What is Your Identity?

CompassEveryone looks back at decisions made in the past and contemplate how life could be different. What would your life be like if you took that job in Atlanta instead of Aspen? What if you chose to go to a different college?
Life would be different. You would have met different friends, learned different work/life skills, and remember different memories. No matter what path your journey took place, you would be you, and possibly a different you.

Big decisions alter your life trajectory. Small, daily decisions compound and define your identity.

Identity Crisis Breakthrough

How you live affects your present and future life. Duh! What you eat, your exercise, and your attitude are present short-term decisions that compound over time for long-term health and form your identity. Your identity is now a marketable word for people to help you protect your legal identity. Yes, that’s important, but the identity that is more important is the one perceived through self-reflection.

The best way to think about your identity is to think about how you carry yourself. Don’t get fixated on what people think about you, but do acknowledge that their observations are your identity in the outside world. If you’re confused, just ask your friends, colleagues, and mentors for frank feedback. Beware, people will tell you that you’re great. Acknowledge them and say, “Thank you for your response. Now please tell me how I can improve.”

Decisions: Handle with Care Enron Ethics

Persist to be better! Handle adversity with integrity. If you start slipping by cutting corners in unethical ways, those decisions will compound and later define your identity. Just look at every exposed scandal out there. Enron’s leaders didn’t make just one decision that led to their horrendous failure. The leaders made a series of decisions that led to their downfall. My challenge to you is to avoid your own downfalls.

Get a Code

As a Rotarian, we recite the four way test at the beginning of each of our Rotary Club’s meetings:


If this code doesn’t excite you, find your own ethical code to live by. Your career and your sleep schedule will thank you. It’s much easier to reach peace of mind if you know you’re acting true to what you know is right.

Eye of the Beholder Optical Illussion

If you look at this picture, you can see two different images: an old woman looking down or a young woman looking away. My point is: you can carry yourself a certain way and believe you’re casting off your desired identity or you can actually be casting a completely different image.

Be mindful and ask for feedback.

What is your identity? How do you want others to perceive you? Do you think you’re doing all of the right things to achieve your desired identity? This is where third party opinions are helpful. Ask the people close to you and ask them to define your identity. Then pay it forward and ask them right back, “What is your identity?” This exercise will get you both thinking and on the way to a better mindset.


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