So many of us want to be different in some way. We might want to be someone who is healthier, or who exercises more, or who drinks less wine, yet when it comes to actually making it happen we stay stuck in indecision and inaction. But in order to change your identity, there is a simple process you can follow to make it happen.
If you want to become your next best version, you have to decide what that version is, get really clear on who it is, and then take action towards making it happen. Once you make your decision and have decided who you want to become, you have to go all-in on yourself to solidify your new identity.
In this episode, I’m sharing a powerful and useful exercise to help you cross the bridge from who you are right now to create a new identity for yourself and become who you want to be. I’m showing you how to let go of some of your existing stories about yourself and how to decide to become somebody different and then go all-in on your commitment to making it happen.
If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make this show better for you. Want to get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong inside and out? Share this podcast with a friend by texting a show link, sharing a screenshot, or posting a link on your social media, and help other busy working moms feel better and change things up.
Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you!
What You Will Discover:
- A perfect example of swimming in drama, indecision, and confusion.
- How to let go of your existing beliefs and trade them for new and improved ones that align with your new and improved self.
- Why you can absolutely become a different person without getting all fuzzy and woo.
- A checkpoint to establish if you are truly going all-in on yourself.
- How you know if you’re not letting go of your old stories.
- Why if you want to grow and evolve, you’ve got to decide to become someone different.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Full Episode Transcript:
You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #19. If you’ve ever thought you’re meant for more, here’s how to make it happen.
Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high achieving, busy working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer and Certified Life Coach Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.
Hey, how are you? What’s new? What’s good? So, before we get into it, I wanted to share with you a concept that I learned in my coach training. And it most definitely applies to today. And it is the idea that, in life, it’s 50/50. Meaning, there are times when you will be riding high and feeling awesome. And then, there will be the other half of the time, when you won’t; you get a flat tire, your kids lock everyone out of the house.
That was just a few weeks ago, here, when I came home from a conference feeling totally inspired and excited. It just shows that it all comes full circle. Or, to make it even more personal. When you finally feel like you’re onto something, you know who you are, what you’re meant to do. And maybe, you’re stepping into something new. And the people who know you best just aren’t having it.
Maybe, they’re not responding in the way that you would hope, or maybe they aren’t responding at all, or even acknowledging you. And there it is again, there’s the 50/50. And here’s what I’ve learned over years of life experience, taking risks, failing, therapy, and of course, coaching; take all of it.
So, how do you know what good feels like? How do you know what success or joy feels like? Because you know failure, and because you know pain? If everything was butterflies and cotton candy 24/7, we would not know the difference, and we’d be too oblivious to truly appreciate the good. So yeah, while 50% of the deal is negative, I will take it, it’s part of the deal. And ultimately, what it does is make the other 50% that much more amazing and awesome.
I share this because I, myself, spent far too much time ignoring and/or straight-up running away from the negative, because I didn’t think I could handle it. And then I realized, and I hope you realize, too, that you absolutely can handle it. And when you come out on the other side, you’re able to appreciate the good that much more.
So, I’m calling on Tunde Oyeneyin here, and she is an amazing Peloton® instructor, but I’m calling on something that she says frequently. She says, “You’ve made it through 100% of your bad days,” right? Think about it, and you’re still here; you are still standing. And it’s because you saw those bad days through that you’re able to see and appreciate the good. That’s the 50/50.
I’m here for it, and I encourage you to be here for it, too. All right. With all of this in mind, let’s talk about who you are, your identity. And before you think to yourself, “This is going to get all philosophical and woo,” hold the phone, because I don’t do that. My goal, in chatting with you today, is to take a more practical, tangible approach. We’re going to talk about how you can use your very powerful brain to cross the bridge from who you are, right here and now, to who you want to be.
Okay, so specifically, we’re going to cover deciding to be someone different. Then, getting very clear on who the new you is. Committing to change and going all in, and how you know if you’re doing this or not. Leaving behind your old self for the new and improved one. Believing, with the emotion attached to it. Okay, practicing thoughts and feelings, you know that’s coming, and taking action.
All right. So, if you know me at all by now, you know that I like simple, I like practical, I like growth. But I don’t like complicated. I don’t do rocket science. I also don’t do philosophy and schmoopy words that don’t make any sense. So, if this is you, too, know that you can absolutely become a different person without getting all fuzzy.
