I was stopped recently at a road block in my neighbourhood, and the police officer who came to my car window demanded my driver’s licence as proof that I was in fact who I said I was. During the rest of the car trip that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about who I was! The question kept going around in my head: Who Am I, really? Perhaps I overthink things, but this question really bugged me.
I play many roles in my life: Husband to a gorgeous wife, Father to two amazing daughters, Company Owner (of 2 companies), Successful Life Coach, sought after Business Coach, CEO of a Support Foundation for prison inmates, phew, the list goes on and on! So, just who am i? Spouse, Dad, Businessman, Pastor?
Depending on where I am and who I am with, my roles change. At dog shows I usually assume my ‘Doggy’ role. At home I usually assume the role of spouse and dad. At prisons around the country, I assume the role of support counsellor. But, no matter what role I assume, none of these ever dictates who I am!
Many folk take their identities from the roles they play in their lives. At a recent event I attended, I was approached by a rather rotund, ruddy-faced person, who thrust his hand at me with a robust” Hello, My Name is John, and I am Mr Marketing!”. It was plainly obvious after about 20 seconds that he was all-consumed by his marketing prowess, and his entire identity was wrapped up in his belief that he was marketing personified! It turns out that he was the uncle of my new god child whose christening we had just celebrated! I have no doubt that John was a brilliant marketing specialist (judging by the way he convinced EVERYONE he had contact with at the event to eat at least one sausage roll from the plate he was handing around! But, in the family context we were celebrating, John’s marketing identity was pretty useless!
I have learnt over and over that who I am must be grounded in myself and in my self concept and self identity. So many people introduce themselves as ‘John’s wife, Mary’s husband, Peter’s secretary, etc, etc. My daughter always gets introduced as ‘this is my granddaughter’ by her gran, but her name is never mentioned, almost as if her gran draws a great sense of identity from my daughter!
My self concept and worth as a person is based on a deep sense of my own identity as a person, and can never be based on those around me, or on any role I fulfil in my life. Drawing your identity from those around you, or from different roles you fulfil in your life will ALWAYS lead to disappointment in your life.
As you search for meaning and identity in your life, begin with your own worldview.
- What do you believe?
- What is your concept of God?
- How do you view others?
- What do you stand for?
- What are your Core Values?
The list of questions is endless. I find that each time I face a life challenge, I am able to refine my concept of who I am. As I do this, it affects all of the roles I perform in my life. As I continue to refine my identity, so I am able to continue to impact those I come into contact with, and am able to continue making a meaningful investment into countless lives.