What are they? And, What Can You Do About Them?
Have you ever had your identity stolen?
I had checks stolen once many years ago. The people that stole them tried to write checks on my account all over town. Unfortunately, I banked with Bank of America at the time and trying to solve that problem on my end was problematic. (DO NOT BANK AT BOA! If you EVER have something similar to this happen to you, they just become part of the nightmare! They stole an entire paycheck out of our savings that was NOT connected to the compromised account to cover the forged checks and overdraft fees they caused -we never got it back.) I went to the DA’s office downtown because companies had started turning in those checks to the DA’s office. I sat down with a nice woman and she handed me a signature card and had me sign it - as if I had signed a check.
She looked at it and looked at the forged document in her file and she laughed. She said, “Not only are they not even close, they didn’t even spell your name right!” I wasn’t laughing. I still don’t. That nightmare cost me hours and hours of my time and cost us thousands of dollars and headaches. Luckily, she said she’d just take all of the forged checks and add them to the file as they come in. She also clued me in that BOA was gonna do nothing to help us - she’s never seen them help any of their clients in the same situation.
We each have physical things that point to our identity. How we look. Our eyes. Our fingerprints. Our signatures. These are things that easily point to who we are.
We also carry an inner identity that has nothing to do with those physical traits I just mentioned. It’s our sense of self - our self-awareness. There’s a really good coaching question that leads to a wonderful self-discovery exercise: Who were you before being who the world told you to be? That’s important because while we are growing up and making claim to who we are, what we like, what dreams we might pursue, etc; we also have outer influences on our identity. What are parents want for us. What assumptions they make about us that may or may not agree with who we believe ourselves to be. Some of us adopt these things just because they come from someone we love or trust - even though they aren’t right for us. We experience a sort of cognitive dissonance when for whatever reason, we may be doing things or saying things that just don’t align with who we know to be at our core.
Who were you before being who the world told you to be?
Let me tell you a short story about this as it occurred in my life. I’m leaving out details now - you can read about it in my upcoming book this summer. I searched for my birth family for over 30 years. Thank goodness for Ancestry DNA! I finally found my birth mom through a cousin I matched to. When I met my birth family, I suddenly made sense! I believed things at my core about myself that I had ZERO context for. They went against how I was raised. Here was the big aha for me… I already knew at my core who I was and what I was designed to be. I just didn’t trust it because I had no context to point to it. Finding my birth family helped me make sense of all of it - but the reality is, God knows what He’s doing. He clearly designed me at my core to be who I am designed for His purpose for my life. Not my friends’ purpose. Not my coach’s purpose. Not my adoptive parents’ purpose. HIS PURPOSE! He left clues all along, I just hadn’t trusted them because all of the noise in my world that drowned them out. I truly believe that we are encoded in our DNA by God to be who we are. The good news is that you can never lose your identity, not really. However, you can have it disrupted.
As some of you already know because you follow me on social media - or you checked out yesterday’s post, I have decided to return to coaching. I have had several people reach out to me with questions about Identity Coaching with regards to what disruptors are, how it works, etc. So, I decided just to create a post about it!
To give you some context of how I arrived at Identity Coaching & introducing identity disruptors, I will give you just a short bit of history here. One of my biggest strengths is that I recognize patterns. I see patterns everywhere. Someone once theorized that it’s probably why I love games like Soduku so much. A funny thing about Soduku, when I was first introduced to it, I did not understand it. I could not wrap my brain around it. Then, someone told me it worked with patterns and I thought, “Well, this should be my thing then!” When I approached it from that perspective, I easily picked it up and it quickly became my favorite game to unwind to or play while waiting for an appointment etc.
I have people come to me all of the time for advice or consulting on a variety of topics because they either know I’ve been there or that I study a lot on that topic - and often both of those things. These areas include being an adoptee, searching for birth family and genealogy clues, grief, midlife, chronic illness/ other dx, post-pandemic, labels we wear voluntarily or have involuntarily been assigned to us along with the expectations they bring with them, loss, disappointment, and what happens to our identity when foundations to our faith are shaken.
Can you think of any other things in life that happen that may cause us to question our own identity? I’d love to hear what you come up with!