Okay, so let’s go. Alright, so first, to grow and evolve, we’ve got to decide to become someone different. I’m going to use myself as an example here. So, a few years into my family medicine career, I knew there was absolutely no way I was going to continue seeing patients in my office for the rest of my life. So, despite spending years living into the identity of a physician, I realized that I was meant to do a whole lot more.
So, that led me to start doing research, and brainstorming, and going to conferences, networking. And frankly, a number of freakouts, and here’s why, maybe you can relate. There may come a point where you are so turned off by the identity you have you feel terrible. But at the same time, it is the identity that you’ve had for so long; it’s familiar, it’s comfortable, it’s what you know. And your primitive brain loves that, because it’s easy.
And meanwhile, your evolved brain is on overdrive because you’re wrestling with this tension of wanting to change so very badly. But in the end, you end up feeling totally stuck. And this is a perfect example of swimming in drama, and indecision, and confusion. It feels straight-up terrible.
There is the very strong pull on one side, of knowing that there is more out there for you. Whether it’s becoming healthy, becoming an athlete, changing careers, starting a project, writing a book; there’s a very strong desire and pull. But at the same time, there is an equally strong, if not stronger, pull to stay right where you are, even though it stinks. Because even though it stinks, at least, you know it, it’s familiar.
And, think about it. By staying there, you don’t have to take any risks. You just stay where you are, and you stay miserably comfortable. I don’t know how else to call it. However, you may reach a tipping point, as it happened for me. There may just be a tipping point where you get so tired of your brain’s own B.S. that you just say, screw it, and you decide.
So, for me, I was so unhappy being a clinical physician, that I was becoming a miserable person; to my patients, to my family, and most of all, to myself. I got sick of myself, I was so tired of rationalizing my choice of staying in an unhealthy, unhappy situation, that I just couldn’t handle myself anymore. For real, it was not pretty.
And that was when I knew. That was when the writing was on the wall. And that is when I wrote my resignation email for the 100th time, took a deep breath, and actually hit send. And there it was, decision made. And for the first time in months, I slept through the night. Because I had finally made a stinking decision. I decided to change, and then I put my money where my mouth is and did something about it.
Granted, hitting send was one very small step, but it started an entire trajectory. So, think about this for yourself; what is that decision for you? Is it that you’re going to finally stop with your glass of wine every night? That you’re finally going to stop restarting challenges, or stopping and starting 75 Hard™? That you are finally going to write your meal plan, and actually stick to it? That you’re going to make a plan to rewrite your resume? What is the decision you need to make?
And let me offer you this, once you do it, once you make the decision, you can start moving forward. So, there’s the drama of back and forth; should I, or shouldn’t I? And then, there is making a decision. And once you do that, once you make the decision to take on a new identity, then you can manage the drama that comes with it.
And that drama feels different because you’ve made a choice. Okay, so once you’ve made your choice, now you have to get really clear on who you are becoming. Okay? So, as an example, imagine you decide that you want to become a healthy person.
So, what does that mean to you? Get very clear on what it means to be a healthy person. For example, what does a healthy person do? Do they regularly buy Cheetos™, Oreos™, Sour Patch Kids™ at the grocery store? Or, do they buy fresh fruit, veggies, lean protein? How does a healthy person dress? Do they wear athletic clothes? Do they wear clothes that fit their bodies properly? What is their schedule like?
Do they plan time to prepare meals? Do they make time for exercise? How do they talk? Does she talk about how out of shape she is, or how much she hates eating salad? Or, does she talk about her upcoming weekend run and how excited she is to do it? You get the idea here.
So, if you want to become your next best version, you have to decide what that version is, and then get really clear on who it is. Okay, so imagine you as this person. Imagine being healthy, and really let it sink into your bones and then go there; get into all of the nitty-gritty details. Imagine how this new healthy version of you lives, reads, talks, and thinks.
Here’s why this matters. As you transition away from the identity that no longer serves you into the one that you want, you are going to be met with challenges. You will be met with plenty of opportunities to either prove your new identity or prove your previous one; you get to choose. There will be times when you’ve had a bad day, and the previous version of you would buffer your bad day with food and eat an enormous bowl of ice cream.
But instead, now, you have to decide if a healthy person does this. It’s like asking the question; would a healthy person do this? And then, you answer the question and act accordingly. You act as a healthy person would. You can use it sort of as a litmus test.
