What Is Your Identity?
February 29, 2020
There was time when I was trying to figure myself out. Who was I , what were my beliefs and values. What kind of a person was I ?
In trying get understand myself, I read a few books on psychology. I also took the personality tests like MBTI and Strengths finder.
Through the exploration, I understood an important concept. I have certain mental and moral qualities that make me unique and define my character.
When others see me, they see me in the through the lens of my character . My character defines who I am.
My Character is made of 2 distinctive elements.
My Performance character
This represents the character skills that are intrinsic to me. In many ways my performance character defines the relationship I have with myself. Performance character traits are adjectives that describe the kind of attitude I display in my day to day activities.
Am I confident, hardworking, creative, courageous, optimistic,competitive, positive, focused, tenacious, responsible, self-aware, accountable, resilient, confident, energetic, disciplined, motivated, diligent…….(there is a big list)
Do I display perseverance, determination, initiative, self-discipline . Am I comfortable with delayed gratification etc.
Its the performance character that makes someone get up at 5 am every day to go for a run or get up any number of times in the face of failure.
My Moral Character
This represents those skills that govern my relationship with others. My moral character defines the behavior I bring to play when engaging with others.
Do I operate with Integrity, fairness, empathy, generosity, selfishness or otherwise,respect for others etc.
Am I loyal, trustworthy, encouraging, caring, reliable.
As an example, it is my moral character that defines whether I am great teammate or a loyal friend.
When friends or colleagues think of me and have to describe me, what would they say ?
Some may say- I am a creative, high energy, high accountability kind of a guy who is honest and generous. Some others may say I am an aggressive, not very disciplined, result oriented person, who operates with integrity and evokes a high degree of trust.
Through this process of self exploration, I realized that my character is my identity. I could alter my identity to align with the life story I was looking to script for myself. My identity became that “North Star” that helped me develop the right mindset, take the right actions.
Let me end with a small illustration.
I wanted to be a good leader. So I asked myself- “What are the character traits of a good leader”.
The performance traits would be- courageous, positive, focused , self-aware . Similarly the Moral traits would be- empathy, generosity, Integrity, fairness. Once I resolved that I wanted to be a good leader, it became very easy for me to adopt these character traits and use them as the anchor to define my behaviors and actions- So that I could live my identity of being a leader and the people around me could see me as a leader.
Ask yourself this question- ” What do I want the world to see me as? What is my identity ?”