How an Identity Crisis Helped Me Figure Out Who I Really Am
Over the past couple of weeks I've spent a lot of my time thinking. Even as I write this, my wife is frustrated because I just stopped what I was doing to stare off into space deep in thought.
While my questions really began a couple of years ago, they really came to a head last week in one of my mastermind meetings. One of the guys in my group, Frank, asked me a question that's resulted in several changes over the past few days.
Frank's questions led to an identity crisis, but that crisis helped me figure out who I really am. I'd like to share the story with you.
When I first started my blog, I didn't really know what I was doing. I didn't know how the internet worked, I thought blogs were for teenage girls, and I didn't even know what an online business was.
All I really knew was I wanted to share a message with the world.
However, I didn't yet know what that message was.
Empowering the 80 Percent wasn't even the first idea for a domain I had. I really wanted “From Where I Sit” because I intended to share ideas from my point of view – from where I sit.
But, at the same time, I was starting to notice a lot of poor leadership where I was working and I wanted to share ideas on how to be a better leader.
I believed it then, and still believe today, that good leadership can exist in any environment if we let it.
However, leadership is not really the point today.
The point is, I have spent two years writing over 120,000 words about leadership, personal development and how to build a personal brand.
But I've lacked focus.
Additionally, in the past six months I've started the Empowered Podcast as well as a side business about building websites. While I love both the podcast as well as Whats Next Blogging, I've never really had a clear mission statement for my business.
And now we come to my discussion with Frank, and the message I'd like to share from what he and I discussed.
As we were reviewing the projects mentioned above, as well as the new ebook I published about helping people start a podcast, I realized I didn't have as clear a picture for myself as I thought.
When I described my goals for my business, my blog, my family and future, I didn't have a clear message.
If I couldn't clearly define and describe my mission to myself, how could I ever imagine to articulate it to the world?
Frank told me he didn't really know what I was up to. He said I was “kinda all over the place” he thought.
While it felt like a punch to the gut at the time, I think his questions were not only valid, but are ultimately what helped me crystallize what I want to do and who I want to become.
So, after our mastermind I went to bed. I couldn't sleep because I was on a mental search for the answers I knew I should have.
After a week, I still didn't really know what my purpose was; I didn't know my mission.
I'd been asking myself the question I'm about to ask you, though it took me almost two weeks, a lot of deep thought and listening to this podcast to figure it out.
The question that has helped shape and define me is this:
What do I want to be known for?
For me, it all started with Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In that book, Covey wrote that successful people begin with the end in mind.
In his case, he was referring to our ultimate end. Our death.
No, it's not morbid, it's revolutionary.
Covey asks us what we would want to have said of us at our funerals; specifically, what would we want a friend to say and what we'd want a family member to say.
When I wrote my answer, one of the things I said was,
I want to be known for helping people even when they weren't aware I was doing it.
I'd forgotten I wrote that until Frank's questions jarred me enough to where I started asking about my own purpose.
I read Covey's book at the very beginning of my personal development journey; it's been almost two years now. And while I wouldn't change my answer one bit, I do have to admit I've changed my mission statement over that time.
My answer to the question, “what do I want to be known for?”, is this:
I want to be known for helping people realize that they have to choose themselves in this world, that I helped people remove the obstacles and barriers they were facing so they could live the lives they were meant to live.
If that means helping you start a blog so you can share your message, I can do that.
If that means I show you how to launch a professional podcast on a tight budget, I will do that too.
But the process of creating what may seem like random projects, and maybe a month ago they were, has helped me realize I'm meant to learn, read, and study all sorts of ways to help you.
No matter what your mission is in life, my mission is to help you achieve it and to help you realize no one is going to give you the permission to dream or do.
What began as a mild identity crisis three weeks ago helped me to really figure who I am and what I'm here to do.
So, I'll leave you with the same question I asked myself, and I hope it's the catalyst for explosive growth and change for you as it was for me.
I hope you'll take time to think about your purpose and to embrace the answer when it comes. If you're interested in knowing what I was doing when my purpose hit me, just ask and I'll tell you in the comments below.
Here's the question and I hope it changes your world for the better:
What do you want to be known for?