Episode 57: Do You Know Who You Are?
Hello and welcome back to the podcast! Before I dive into today I just wanted to make sure you knew about the free amazing webinar that’s happening next week. It’s all on kickstarting your confidence and it’s so good! So just want to make sure you’re registered for that and I have a fun announcement that I’ll be giving at the end of that webinar so make sure you’re a part of it. Go to Kickstart to save your seat!
I hope you had a safe and fun holiday this past week. I just got back from a ridiculously fun vacation to Utah. Like most of you, we had several plans change and get canceled due to COVID and new restrictions and we were pretty bummed about all of that so my husband surprised me and planned a super fun week exploring some of Utah’s amazing national parks.
Last year we went to Arches for the first time and it just blew me away. We went to Utah to pick up my daughter from her EFY camp and while we there we decided to make a trip out of it and on a whim almost we decided to go to arches and it just was more than we expected and we loved it way more than we anticipated. But my daughter wasn’t able to go with us since she was at camp and we knew we wanted to take her. So we drove over to Utah and social distanced in Zion’s national park – which was beautiful and incredibly hot. We stayed a good majority of our time in the river there. Then we went to Goblins Valley which is a state park and again, we did not anticipate just how much fun that place would be.
It’s a giant playground for kids and adults alike. You just explore and climb on all these amazing rock formations and there were several caves to explore and like crazy people we went in them – partly to hide from the sun as it was July 3rd and super hot outside. But we had so much fun. It’s definitely a new favorite for us.
Then we went over to Arches and I got the kids up at 4:00 for a sunrise morning hike. Last time we went we hiked up to the viewpoint for the delicate arch – which is the symbol on the UT license plates and it was anti-climatic as the viewpoint was fun but seeing the arch from far away wasn’t as fun as seeing it up close and personal. So we went in the morning to see the sunrise at the arch and we beat the crowds as it’s a popular favorite. We also beat the sun and the heat which was a major plus. We stayed there until around noon when it started getting toasty again and then went back to our hotel and back to A/C then we went back to the park at night to do a night hike which was so serene and quiet and just what a marvel to be out there with towering formations, we went to the landscape arch which is the length of a football field and seeing the night sky was just awe-inspiring. That was one of the most memorable fourth of July’s ever. Way better than fireworks! And that night the moon was ridiculously bright because there was also a lunar eclipse so just so fun.
My husband and I laughed because our vacation wasn’t very relaxing. We were beat each day but it was so fun and mentally exciting and inspiring to be surrounded by nature and away from the things of man and just alone with your thoughts – it was so good. So, highly recommend – go check it out!
This week I had another podcast planned but as I was up surrounded by the majesty of it all I was thinking about our place in space so to speak and who we are as an individual. I had this poster hanging in my schoolroom for the longest time – I homeschool btw if you’re confused at what I’m talking about – but the poster was a picture of our galaxy and this circled tiny speck of a speck dot. Like so small it’s hard to even see what that dot really is and there’s an arrow pointing to it that says, “You are here” – that’s earth, that’s us.
Carl Sagan once said,
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being … in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
Looking at our place in space through this lens it’s quite sobering and humbling and really begs the question to be asked, who are you?
We’re on this tiny planet, on a tiny continent, in a tiny state, in a tiny city, in a tiny house, in a tiny body, and yet, each of us plays a significant role in all of this.
I’ve always loved what Dieter F. Uchtdorf said about this, “This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast.”
This is what I want to bring to you today. I want to talk about something that is incredibly dear to me and a question at the heart of universally every human being. This is the question of identity and who you are as an individual.
Russell M. Nelson was once asked, “How can we help those struggling with a personal challenge?” And his response was two-fold. Just two things for each and every personal challenge. Pause for a moment, think of your specific personal challenges right now. Think of challenges that we face globally, or in your area, or with your family. Don’t dive into them – just think about what the challenge is and I’m going to tell what the solution to that is, what President Nelson teaches us.
He says, “Teach them their identity and their purpose”
Two things. Know who you are and why you’re here. How can this be the answer?
