Are you still adding to your identity?

We all have multiple identities that form our self construct. When you were young they were simple. You were a boy or girl. A son or daughter. Maybe a brother or sister. Or perhaps you saw yourself as a Bo, Luke, or Daisy.

As you grow, evolve and participate in more activities you add identities. You become a student, a girl scout or a baseball player. Throughout your schooling and into your career your identities expand and multiply in interesting ways. All of which morph your self construct, without the need for hallucinogenics.

Your identities influence how you see yourself. But they also determine how the world sees you. Your identities help broaden your self-image and give you more flavor, complexity and stability.

I’m a father, adventurer and Corn Palace visitor.

Here’s a partial view of my identity stack:

  • Father
  • Husband
  • Son
  • Brother
  • Uncle
  • Friend
  • Christian
  • Entrepreneur
  • Creative
  • Marauder
  • Badger
  • Dude ( I recently entered this when asked for my gender)
  • Vermonter
  • Wisconsinite
  • Adveritisng professional
  • Blogger
  • Patriots fan
  • Bucks fan
  • Red Sox fan
  • Perpetually but non-offensively immature
  • Exerciser
  • Initiator
  • Problem Solver
  • Homeowner
  • Adventurer

Adding Identities

In the past year, I have added a surprising number of new identities to my self-concept. Especially for a seemingly full-grown human.

Coach

Before last spring I would never have called myself a coach. Despite the fact that I coached a youth flag football team for 3 seasons. That just felt like the type of coaching that non-coaches do because the kids need a coach to be able to have a team. In other words, I simply identified as a dad doing some coaching. It’s like a dad playing the role of a chaperone, instead of adding the identity of bodyguard, or animal tamer.

But last spring I became a legit high school track and field coach when I started coaching the shot put and the discus for Homestead High School’s girl’s track and field team in Mequon, Wisconsin. In fact, 2 weeks ago I attended an all-day and all-evening event for track and field coaches in Madison. That really made me feel like I should walk around with a whistle or a stopwatch around my neck. Although you don’t really need either of those things to coach the shot put.

This was my best day of coaching. All 4 of my athletes threw their best ever. And I wore the shortest socks I own.

Then, last fall I began coaching youth tackle football. That was a multiple-times per week thing. With real strategy, conditioning and hype. I have a logoed polo, a hat and a picture of me and other coaches and 16 boys in full uniform looking very serious together to prove that I am now also a youth football coach.

Me and Magnus after our last game of the season. We played on turf, which is why neither of our uniforms are dirty or grass stained.

Author

The week before Christmas I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Now, I add author to my self-identity. Despite the fact that I have been a blogger for nearly 7 years, author feels different. It’s more official, more difficult to attain. More respected by others. And authors get asked to sign their books way more often than bloggers get asked to sign their blog posts.

The time my first book emerged from its brown, paper Amazon cocoon. (As seen on the table.)

It’s hard not to add the author identity when the internet adds it for you. Here is how my online footprint has expanded since I published my book:

  1. If you search my name at Amazon.com you will find my book here.
  2. Beyond carrying my book, Amazon has an Adam Albrecht Author Page which you can see here.
  3. My publisher, Ripples Media also feature’s an author page which you can see here.
  4. There is a website for the book here.
  5. I also have a Boothy set up for giving online book talks that you can find here.

Speaker

The other surprising new identity that I have added to my self-construct is Speaker. I have done a lot of public speaking throughout my life. Over the past couple of decades, I have seen myself as a business professional speaking about what I do or things I know. But now it feels different.

Me speaking to a round table at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. Here I am demonstrating the starting position for juggling watermelons.

Since I published the book I have received many requests to speak at local, state and national events. I have booked 6 speaking engagements in the past couple of weeks. It is an exciting and enjoyable new addition to my self-identity. And it helps me spread more positivity and inspiration with the world. Like Jonny Fortunecookieseed.