So, going back to our example, you’ve decided ahead of time, and there’s that discipline thing again, decided ahead of time that a healthy person does not eat her emotions after a bad day. And you say no to the ice cream, in order to prove your identity as a healthy person.
So, this is why this exercise is so powerful and so useful. You are deciding the identity you want to have, and then shaping that person by determining all of her characteristics. And then, you go and live them out. And you have a checkpoint.
You have a question to ask yourself as a double check; would a healthy person do this? Would a runner skip her morning run just because it is colder outside than she would like? Would an entrepreneur skip writing her newsletter just because she didn’t feel like she had anything to write today?
So, the cool thing is this, when you continue to do this, when you act in a way that is in accordance with a healthy person, or an athlete, or an entrepreneur, you become that person. It’s really amazing. So, once you’ve gotten really clear on who you want to become, now you commit and go all in.
Okay, as an example, I love this, a few months ago, we were watching, all four of us, we were watching an episode of “Iron Chef.” And as they were profiling the contestants, one of them very confidently declared that when she does something, she goes in whole-ass. Because she doesn’t half-ass anything. And while my kids snickered at her word choice, my nine-year-old turned around and told me that sounded like something I would say.
And I have to admit, there was sheer pride on my end, totally proud right there, not gonna lie. So, here’s the thing, once you make your big honking decision, and have decided who you want to become, you are not done. Now, you have to go all in.
Meaning, if you decide that you want to describe yourself as healthy, you want to have the identity of someone who is healthy. You cannot half-heartedly decide to give up takeout. And maybe, you’ll test the waters at the gym, and see how it goes. And maybe, buy fruit, but other times buy candy; that’s not going to work. You have to go all in on yourself.
So, here’s a checkpoint to know if you’re truly going all in. Notice your word choice. If you are using phrases like; I’ll see, I’ll try, I’m thinking about, I’m working on. So, catch yourself right there. Notice your words, and ask yourself what you mean by those words.
Here’s the thing, in order to evolve into your next best version, there is no maybe, there is no I’ll see, there is no I’m thinking about. There’s no dipping your toes in here, there is only room for full commitment. Because anything less is going to leave you hanging. And as soon as thing gets hard, you are going to revert back to what you know; no good.
I said it before, and I think it bears repeating here. Because one, I have definitely made this mistake. And two, I see many of the women I coach make this mistake, too. The mistake is this: You kind of, sort of, commit to change. But what you’re really doing is trying something out until it gets too hard and too uncomfortable. And then, you quit.
I’ve been there. I’ve done it feels yucky. So, here’s the thing, please learn from my mistake. It’s when things start to get hard; when you’re not sure if your diet is working; when you’re at the daily grind of going to the gym, and you’re not sure that you’re getting any stronger; or you’re making a business plan and not sure if anyone is actually going to want to work with you.
Whatever it is, when it starts to feel too uncomfortable, that’s when most people bail; don’t do that. You’re going to want to, I know I did, but don’t; do not bail. So, this is where having an unshakable faith and belief in yourself matters. It matters a whole stinking lot. So, I say this with the utmost conviction: Change is not for weenies, okay? It really isn’t.
If you really want to become a different person and see yourself differently, you cannot half-ass it. If you want something badly enough and have made the decision to evolve, then you will do it. If you don’t want it badly enough, then you won’t.
So, I’m quoting Jen Sincero here, from You are a Badass, because she sums it up so well. “You need to have a 10-ton gorilla of desire behind your decision, or else you’ll wimp out the second things get hard.” And oh, is she oh so correct. You must be all in and commit to your change with serious tenacity, and then commit to looking forward at all costs.
Don’t look back, do not stray from your decision, and do not waffle. Okay? Remember, you were waffling before you made the decision, so no more of that. Go all in, no matter what. Yeah, it is going to feel scary and crazy, and new, and weird and uncertain. But honestly, I will take that over the yuck of stagnating, any day, seriously.
Okay. So, once you are all in, the next thing you will need to do is leave your old stories behind. So, this is another thing that I learned from coaching and I’ve had to practice repeatedly. Here’s the concept: The past is over. It exists now, as nothing more than a story you say to yourself and maybe to anyone else who will listen. You get to choose that story.
Meaning, whatever parts from your past serve you keep them, but get very clear on the parts of your past that do not serve you, and then make a conscious choice to let those go. Because that, is most likely, what is holding you back.