I’ve studied this for years. I think about this each and every time I come up against my own personal challenges and each and every time the answer is clear. Not easy, mind you but clear nonetheless. Now, I’m not going to tell you who you are because that’s your journey but I want to teach you the importance of identity and knowing who you are because this key element shapes your entire life and what you do because of it.
So let’s start here, who are you?
Remember that scene in the movie Moana where her grandmother is singing and she asks her, “Do you know who you are?” And she pauses and repeats the question to herself, “who am I?” And then she just starts listing who she is.
“I’m a girl who loves her island and a girl who loves the sea…” and I’m not going to go on you get the idea. But it’s such a big question and one that is so pivotal to everything for our lives but also one that our brain doesn’t want to think about because it’s so big. When was the last time you answered that question for yourself?
When was the last time you grabbed a piece of paper and just started answering and writing that question down? Never maybe? It’s okay, it’s not too late.
The solution to all our personal challenges lies in this answer, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to spend some time on it?
There’s a line from The Princess and the Frog that I absolutely love and sing all the time – and I promise after this no more Disney references but Mama Odie is singing her song and she says, “When you find out who you are, you’ll find out what you need – blue skies and sunshine guaranteed”
Why is this the answer? Why is knowing who you are the solution to any and all challenges?
The way we think about ourselves largely contributes to what you do. Think about the model for a sec and think about where your actions go in the model. Actions create our results. Actions come after the feeling. It’s the feeling that drives us and moves us into action. And before the feeling comes to your thoughts. Your beliefs about yourself.
Tad R. Callister once said, “Why is it so critical to have a correct vision of your (identity)?…because with increased vision comes increased motivation”
Got that? The stronger the belief, the stronger the feeling – the feeling which propels you forward and creates all you have in life.
A lot of people believe that they have to accomplish great feats before they can become something. For example, you’d have to sell a book or get it published before you’d consider yourself an author or a writer. You’d have to run marathons before you’d consider yourself a runner. You’d have to generate a specific revenue in your business before you’d consider yourself a real entrepreneur and businesswoman.
The problem here then is who are you in the meantime?
How many times have you said, “Well I’m not a (fill in the blank) but here it is”
I had a client who was an incredible artist and she said, “Well, I’m not really an artist but I do like to draw”.
Think about what that does to your mind and your model?
When you discount yourself because you haven’t reached some imaginary set point you’re also not generating the feeling needed to continue to move forward. What would happen if you decided you were an artist?
Think about this, if your identity is as an artist you’re going to be motivated to create art and you will carve out more time for it because you’re an artist. That’s what artists do.
If you’re not an artist but you just like drawing chances are you’re not going to be motivated to create or be motivated to show others because you’re not an artist.
There is power in your identity.
When you focus on the accomplishments and goals believing that when you accomplish a certain feat THEN you’ll be that identity is futile because you’re always going to wonder when you’ve arrived. There’s always going to be someone else better, or something else that you’re lacking and so the end goal of becoming is ever out of reach.
Whereas if you decide who you are now. I’m an artist then you’ll naturally feel motivated to do what artists do, you’ll set aside time, you’ll think about your piece, you’ll happily do the research and proudly share your work because you’re an artist. That’s what artists do.
Instead of focusing on the doing and all the steps required before you can get there and be that person -embody that identity you need to decide who you are because like Mama Odie when you find out who you are you’ll find out what you need.
In this manner, your focus isn’t the accomplishment or accolade but rather your focus is on becoming more of who you are.
For years I struggled with good eating habits. In college, I ran on yogurt and Slurpees. Then in my junior year, I had an overwhelming feeling that I need to switch majors from music to nutrition. I’d always been interested in healthy eating and learning about food and biochemistry but not enough to ward off my sugar addiction.
So when I switched majors I became a dietetics student. My sugar diet was incongruent with my new identity.
It was no longer a choice of, should I eat that or not? I really should eat better but a cold slurp sounds amazing. It was an identity shift of, “oh no, I don’t drink those anymore. I’m a nutritionist”. From that moment that I decided who I was in that area, I’ve never had a Slurpee since. I think it was the ultimate test because we moved to Puerto Rico where there was a 7-11 right outside our condo. It was literally a two-minute walk to 7-11 and I never stepped foot inside because it no longer fit my identity.
