Action follows Identity
When I first started writing, I read this quote and wasn’t sure I believed it. However, I did as Jeff explained, started calling myself a writer once I decided I wanted to be a writer. And then I started writing consistently. Over time, it has become true. I have written thousands of words, hundreds of stories, become a top writer on Medium, and even created my own eBooks.
“I am a writer.”
This was an anthem to my writing and my identity as a creative. I believed I was a writer and I started to take the action confirming this belief. And now, it is supported by my created works.
David Kadavy puts it this way:
“Actions shape our identity, but our identity also shapes our actions.”
What I have found is how true this is about anything and everything. Not merely writing. It is true about how I view my faith, my relationships with my family, my day job, and my health. I create the identity I want within these areas and then start taking actions to achieve it.
And what happens over and over again is remarkable change in who I am and what I do. And so, action follows identity. We need to create an identity for ourselves and live into it.
What Does it Look Like to Change Your Identity
At any given time, we can change the path our life is going down. I have seen this true in my own life. Benjamin Hardy agrees with this idea with this quote:
“You have the power to radically change your identity.”
For me, it started almost 10 years ago. While sitting hungover on the deck of a friend’s lakefront cabin. I realized something about myself, I needed a new identity.
And in that hungover stupor, the beginnings of the new identity formed.
Then, five years later, my identity began to shift again. Holding my daughter in the middle of the night. Looking into her sleepless eyes, I went from being a man and a husband to a father. A father who would provide, protect, and build up this little girl.
And in those early morning hours, my identity began to shift into a new role.
Three years ago, while sitting in my cubicle, forehead flat against my desk top. Breathing heavily and trying not to cry, I realized I was made for more than cubicle work the rest of my life. I had dreams and longings I wanted to fulfill for myself and my family. And I imagined what it would be like to live on a little land and be a full-time writer.
And in that anxiety-filled moment, my identity was being reborn into something new.
Last month, I decided this year would be the year where my writing would take off. That I would self-publish a book, produce a course, increase my audience, and turn my future into the future I really desired to live. One where my thoughts and ideas could help other people through the things I create.
As I established my life plan for the year, I decided I would be healthy, I would turn my writing into a career, and my family would get the best of me. And in this moment, I started to build an identity who I would live into over this year.
And again, my identity began to shift.
Mindset Won’t Change Who You Are Alone
In my story above, I shared about these defining moments where I would decide to change my identity. And then they changed, and over time, I would change a little more. I realize it makes it seem like it is merely a shift in thinking and then you “are” whatever you decide.
There is some truth to this, and then, there is the reality of it all. You decide to change. And then you create direction and take action in those changes.
When I decided to change my life initially, I adopted new characteristics about myself. I started creating life plans and setting goals.
I considered my profession and made a career change. I exercised instead of partied. And I stopped looking for just any woman to date, I started looking for THE woman to marry.
My actions followed my identity.
Even now, as I shift from writing as a side hustle to turning it into something more, I am going from a day-job working, husband, and father to an author and entrepreneur who enjoys every moment with his family.
My actions are shifting from trying to climb the next rung at my day job to making a writing career a reality. My actions are following this identity.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney
I believe this is true of identity. If you believe you can live your desired life, it will begin to manifest into reality. Our actions follow our identity.
Are you ready to change your identity? Do you want to realize your dreams and desires?
Today is your day to dream. Start by thinking about who you really want to be in life? Write it down. And then start thinking of the next actions you could take.
Or start now with creating a life plan or setting goals. These will help direct you in the actions to take and help you live into your new identity.