I Don’t Believe in an Identity Crisis

I read an interesting article on Scary Mommy about a woman describing her identity crisis in her mid-30s. She talks about some of the behaviors she misses from her 20s and some of the things she looks forward to doing now that she’s in her 30s and she feels stuck between the two because they are truly very different.

But is this an identity crisis?

As a coach, I work with my clients to help them get to know who they really are. What they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them – what we call the True You. Transitioning through phases of life shouldn’t seem like an identity crisis, but an opportunity to welcome new events you may not have previously considered to be exciting before. It just requires us to see that we are always changing, growing into a greater version of ourselves. This awareness comes from being present in our lives and using our lives to give us more information about who we are and how we want to be.

I think saying we are having an “identity crisis” is an easy label to use that people use too freely. I think people who say they’re facing an identity crisis are really saying one of two things:

  1. I’m growing up and I don’t want to let go of the benefits/opportunities being my younger self gave me.
  2. I never really knew who I was and now I’m being presented with a new direction in life that I’m realizing I may never have really wanted for myself.

For the first, it happens. Growing up means using your time in life to experience and learn new things, but it also means that some of the “good old days” will become fond memories, guiding you to be a greater version of yourself. Learning how to shift your mentality to “look how great things were” to “look how great things are and can be” can do wonders for your mental state.

For the second, this is where a coach comes in. To know who you are and to know where you fit in today’s world so you are happy and successful starts by being honest with yourself. At The Forte Factor, we work with our clients to help them become clear about what they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them. The intersection of these areas is what we call your Greatness Zone – that place where you are connected to what is best in you and are able to bring it to your world.

To get there, we encourage our clients to answer a few questions to help them gather information about themselves. Some of the questions we ask include:

  1. When you were young, what were you good at?
  2. When you were young, what did you dream about?
  3. For the you who is here today, what do people applaud you for?
  4. For the you who is here today, how do you spend your free time?
  5. If you had no limits, define one dream, adventure or goal you have in life.

I don’t believe in identity crises. An identity crisis means you are starting to discover, develop and live who you are. As you do this, you will see that you are a work in process, constantly expanding your awareness of who you are, what you came equipped with and where in today’s world you feel most alive. The more tuned in you are, the more you can find, work and live in your Greatness Zone.

Take Action
Ask yourself the hard question: is your life where you want it to be? If not, what can you do to change it? You are at the wheel. You get to decide where you go in life. Tune in to yourself to determine the right direction and what tools and guidance you need to get there. Be true to yourself. Be the True You.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Don’t Panic (Unless You Absolutely, Positively Need to Panic)

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What defines success?

By Kristin Allaben, Executive Assistant and Strategic Communications Specialist

In anticipation of my second son’s arrival (due in December), I recently started purging the house of all the items I’ve rarely used or looked at in the six years we’ve been in our house. This act of purging can be extremely refreshing, but that’s for another post.

Instead, I’m going to reflect on success – what is it? What defines it? Why is the allure of success so powerful that it drives us to do great things? Or, on the flip side, inspires feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction and failure?

These questions all came up because, during one of my recent purges, I came across my high school yearbook. I started flipping through the pages (I guess I couldn’t wait to cringe at 18-year old Kristin) and stumbled across the class superlatives section. Below the embarrassing and awkward picture of me posing with a fellow classmate read the title “Most likely to succeed.”

I admit, I struggled with that over the last few years. Voted “most likely to succeed” by my high school classmates didn’t dictate my future, but I felt this overwhelming need to show them they were right, to prove that I did, in fact, grow up to be successful.

But what exactly is success and how does each person define it?

The definition of success has certainly changed for me over the years and, the truth is, it took me a while to realize that this process is normal and a good thing. How I define success is the result of how I evolve over time, the result of gathering new information and choosing how to use and adapt to that information.

 

For example, while in college, success meant doing well, graduating and getting a job. In my first job out of school, it was to work hard and get promoted. Then success changed for me when my husband and I decided to start a family – success was no longer about working hard to become a high ranking professional but instead finding a meaningful and healthy balance between working and being a mom.

When my first son was born, that changed again. Success shifted more to raising a happy and healthy son and having a work schedule that allowed this to happen. And as life continues to change, my definition of success is evolving again as I get closer to bringing another baby boy into the world – I now define success as being the best mom I can be to raise two happy, healthy and well-adjusted boys who are confident in themselves to recognize, embrace and use their own unique talents and strengths to be authentic in a world that tries to create copies.

Wow. What a whirlwind.

So when you find yourself overwhelmed at the prospect of success – whether it’s because you’re working toward a lofty goal you’ve set for yourself or you are trying to live up to expectations someone else has set for you – take a moment to ask yourself: is this what success means to me? This definition is personal and needs to be based on who you are and what you want.

 

Need help finding your definition of success? Consider reading The Greatness Zone to understand your three circles – what you are good at, what you are passionate about and what success means to you – to help you find your fit in today’s world. This is for all of us at any point in our lives.

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