So, what that means on a practical level, is letting go of some of your stories. So, again, learn from my big mistake. For who knows how long, I have identified myself by my upbringing. It was always just who I was; that I was this weak, sad girl from the Midwest, raised by miserably unhappy parents. That I was not good enough because my parents did not participate in my life.
So, I had to take a good hard look at what that got me. Because by staying married to that story, I got sympathy, I got understanding for when I doubted myself. If things were bad, it was because my parents taught me that I wasn’t good enough. And then, when I got really sick and tired of being a product of that story, I decided to let that one go.
And here’s why. Of course, I would doubt myself when that was my story. If I shared and lived out that I am a sad, broken, scared woman from a broken home, of course, it was going to be my reality. And even though it was a sad story, it gave me comfort, it kept me safe. It kept me from having to be vulnerable. I protected myself from any and all relationships because I was broken.
That’s how I presented myself, and that was my reality. But once I finally got onto myself and got very real with myself, I made a really conscious choice to let that junk go. And instead, I decided to believe that I’m not broken at all. Instead, I’m one tough mother who brings fierce love and loyalty to her family, because that is the kind of person I want to be; not a scared, ashamed, broken person.
But it meant leaving the familiarity and comfort of that story, even though it wasn’t a good story, behind. I had traded it for a new and much better one. And making the shift has most definitely served me, but has also served my husband, my children, and most definitely, has served my clients 1,000 times better.
On a more practical level, here’s how you know if you’re not letting go of your old stories. You say things like; I’ve never been an athlete in my life; I stink at technology; I’m terrible at confrontation; I always quit before I get where I want to be; I should start a business, I just don’t know how.
If you find yourself saying sentences like this to yourself, that’s okay. You’ve likely been saying things like this to yourself for a long honking time. So, start paying attention. And, try to catch yourself when you say things like this. And notice something really important about all of these sentences, they are all thoughts; they are your choice.
But you’ve probably been saying them to yourself for so long that you accept them as fact. But here’s the thing, in order to accept and live into a new identity, you have to let go of those sentences. Commit to letting go of those thoughts, which have become your beliefs. Because you’re trading those sentences for new and improved thoughts that align with your new and improved self.
Imagine what it feels like to have a new set of thoughts that makes you feel awesome, and allows you to live into your new identity. You are trading in your old worn-out stories to create more awesome and exciting ones. And then, once you have decided to let go of those old stories for newer and better ones, you believe it and you feel it.
So, I’m going to share something with you that I learned the hard way. Again, lots of mistakes that I’m drawing on today. Something I learned the hard way about this step. So, when I decided to become an entrepreneur and build a business, literally from nothing but my dream, I took on a mantra. I started telling myself, “You’ve got everything you need to make it happen.” I said that to myself all the stinking time; whenever I got up in the morning, while I was lifting weights, while it was drying my hair, whenever I sat down to create a social media post.
So, here’s the thing. Even though I was telling myself, I had everything I needed to make it happen, nothing was happening. And the more I did this and the more nothing was happening, meaning I was not moving forward in my business, the more I started freaking out. And then, my coach pointed out to me that I was believing without any emotion attached to it.
So, I was treating all the words like a mantra, but not really letting it sink into my bones and feel all of the associated fear, empowerment, excitement, self-doubt; I was just saying words. So, I had to really sink into the understanding that I absolutely could have what I want; that I could be an entrepreneur, that I could build a business.
But it meant actually feeling all the things that come up with that. And at the end of the day, for me, it came down to actually believing in myself. That I could create something on my own. That I could create value that was just as good, if not better, than the value I created as a traditional family medicine and practice.
In all transparency, that has taken me a lot of time, and getting coached, and doing my own self-coaching to work through that. But I’ve done the work and it was most entirely worth it. So, here it is; you cannot go all in on yourself and expect a different outcome, while you hang on to your belief that you’re still governed by your past.
Okay, so even more simple; you cannot hope that your behavior will change, while you hang on to your same old beliefs. It does not work that way. It’s like telling someone, “I’m fine,” when you’re about to blow a gasket. It’s like punching yourself in the face, and hoping the other person gets hurt.
You have to feel all of it, there is no shortcut in this identity shift. It means practicing believing thoughts that are in alignment with the new identity you aspire to have. So, in order to change who you are, you have to change your underlying beliefs about yourself. And you actually have to feel them, in your bones. Okay?
As an example, let’s go back to, “I want to be a healthy person.” If you decide that you want to be a healthy person, you have to practice thinking like a healthy person. So, that may mean you decide to believe, “I make decisions that support my body.” There is your thought, “I make decisions that support my body.”
