Life Coaching Tip: To accomplish your goals and dreams, you must see yourself as being the kind of person who can do it. If you’re not comfortable with a trait you see in yourself, you can either challenge your belief about it and change it, or you can find a way to embrace it and make it work for you. But you must do one of these two things, because how you define yourself matters!
Did you know that scientific studies have shown that “mistaken identity” is a common phenomenon in criminal trials, particularly when the eyewitness is steadfast in believing that their identification of the defendant is correct? And as a result, jurors are often instructed to be cautious of giving too much credibility to eyewitness testimony.
And of course, this makes sense, because other scientific research has demonstrated that all humans are affected by “confirmation bias.”
Confirmation bias is the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s existing beliefs.
It’s how our brains are wired. We have a belief or a story, and then we subconsciously look for “evidence” to support our story and dismiss anything that doesn’t fit as a fluke, or we don’t even see it at all.
And I’ve noticed that this doesn’t just cause us to error in our perception of other people, but it also causes us to be mistaken in how we see ourselves. This is incredibly important because to accomplish our dreams and goals, we must see ourselves as being the kind of person who can actually do the thing.
What do I mean by this?
Well, let me share a real-life example with you about one of my clients, who is a budding entrepreneur.
For most of her life, she thought of herself as “cautious” and “risk adverse,” and so she had collected a lot of “proof” that she rattled off to me whenever I would poke at her story. She was utterly convinced that this was a fact about herself.
And as you might imagine, this identity was getting in the way of her moving forward with her business plans.
However, once I asked her to stretch her mind and directly recall some of the times she had taken risks in her life, she was able to come up with several examples both professionally and personally. This turned the lightbulb on.
She had as much proof of her “risk-taker” identity as she had her “cautious” identity. This helped her realized that she could legitimately call herself a “risk taker” after all.
This identity shift was critical for her to move forward towards her goal of successful entrepreneurship.
As self-help author, Jen Sincero, says: Our realities are determined by how we habitually perceive ourselves and our world.
The problem that occurs for most of us about the mistaken identities we create for ourselves, is that our brain sees them as truths. And these “truths” are often reinforced by all the “supporting evidence” we’ve collected over the years.
And so, why would we try to change something that is simply a “fact”, right?
This is one of the reasons why I am not typically a fan of personality assessments, like one I came across in the book, Springboard, we reviewed for our latest podcast episode: Springboard or Last Stop?
I think the general implication of assessments like this is that personality traits are “fixed.” And since they are answered from a place of current self-perception, they can potentially hinder a person’s growth.
But just for fun, I decided to try the personality assessment from the book with my Shine On group. However, several of the group members didn’t think it was so “fun” after all!
As we were going through the questions, there were lots of groans, head scratches, and confused expressions. Then afterwards, the group members told me what was going on.
“I wasn’t sure how to answer,” said one person. “I know how I used to be… and how I am now… which is completely different.”
Another said, “I didn’t like my answer. I mean, it’s how I am now, but I’m changing.”
This was the consensus. Many were having a bit of an “identity crisis” in a good way.
They were wondering: Should I look at this from the perspective of “past me,” “current me,” or “future me”?
Oh man, their confusion couldn’t have delighted me more!
They were seeing that their identities had shifted, and some were also realizing where more work needed to be done.
Best of all, they were realizing that they get to decide who they are and how they want to show up in the world!
This empowering realization is everything!
To make changes within ourselves, we must first be able to see that change is possible.
If we’re not comfortable with a trait we see in ourselves, we can either challenge our belief about it and change it, or we can find a way to embrace it and make it work for us.
Seriously, this is everything!
Now let’s talk about you.
Do you think and talk about yourself in a way that aligns with what you want for your life? Or do you talk trash about yourself and put yourself down?
Do you override your brain’s negative bias and intentionally collect “evidence” of all your badass qualities? Or do you constantly collect the kind of “evidence” that will limit you and keep you stuck?
I hope I’ve inspired you to think about this today and truly make changes to move you forward.
And…courageous, intelligent, kind, open-minded, innovative, resilient, calm, optimistic, strong, disciplined, dependable, trust-worthy, resourceful, ambitious, talented, patient, logical, self-confident, hardworking, adventurous, decisive, creative, independent, compassionate, insightful, motivated, determined unconventional, fierce… YOU matter!