Engaging the Secret Power of Identity
You’re better at every aspect of leadership when you have a clear sense of personal identity.
The path toward self-knowledge requires self-awareness, but 85% lack self-awareness.*
Find identity in:
- Personal story: Experiences and environments that shaped your values, priorities, and self-awareness.
- Personal strengths, talents, and abilities: Traits that came to you by birth or development.
- Passionate mission: How you aspire to make a difference in the world. You live up to your mission.
You never arrive where you need to go until you catch a glimpse of who you might become.
Identity enables and enhances:
- Relationship building.***
Identity establishes trajectory.
You move toward your identity.
You move toward perceived strengths and away from perceived weaknesses.
Your identity carries you toward your future. The only way to sabotage the power of your strengths is to focus on improving weaknesses.
Identity enables grit.
I remember being surprised at the grit I found in myself while recovering from a nearly fatal accident. One day I looked in the mirror and saw a bit of my father looking back at me.
Dad’s grit is part of my story. He modeled endurance and it became part of my identity.
A warning about critics:
Critics point out what shouldn’t be done. But you never build a bright future by “NOT DOING.”
Destructive critics work to form you into their image and minimize your identity.
Jerk-hole-critics throw stones from the sidelines. Forget them. Keep moving forward!
Ignore the losers who think they know what you should do, when they aren’t doing it.
The sting of criticism causes tender-hearts to pull back. The critic moves on with their life, while their victim becomes less of who they might become.
Never live down to your critics. Live up to your aspirational identity.
Where might we find our identity?
How does a clear sense of identity enable and enhance leadership?
*What Self-Awareness Really Is
**Self-Awareness and constructive functioning.
***A longitudinal, mixed method evaluation of self-awareness training in the workplace.
Thank Dan! I really need this today! I had a clear sense of my identity but have recently been pulled away from this. This helped me get back on track!
Thanks Kelly. It’s so easy to get lost in busyness. We can’t find the life we want when we leave ourselves behind and get lost in doing.
Have a great day
Ha Ha! I love your comment to Kelly. We are Human Being, not Human Doing. So we focus on who we are, not what we do. Thanks for sharing!
Great post again Dan! It reminds me of the old poem The Guy in the Glass (mirror) last bit:
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.
Thanks Duane. Awesome poem. So glad you stopped in today.
You don’t need a well-developed sense of identity to apply and follow the “Rulebook”. In fact, in may organisations, your identity is something you leave at the door because it’s an impediment.
Thanks Mitch. You speak the truth. And the organizations that expect you to just keep the rules get employees who often act like the walking dead.
Brilliant!!! Identity is so important to success in life, and the life in success. Identity can be received, developed and owned from others. But ultimately the path to full realization in that identity is personal journey and process. That personal journey and process helps build our own values, traits, personality, merits, character and ultimately personal identity. Our identity can be shaped by beauty, brilliance, power, values, virtue and distinction we see outside of us. Sometimes they are shaped by the hard knocks, hurts, lack, falsehoods, negativity, etc.. One who is secure in the former traits rises above the depths of criticism and negativity, and makes his/her mark in life. Their security is seen in their identity. In other words, don’t let critics provide you an identity. Make your own through your personal journey and process. As John Mason aptly put it, ‘You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.’
Thanks for sharing this truth, Dan!
I read the headline too fast and initially though the post was the “Power of Secret Identity!” However, if you are confident in your identity, it can be powerful!
Thank you SO much for this article! I have set reminders in my calendar to re-read every few months. I have in the past had my spirit and heart broken by critics and now I have found my strength and I can focus on that. I do not have to improve my weaknesses to impress critics who point them out, instead, I say, that isn’t my area of expertise, and now, I don’t care. I still have value. I finally think I might accept myself and see that one major area of strength is enough.
Thank you for helping me stay positive in this world!
Love it! Great job ☺
Another clear and compelling post – who we are directs what we do. Who we could be opens up the possibility of growth, transformation, and so much more. Identity and vision are powerful concepts to grow into. Thank you, Dan!
We don’t “find” our identity. It’s already there. We must let our own identity emerge with compassion, courage, coaching, love, kindness … as we would for everybody else we care about. I would add that being who we are at our core enables us to thrive, not merely survive. When you look at the top regrets of the dying, Number 1 on the list is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” https://bronnieware.com/blog/regrets-of-the-dying/
We owe it to ourselves, to those we love and to the world in which we can make a vital difference to do nothing less. One more reminder: Everybody else is taken!