Identity and balance can both seem like these mystical unicorns for a select few entrepreneurs out there. How many times in your life have you wondered who you are? And how many times do you strive for this work-life balance that seems to change with every season?
I’m so glad you’re here because we’re breaking down both of these topics just for you.
Today’s conversation we’re diving back into the Mental Health Series with professional licensed counselor and my big brother, Josh Berger. Last time we talked a lot about fear of failure and fear of success. And today we’re diving into a topic that I know each and every one of us has struggled with and that is defining your identity and creating a sense of balance as an entrepreneur.
As we dove into the conversation about fear it really made me start to analyze my relationship with fear and my different experiences around that. And as I was analyzing this relationship I began to think more about my identity and how I view myself.
As entrepreneurs it’s easy to put our identity in our business and what we do, but we also need to slow down enough to think about what our identity is as a person, too.
YOUR IDENTITY IS UNIQUELY DESIGNED
Josh is the executive director at Alethia Counseling Center. Alethia is a Greek work which means “truth revealed”.
“Alethia is not some kind of catchy mantra for us,” Josh explains. “For us it’s actually the way we care for ourselves and for our clients by seeing truth and the truth revealed in our lives.”
For Josh he doesn’t just love helping people come up with affirmation statements like “you are enough”or “you are smart”, but rather actually being the one to walk with people about who you were designed to be.
What are your skills? Strengths? Weaknesses?
As entrepreneurs, it’s so easy to get our identity wrapped into our performance and our business’ success but unfortunately that “success” can be determined by the good or bad day/week that you had.
It’s helpful when you know your identity—when you know who you are, how you function and how you thrive—it is much easier to dive into winning over your fears of success or failure.
It can be tricky to separate how we view ourselves versus who we are as entrepreneurs and the work that we do. And that’s why we need to understand the importance of knowing your identity.
WHAT IS YOUR IDENTITY
Josh explains that identity is basically going down to the very rudimentary question: who are you?
Those three simple words you can wrestle with your entire life. Each day you can find new ways or nuances of understanding how you are wired. Whether it’s something as simple as introversion versus extroversion. Or even something more profound like, I’m very much a person who thrives as a manager while others may hate the idea of collaborating on a team.
Start basic when digging into who you are and be sure to answer the question “who are you?” not “what do you do?”
Our society is really terrible at understanding our identities outside of performance. For example, when you go to a dinner party, what is typically the first question you are asked? More times than not I’m sure you ask or get asked, “oh, what do you do?”
This essentially is the question we ask because we don’t know our own identity or how to ask someone to explain more behind who they are versus what they do.
Hit play above for some exercises to walk you through the questions to ask yourself as you dig into defining your own identity.
QUESTIONS TO DEFINE YOUR IDENTITY
- Who are you?
- Think about who would you be if you lost everything? And who would you be if you lost both your arms, legs, your Instagram, your kids, etcs.?
- Who would you still be?
When you have everything go well and disaster hits, in the end you are the same person. Regardless of the scenarios around you are the same person.
At the end of the day, focus on who you are and who you want to be versus the accomplishments and recognition you receive.
THE IDENTITY STRUCTURE
Josh explains an identity structure as a rough sketch of the many facets of who we are as a person. Imagine an old house with massive pillars or potentially a Southern house with white pillars on the front porch. There are so many important pieces of that house that make it what it is. And as humans, so do we. We each have our own core things that make us who we are.
Here is a breakdown of the core pieces—or pillars— of each of us:
- PILLAR: The first is your responsibilities and roles. This may include your work, volunteer commitments, or how you contribute to your family.
- PILLAR: The second is this idea of allies and heroes. These are the family and friends you’ve lived life with and want in your life.
- ARCHWAY: The third is character—the traits you have and continue to grow. Character is something that continues to be developed and that’s why it’s a doorway because it can continue to be opened and molded throughout your entire life.
- PILLAR: And the fourth pillar is history. Many of us put a lot of our identity in big successes or traumatic experiences. That history is a big part of our core identity.
- PILLAR: And the last one is our genetics. This includes your DNA (something you can’t change) as well as your health, mental health, etc.
One thing to note is that pillars make horrible foundations. If you tried to put one of those white pillars under a house it would crumble almost instantly. Each of these traits are not designed to be the cement foundation you need in your life. But like with a house, if a pillar is removed it would be very harmful to the house.
FINDING YOUR VALUE + PRIORITIZING BALANCE
Later in this episode, Josh dives into the big questions to ask family and friends to help us see our unique gifts and talents.
When we have someone who truly knows what they’re talking about and who sees treasure and truth in you, it changes everything. Josh shares about how a gentleman at an antique show brought in a blanket he thought was maybe worth $20-$30 later to find out it is a national treasure worth $500K. (Mid-Century Navajo Blanket Video). So many of us have hidden treasures inside that we need someone who sees us clearly to speak truth over us.
“Often times, the way we view ourselves is not the way we would treat others.” – Bonnie Bakhtiari
Josh encourages y’all to know you have value and gifts you may not see yet. “That’s the part of being able to bring other people in,” Josh explains.”The level of warmth and connection that you can have whenever you see other people speak truth into you and that see skills and traits you may not even notice changes everything.
It starts with this core truth idea that you are immensely valuable.
Sometimes it feels like uncovering buried treasure when you do this identity talk and when you walk with someone well through this process. But it is totally worth discovering so much more of who you were made to be.
Tune in as we dive deep into performance and identity, and balance and prioritization as an entrepreneur.
CATCH THE SHOW NOTE BREAKDOWN:
2:30 – Know your identity—who you are, how you function and how you thrive.
4:00 – What is your identity + the three simple words to help you find out.
6:00 – The dinner party question to avoid
9:00 – Questions to ask yourself as you define your identity
13:30 – What is an identity structure?
20:40 – How to find where you’re gifted and the big question to ask.
24:15 – The importance of speaking truth to yourself
27:00 – Finding your hidden treasure
32:00 – Identity of an entrepreneur
34:00 – An example of prioritizing your pillars and finding balance in your life
39:45 – Seasons of balance in work and life
“You have value and are incredibly gifted in ways that you may not even see yet.” – Josh Berger
If you want to chat with Josh for encouragement or advice on this topic you can email him directly at: email@example.com
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