check out a jazz band and that inspired you to learn to play a new instrument that you love. Often people allow unwarranted apprehension and fear to prevent them from moments that could be beneficial.
Translate skills and strengths into other areas
After I completed my senior year of college as a swimmer, I knew I wanted swim to be an ongoing part of my life. This meant I needed to redefine my identity as I transformed from a collegiate swimmer to a swim coach. Perhaps you were a high school athlete and now want to mentor young kids and teach them the importance of physical fitness and teamwork. Some famous professional athletes use their platform to advocate for causes important to them. The idea here is that the skills and strengths you have from one area of your life can transfer over and compliment other areas.
Understand the underlying reasons this identity is important to you
Go back in time and recall why you became interested in a certain part of your identity. What was the motivation for you to develop the skills and educate yourself in this area? For example, a nurse who was a patient in the hospital for an extended period when she was younger may have been inspired by the hospital staff that cared for her. Perhaps one component of your identity has been fulfilled and you have reached the initial goals you set out for.
Dream for your future identity
Imagining and visualizing what you want to happen is the first step to making something a reality. Give yourself permission to consider ANYTHING, even if it has nothing to do with your current lifestyle. When we are dreaming and imaging there is no harm done and it helps our brain begin to reconfigure. Sometimes we allow the past and expectations of others to define our identity. Why not write the definition yourself?
Recognize the value of NOT being in control
The way we define ourselves provides some sense of control. For example, a race car driver may structure his life to be all-things-NASCAR, from the clothes he wears to the podcasts he listens to and those he follows on social media. This driver may feel a sense of calm and peace when surrounded by others who have the same passion. Having familiarity is great, however sometimes that means we have said no to other things because we are fearful and feel like we can not control the outcome. In reality, many factors are out of our control and when we give our self permission to explore we often find value.
My hope is that you will take some time to reconsider the way you introduce yourself the first time you meet someone. If you were to take a bold leap and recreate all of your social media pages and professional profiles, what would they contain?