Today, I invite you on a journey of introspection and self-discovery.
It’s a journey where the destination is your true identity, the essence of your being that lies at the intersection of your past experiences and your vision for the future.
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Understanding Your Current Identity
We all have an identity given to us by our parents, sculpted by our genes and experiences, and influenced by our environment.
Your name, your physical characteristics, and even your behavioral traits to a large extent are determined by these factors.
This becomes the identity that the world sees and interacts with, creating a feedback loop of perception and validation.
However, this loop may not always represent who we genuinely are or want to be.
The feedback we receive from the world, whether direct or assumed, can be so overpowering that we may begin to accept these external voices as our identity.
This can leave little time for introspection, leading us to involuntarily live up to the labels assigned to us.
Questioning Your Identity
How do you want people to see you?
Every day you receive feedback about how you’re doing compared to others, from your colleagues, friends, or family.
These interactions may lead you to subconsciously become what others think you are, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But you have the power to reverse this, to choose your identity, and make it your self-fulfilling prophecy.
Choosing Your Identity
To choose your identity, first, you need to identify your core values.
What do you stand for?
What will you accept and what won’t you tolerate in your life? From a colleague, a parent, or an associate?
What behaviors will you condone and which ones will you disapprove of?
Your core values could be anything, ranging from generosity to hard work, intelligence, or kindness.
These values form the principles that you live by and the identity that you want to be known for.
The Exercise of Identifying Core Values
Identifying your core values could take time and introspection. Begin by researching a list of core values.
If you find twenty or thirty that resonate with you, that’s a great start. But remember, your goal should be to narrow down this list to around five core values that truly define who you are.
Your core values are your compass. They guide your decisions, influencing your actions, which in turn determine your results.
They can create the identity you truly want to be known for.
Living Your Core Values
Once you’ve identified your core values, it’s time to live them out. It’s not enough to merely identify and acknowledge these values, you have to actively embody them in your life.
This involves setting goals aligned with these values, strategizing on how to achieve them, and committing to action.
Consider Steve Jobs, for instance.
One of his core values was innovation, which was evident in the products he developed. Though he was a family man, it’s arguable whether the family was one of his core values, given that his existence was focused much beyond just family.
This illustrates that what we do and how we live can sometimes diverge from our proclaimed values.
Begin Your Journey Today
Your journey to choosing your identity begins today.
Start by identifying your core values. Let this list serve as a foundation for defining who you are, and for creating an identity that truly resonates with you.
It may take a few weeks, even months, but remember that it’s a journey worth embarking upon.
At the end of it, you’ll have an identity that you have chosen for yourself, shaped by core values that truly represent who you are and want to be.