Knowing who you are is one of the most interesting journey’s you can take in life. It has the potential to be filled with discovery and wonder, curiosity and amazement, purpose and potential and yet as a question “Who are you?” or more to the point “Who am I?” is referred to regularly as the one question that leaves a large majority of people feeling confused and challenged on a daily basis
Recently I’ve been working with a new set of clients and while their challenges have been varied, the primary root cause underlying their frustrations and limitations has been confusion. Specifically self confusion which I see as potential identity crisis. This topic has come up so often that I wanted to share with you a little about identity, identity confusion and how to overcome it over the course of December
First up let’s take a look at the first question to ask ourselves. “What is identity?”
Identity is the underlying element of who we are. It’s how we define ourselves – our sense of self. It is also how others define us – and may, particularly in relation to business be described using words such as brand or branding, personal brand or reputation
It is also the sum of all of these things – who we are, our sense of self and how others define us
It is all of the different roles we play – partner, parent, business owner, friend, sibling, speaker, creator, marketing manager, author, student, and employer and so on
A bit about the history of Identity Confusion
Erik Erikson a German psychoanalyst defined the theory of psychosocial development. Within this theory stage 5 known as Identity versus Role Confusion states that adolescence is the time of our physical and emotional development and it’s key themes are “Who am I and where am I going?”
There is a large percentage of conflict within the internal and external world in adolescence as it’s a time when we attempt to establish personal identity and a time when traditional adolescent behaviours of experimentation and rebellion are dominant. Erikson termed this conflict as Identity Confusion or Identity Crisis – the critical state we find ourselves in when we are not clear on who we are
The thing is, this period of confusion is not limited to just the period of adolescence. It can strike us at any time and in particular shows up when we are overwhelmed, self doubting and feeling less valuable than we deserve
So when you are asked “Who are you?” do you answer confidently or feel an instant wave of fear wash over you? do you stumble over your words and wonder what to say or where to start?
How do you think you come across if I’ve just described as I’ve just described?
Why is it important to create a clear identity for yourself?
- Personal identity is perhaps our greatest inbuilt asset
- Identity is more valuable than any material possession
- It’s something we have the ability to influence, change, and mould, define and create
- Personal and business identities are very closely aligned to the point where they can be one in the same in small business
From a business perspective the main points that come to mind are…
- We have a need to, in today’s technologically focused world where everything we are and do is potentially available for potential customers to see, be increasingly aware of our personal / business identity, what we are putting out into the world
- Identity confusion leads to client confusion which can lead to repulsion, the opposite of a key business function for success, client attraction
Ahead of the next installment in this series where I share with you key insights into how to create a powerful identity I invite you to think about your own identity and what you’d answer if I asked “Who are you?”
Until next time I wish you a limitless life, filled with succulent, effortless success