And then, ask yourself; how does it feel when I think that way? How does it feel when you think, “I make decisions that support my body?” Does it feel empowering, exciting, freeing? You decide. And then, you practice thinking and feeling that way, on purpose; this is coming off autopilot.
This is being very intentional, and deciding to believe that you make decisions that support your body. And then, feeling the emotions that are attached to that thought. Otherwise, it really is nothing more than a sentence or mantra. And mantras are fine, but I want you to really feel this transition. Don’t just go through the motions like I was doing.
And then, you pay attention. You take notice of what it feels like to think and feel in that way. You carry yourself, and those beliefs, and those feelings around with you. And then, from there, you take action.
Alright, so here it is, this is the big one. This is the step that is the hardest and most rewarding, by far. You have done the work of deciding, getting clear on the new you, committing, going all in, leaving an older version of you behind, practicing thinking and feeling in a way that sinks into your bones. And then, you take action, repeatedly.
You are aligning your identity and your behaviors. You are literally putting your money where your mouth is, and acting like the type of person you believe that you are. If you decide to be healthy, and tell yourself that you can make decisions that support your body, and you feel empowered. Then, you go and practice sidestepping the chip aisle in favor of carrots and snap peas.
If you decide to be a runner, it means thinking, “I can do this,” and practice feeling excited. And then, you go and put the rubber to the road and go for a run three days a week. If you decide to be an entrepreneur, it means you decide, “I can create something of value,” and feel inspired. And then, you go and write a podcast, that hopefully resonates with your audience, speaking from experience here.
So, here’s the thing, all of these actions, you do them regularly. Here’s why: Running once does not make you a runner. One salad tonight does not make you healthy. One post does not make you an entrepreneur. When you take action to create a new identity, and you do it repeatedly, you’re creating evidence for yourself. You are changing your default and creating a habit.
And those habits are evidence of your new identity. You just proved yourself correct. When you repeatedly go for a run, you solidify your identity as a runner. When you repeatedly make a salad instead of order fast food, you solidify your identity as a healthy eater. When you repeatedly sit down and work on your business plan, you solidify your identity as an entrepreneur, and so on.
These actions are the way you change who you are. They provide you with evidence, and remember, we humans love to find evidence to prove ourselves correct. And the more you take action and repeat behaviors that are aligned with your identity, no matter how small those actions are, the more you reinforce that identity.
And as that identity solidifies, you continue taking action that aligns with that identity. It is a beautiful self-perpetuating cycle. So, James Clear said it best in, Atomic Habits, “Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits.” And, it is really true.
Okay, so let me tie this all together for you. In order to change who you are, that’s your identity, you have to change what you do, that’s your actions. And in order to change what you do, you have to think and feel differently than what you’re currently doing.
And there it is, it always goes back to your thoughts. You have to choose and decide to think differently. Whoever you want to be it starts by deciding to think that you can be that person; healthy, an athlete, writer, entrepreneur. Whatever it is, you have to think in a way that aligns with who you want to be. And from there, take action that proves it. There’s your checkpoint.
How do you know that you truly believe you can be an athlete? You show up at the gym regularly. How do you know you can truly believe that you are healthy? You eat fruit, and veggies, and whole foods that you make for yourself at home. How do you know that you truly believe that you’re an entrepreneur? You keep showing up, and write your business plan and you keep creating content.
Your actions and your results, prove your identity. This is such powerful stuff. And I encourage you to take yourself through this exercise. If you have ever felt stuck, or felt that there was more out there for you, but you have felt entirely trapped by the beliefs that you have about yourself, I hear you.
This process, this process that I just outlined, is how you can move forward. So, you decide to be someone different. Get very clear on who that new you is. Commit to change and go all in. Leave your old self behind for the new and improved one. Believe, with the emotion attached to it. Practice the thoughts and feelings that are in alignment with your new badass self. And then, take repeated action to prove your new identity.
Here it is. This is how you grow and evolve. For anyone out there who knows you’re meant for more, this is it. start here. So good.
All right. Thank you, again, for hanging out with me. And, I’ll catch you again next week.
If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. And, share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media. And, be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram® or Facebook®, so I can follow along and engage with you.
This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong, inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better, or eat and move differently, but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up. And you know, making that change starts with how you think. And that, is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.
Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.
Enjoy the Show?