At the Keller Williams Family Reunion this past week there was a common theme woven through many of my friends’ takeaways.
Your identity is the key that unlocks your possibilities.
If you want to grow in business or any aspect of life, you must first seek to change the part of your identity that will allow the growth to take place.
Our identity is how we see ourselves and what we believe about ourselves. It’s part of the deepest levels of our mental & emotional programming. It will spring us forward or hold us back. We will default to our identities.
Get to know your identity
One of the best ways to understand your identity – how you see yourself, your values and beliefs – is through your inner dialogue. We have this constant “chatter” running through our minds that relives past experiences and dreams about the future all to make meaning and sense of the world.
Dr. Ethan Cross is a researcher & author of the book “Chatter.” He’s a world leading expert on controlling the conscious mind. His body of research says that the things we say in our head shape and reveal how we see ourselves.
He writes that our inner monologue “sews the past into the seams of our brain’s construction of our identity.”
When we barnstorm the house looking for our car keys and catch ourselves saying “I’m always losing things” that’s a window into an identity that believes “I’m forgetful.” When we comfort someone going through a difficulty, we might say “I can really help people.” Again, we can notice the identity that we have.
How identities control us
Dr. Cross says that once we form an identity and belief, our mind & body helps to bring that belief into reality. He says “your neural machinery brings it to fruition by increasing or decreasing the activation levels of other parts of the brain or body related to the processes you are forming beliefs about.”
He points to the fun and often cited “milkshake study” where participants reported feeling less hungry by simply believing they were drinking a fattier milkshake. They weren’t just saying that. Their bodies actually produced less hunger chemicals.
Dr. Cross, the “milkshake study,” and other research like it, point to the fact that our bodies physically respond to our beliefs & identities.
If our identity tells us that we can’t do something, are not good enough or are undeserving of something, our minds and bodies will support that. Our actions will then follow suit, which creates our results. Better results start with optimized identities.
We can change our identity
There’s good news and there’s bad news in changing our identity. Let’s get the bad out of the way. We cannot change our identity just by telling ourselves to change. That’s because our identity is programmed into our unconscious mind. We cannot make an unconscious mind change simply with our conscious mind.
Here is the good news. We can change our identity by changing the story in our mind. This happens on the unconscious mind level.
Our identities are simply stories we believe to be true. We have gathered evidence to support that version of the truth. The stories and evidence are shaped by our perceptions.
Here’s some ways to shift perceptions and give space to update our identities
- Let go of mental & emotional baggage. When we release emotions that are harmful to our identities, a better identity is able to emerge.
- Find better evidence. Find success in a different, yet similar identity. Notice the qualities of that successful identity and how it applies to the currently unsuccessful situation.
- Clean your external to cleanse your internal. Tidy-up your external spaces – houses, office, etc. The untidiness can add to stress levels, which tend to reinforce harmful identities.
- Detach from outcomes. We use identities to control our things that are uncontrollable. When we can detach from the need for specific outcomes, we can focus more on being present in our activities and avoid judgment around results.
The best news… these processes can happen naturally. You have certainly shifted some of your past identities.
Yet, if you want deliberate, intentional and predictable identity change, that’s when you need to seek out an expert in creating that change in people. Schedule a free 30 minute identity change consultation with Coach Carter.