How to create lasting change (clue: it’s all about identity)

I go through phases with cleaning.

Sometimes (occasionally!) the moment will take me and I’ll have a big clean up and put everything back in its home. Then, for about 2 weeks, I’ll make a really concerted effort to tidy up. Not to allow the huge pile of clothes to accumulate by the bed and the cups, with a remaining inch of tea and a festering teabag inside them, to commune by my desk.

But usually, despite my best efforts, little by little my motivation ebbs and our space goes back to its natural form – a happy community of cups and clothes in various piles around the floor.

The trouble is that I know I’m a messy son of a gun. I think of myself ever so adoringly as a bit of a scruff-bag. What can I say – the fridge magnet that says “boring women have tidy homes” speaks to me!

And so if I ever really wanted to have a super clean space – this is where I’m going wrong.

Ally is an apple and she's also a BraeburnThe identity issue

What I’m talking about here is identity – how you define yourself to yourself. There are a whole load of ways that people define themselves – by their relationships (mother, sister), their work (consultant, fundraiser), their interests (cyclist, crafter), their habits (messy bugger) and these are all parts of our characters.

The way we see ourselves is important because it impacts how we think about ourselves and talk to ourselves, the way we feel, and how we act.

And what’s really interesting about identity is that so often we see ourselves through a past lens. For example, after an event that didn’t go so well maybe you see yourself as “not good at public speaking” and live with that perception going forward. “I’m not good at public speaking” becomes the dominant narrative or story for you.

Can you see how this is limiting?

Proactively create your identity

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You can either allow your identity (the way you see yourself to form) or you can be proactive. Decide how you want to be seen by yourself, and the world aound you, and make it happen.

If you want to be something in this world the first step is all about seeing yourself as the sort of person who would do that. To start identifying with yourself as a speaker, a box breaker, a change maker.

The second step is finding inspiring people who already live the life you aspire to – how do they walk, dress, act, talk? Who are they being? And what do they do differently to you?

Finally, spend time visioning this person you want to be, the way you want to identify with yourself. Getting clear on the detail in your head will make it a lot easier to create in reality.

Apple’s in your court

  • As you read this blog, what are you aware of in the way you see yourself?
  • In what you want to achieve, who do you know you’ll need to become?
  • What’s one identity change you can start working on straight away?

Come on over to Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 14.01.35 and join in the discussion now.


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    Copyright ©Joey Clifton 2014 | Website Design by Lisa McLoughlin Art

    © Joey Clifton 2014-15 | Website Design by Lisa McLoughlin Art