Who Do You Want To Become?

It doesn’t matter where you start. Only that you begin.
— Robin Sharma

Who Do You Want To Become?

You've probably heard the advice you need to trust the journey a million times before. But what if your life and business aren't meeting your expectations? What if the life you dream of having feels no closer to reality than it did a year ago? If you don't like some part of your life, it's time to make changes and new choices that put you on a path to a purposeful life. It starts by asking the question, who do you want to become?

Everything gets a bit uncomfortable when it's time to change. That's just a part of the growth process. You are a work in progress. Much of the journey is a foggy path of missteps. You only have enough clarity to put one foot ahead of the other. It can feel like you're not going anywhere but what if I asked you to pause and turn around? How far have you come? Probably a hell of a lot further than you're giving yourself credit for. I'm sure you have the battle scars to prove it.

Much of what you've accomplished in your life would have been an impossible feat to a past version of yourself.

Gazing into the night sky gives you a chance to be lost among the stars. You can admire the stars as unique dots in the sky or you can map them together to create beautiful constellations that bring meaning to the randomness.

Your life is much the same, a series of experiences dotting your own constellation. How you choose to connect the dots is where your life begins to take shape. Among your constellation are dots of painful and pleasurable experiences. Some, we'd rather forget. Others, we hold onto tight enough to leave nail marks in steel. Who would you be without the identity that experience gives you?

Deep-rooted with meaning, each of us has a story that plays out like a Morgan Freeman voiceover on repeat. That story loops in a voice that serves and inspires you, or it keeps you from growing into the person that you're capable of becoming. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you have to change your entire story. It means a slight tweaking to how you've connected the dots.  

Here's the problem, you might not have enough clarity to decipher what you're looking at. Depending on where you're at in your journey, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. It's like being handed a 15 step recipe for Grandma's secret meatloaf but having no idea what order to prep. And this is where it comes back to trusting the journey. You can't possibly know with absolute certainty where you'll end up, and let's be honest, where's the fun in that?

People attempt to bend the world to their expectations with painful results. It's an exhausting journey that has only one outcome. Everything becomes obstacles, rather than opportunities. Here's the kicker. Without stepping stones (opportunities), how do you put one foot in front of the other?

What if you shifted your focus from the outcome you desire to achieve, to the identity of who you wish to become? James Clear talks about this in his book Atomic Habits. "Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity."

Here are three questions to get you started. What do you want to stand for? What are your principles and values? Who do you wish to become?

If you're struggling to answer the questions, start with the results you want and work backwards by asking the question, who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?

For example, I asked who is the type of person that could run a successful coaching business? My focus shifted from successful coaching business (outcome-based) to being the type of person who is creative and empathetic and acts with integrity (identity-based).

There isn't a right way, there's only your way when it comes to designing an identity of your ideal self.

That slight shift in thinking changes your entire approach to personal development. Clear helped me see that "Once you have a handle on the type of person you want to be, you can begin taking small steps to reinforce your identity." Put simply, always focus on becoming the type of person you want to be.

I urge you to lean into the experiences that have shaped your life. You hold a unique set of skills, passion and worldview, giving you an unmistakable advantage.

Identity-based goals force you to see yourself in a new light. Each small step (habit) reinforces your identity by becoming energy bolts of action. Each habit helps you become the type of person you wish to be. You make your habits and your habits make you.

Be warned, this is not a quick process. Anyone who promises you otherwise probably sells magic beans as a side hustle. But if there's one sure-fire way to speed up the process, get and accept the support you need. Different perspectives give us the collective mind effect. We can pull from others’ experience, guidance and thoughtful questioning. We experience growth in ways that are not possible when we work alone.

Here's a thought to chew on. What if you're exactly where you're meant to be so you can become the person you're capable of becoming? Sometimes you spend time waiting for the ideal path to appear but it never does. Because paths are made for walking, not waiting.

Actor and writer Neil Patrick Harris talks to Sam Jones about great career advice he got about the TV/film industry when he was first starting out on 'Doogie Howser M.D.'