It’s important to know who you are because it creates a chain reaction to what you do and what you create.
This is why so many people struggle with new year’s resolutions and goals because they don’t really believe they’re that kind of person yet. They want to be, there is a desire to be but it’s focused on the goal and not the becoming. Instead of thinking about what the next step is we need to turn our attention to our identity and when that is established the how, the steps, the actions fall into place.
When you change who you are you change what you do. I love what James Clear says about this. He says, “True behavior change is identity change…Anyone can convince themselves to visit the gym or eat healthy once or twice, but if you don’t shift the belief behind the behavior, then it is hard to stick with the long-term changes…the goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader. The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become the runner. The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician. Your behaviors are a reflection of your identity.”
You need to be clear about who you are. This is why that question is so pivotal in your life. It has a direct correlation to what you do and what you create.
Each time you decide and you answer the question of who are you you’re giving your brain a job. Your brain is always solving problems so when you say, I am confident. It’s going to find and collect evidence to prove that true for you. You’ll remember times in elementary school when you stood up and spoke up for yourself and others. You’ll remember times you were afraid and you did it anyway because that’s what confident people do. Your brain will filter everything through that lens and when you’re confronted with a challenge it’ll ask the question, what would a confident person do? And then you’ll do that because that’s who you are and the more you practice this, the more evidence it finds for you the more you’ll become a confident person.
Knowing this, knowing who you are doesn’t make it easy. It won’t take away the challenges but when you know who you are it makes the how evident and clear.
You have to spend time with this question. Who am I? What would that kind of person think? What would that kind of person do?
When your family is in a heated argument who are you in that setting? What does that kind of person think? What are they feeling? What do they do?
When you have a desire within you to write a book do you spend your time believing you’re an author with a message to share? Or do you think, “I’m not really a writer, it’s just something for fun” – which is totally fine to do but if it’s a burning desire maybe you want to try that identity on. Maybe that IS who you are. And if that’s true, how does that change things for you?
The beauty of all of this lies in the ultimate gift of your agency. Things aren’t fixed. Just because that’s what you’ve always done in the past doesn’t mean that’s how it will always be. We have to believe that we can change when we decide to. You get to believe anything you want to believe about yourself.
Anne Frank wrote, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” You have that option. You get to decide right now who you are and who you want to be. Then keep asking yourself what that looks like, how can you stay in alignment with that? What would that kind of a person think and do?
My favorite quote, “You are a child of God of infinite capacity” – spend some time with that one. What does that mean for you? What does a child of the almighty, the creator of the universe, all-powerful mean to you? What does a person with infinite capacity think? What would they do?
In any given moment you get to choose who you are and what you can create. You are limitless. We are surrounded by abundance but it’s our thoughts that limit us. It’s our beliefs about ourselves that hold us back.
When I believe this I’m able to go and do. I’m able to move forward with certainty that I’ll figure it out because I’m infinite. It doesn’t mean it’ll come easily to me or naturally even. But it means that I have the capacity to and because that’s who I am, that’s what I’ll do.
Edison was an inventor but failed way more experiments than he ever succeeded and yet he continued because that’s what inventors and scientists do.
Babe Ruth was an all-star famous baseball player and yet he struck out way more than he ever hit home runs and yet he continued on because that’s what a ballplayer does.
Jack Canfield an American author was turned down by 144 publishers before finding a publisher and then sold over 500 million copies of his books worldwide and he did that, he kept going because that’s what authors do. He knew he had a message to share and that people needed what he had to offer so he kept offering.
This is why identity is so important. It aligns your actions and all you do to who you are. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. You will always know your course of action when you know who you are.
I invite you to spend time with this question. Daily even. The more you deliberately answer this question the easier it is to overcome challenges and setbacks. Ask yourself, who am I, and what does that kind of person think and do?
You’ve got this. Exciting week for you! Also, reminder, I’d love it if you could head over to iTunes and leave a review. It means so much to me and I appreciate each and every one of them! Okay guys, talk to you next week!