Dog Owner

As if all of this wasn’t enough, at the end of January I also got my first dog ever. Now I add dog owner or dog haver or whatever this makes me to my life resume. It may seem like a small thing compared to the attention you receive as an author, entrepreneur or public speaker. But when you come home to that wagging tail and face licks it is special. And when I am picking up dog poo, it’s hard to deny that I am a real Dog Dad.

Key Takeaway

Adding to your self-identity keeps you growing and evolving. More self-identities not only make you more interesting and creative, they add to your stability and resilience. Multiple identities help expand your social circle. They expand your reach and influence. The more identities you have the less likely that any one of them has the ability to negatively impact you. Conversely, the successes you experience in any identity helps to add to your overall self-esteem. All while making you a more interesting and valued contributor to your family, friends, communities, and planet. So go on with your bad selves.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

I fancy myself a badass. And you should too.

I fancy myself a badass. A bull rider. A street fighter. A come-back-here-and-I’ll-bite-your-kneecaps-off type. A finger-waving, head-shaking Hulkimaniac who won’t stay on the mat, even when the rest of the world is saying, ‘Stay on the mat!’ (I was also an impressionable boy in the 1980’s).

The Truth

Am I really a badass? I don’t know.  And I don’t care.

The Value

This self concept, false or real, has helped me more than anything in my personal weaponry. It helps when I have to work long, sleep little, stand my ground, or attack. It prevents me from being intimidated, or from feeling that I am ever not good enough.

I Use My Inside Voice.

It is important to note that I would never tell anyone but myself that I am a badass. It’s like telling people you are cool. The moment you do, you are decidedly uncool. Which perhaps means that when you call yourself a badass, people think of you as a good ass, (which is interesting reverse psychology).

I am simply sharing my mindset here. Because it might help you the way it helps me.

Key Takeaway

Think of yourself as a badass. It helps you do hard things.


*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

**I had a really hard time finding a picture of myself where I am not smiling. Which perhaps means that I am a very smiley badass, if there is such a thing. Which there probably isn’t. #selfperceptioniseverything

Are you disappointed enough in yourself to do something about it?

I love being an entrepreneur. After spending the first 19 years of my career working for ad agencies owned by other people I decided to start my own. That was almost 4 years ago. It was also a leap year. Which is a good year to do anything because it gives you a 24 hour advantage. I tell this to presidential candidates and olympic hopefuls all the time.

The Reaction

Since I launched my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, people often treat me like I am doing something impressive. Or daring. They are positive and supportive of my entrepreneurial adventure. I often hear from people who want to launch their own business. They tell me I was really brave to set out on my own. But when I analyze the driving force behind my leap into entrepreneurship it was not bravery. Not even close.

Ambition

I wanted to own my business since the beginning of my career. I envisioned myself as a business owner or business launcher-type-guy. Whatever that meant. In fact, in my head it was so clear that I would be an entrepreneur that after 15 years of working for other people I considered myself a failure for not actually being a real entrepreneur.

Disappointment for the win!

Eventually, it was the disappointment, and  sense of dissatisfaction in myself that finally moved things forward. Don’t get me wrong, I like myself. But I have a strong vision of my ideal self. And whenever I am not acting in accordance with that vision, or I am too far off the pace I set in my head, I really bothers me. And that disappointment and embarrassment is a powerful fuel. One we should guzzle regularly.

Disappointment (Is better den dat appointment)

Most people never become so disappointed in themselves that it propels them forward. But that is extremely valuable. An injury to your pride is one of the best things that can happen to you. You don’t have to become a prostitute or a heroin addict. Because there is a point of diminishing returns. You just need to be incongruent with your self perception. That feeling eventually pushes you forward like the other side of the magnet.

Key Takeaway.

Create a strong image of who you really are at your core. Write a glorious story about yourself in your head. Make it vivid and real. Think about it all the time. And eventually you will get so fed up with not being that version of yourself that you will take drastic measures. It’s in those drastic measures that the magic happens. And when you do you will feel remarkably alive. Like you are no longer coasting through life. I hope that happens to you. Here’s to you experiencing disappointment in motivating quantities in 2020.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them.