What I realized is that all of these things have a common thread. They all connect to our identity in some way. Being an adoptee, identity disruption is something I just inherently know a thing or two about. So, maybe that’s one reason I keyed in so quickly to this pattern. However, you don’t have to be an adoptee to appreciate this. We are all designed to be exactly who we are. We are all prepped in our lives for our purpose by the things in our lives that happen to us. Who are we when we shed what our worlds tell us to be?
I have often told a story about growing up. I was always known as Hank’s daughter or Chris’ sister (for those who even knew he had a sister!). I think I adopted these deeply into my own identity because as an adoptee I was so desperate to find a way to fit in to this family God had placed me into. I remember being so excited to go to college to escape these identities and have my own - only to learn I went to a small college that had expectations of my identity just because of the town I was from! I failed miserably at living up to those expectations. I sometimes wonder if on some level I did it on purpose because I was so angry that I wasn’t able to create my own identity as I had hoped. When my dad died, it shook me to my core. He was my rock. I shattered. My identity was completely disrupted. When my brother was killed in an accident five years later, it disrupted my identity once again. Grief is a loss of connection to love. Grief is an identity crisis of its own.
Identity disruption is a loss of connection to self. A connector is broken somehow. Part of my identity is … “I’m like my dad in these ways…. “ “I’m like my brother in these ways..” And it’s even in the negative - “I’m not my dad or my brother in these ways…” They were always reference points for me. When they were gone… disruption.
One of clients several years ago is a federal employee. His job / work was his life. He was divorced. He spent long, long hours at work. He was passionate about it. He’s a scientist and he absolutely loved his job. Well, during one of the shutdowns that went longer than a couple of days, he called me and said, “I need your help, Mel. I’m so lost! I don’t know what to do now. I don’t even know who I am if I can’t go into work!” He was quickly spiraling into high anxiety and depression. I spent some time with him and I helped him stop the spiral and make an appointment with a therapist to help him deal with more of the emotional sides of things. But I had to walk him back … before his job, on what his dreams for his life were. What did he really want from life? The things he put on the back burner because he was so obsessed with his job which became his identity and his whole life. It worked. He set some goals and dreams - and it’s been fun as his friend to watch those unfold in his life. He still loves his work - but he loves his life outside of work as well.
How many of us got to midlife and quickly learned that Midlife not only changed the rules, but changed the game!? How many people do you know reached midlife and thought, “Is this all there is?” or “This is NOT where I expected to be at this point in my life. This is not what I imagined for my life!” And no one has accurately described menopause! You really don’t know what to expect from that until you go through it! I was always a skinny person told to gain weight and couldn’t seem to ever make the doctors happy. Midlife hit and I gained too much weight and now can’t seem to lose it no matter what I do! What I did pre-midlife has the opposite effects in midlife! It’s definitely been a disruption!
The pandemic also changed life for so many people. People came home to their families and worked from home and were reminded of who they are and what they want for their families and how working long hours in an office is never going to be acceptable again. Now employers can’t get their people back in the office! Other people discovered that making a pivot is not in their identity and have suffered greatly for it. Anxiety has become the norm for people today. Lack of health care - we don’t want to leave home even though it’s been deemed relatively safe now. The pandemic has definitely disrupted identities.
Living with a chronic illness or other diagnosis. People struggle with not wanting their identity tied to a diagnosis. . . yet that’s what people in their lives are doing. We have to remember to honor people for who they are outside of their illness. That’s one of the greatest gift we can give them. I may have ADHD or some other disorder, but I don’t want that label - nor the assumptions it carries -tied to my identity. I don’t need a built-in excused to not show up because I’m chasing shiny squirrels. If I adopt that into my identity - that’s exactly what will happen.
We have the power to write our own identity stories and THIS is what identity coaching is all about. I will talk more tomorrow about the faith recovery piece of identity disruption - it’s a little more complex. I actually separate that out into a different coaching path.
We have the power to write our own identity stories!
Identity disruptors are problematic. But we can address them and write our own stories in spite of them. This is the type of coaching that I do. One of the ways to do this is to tap into the dreams you have for your life. If you don’t have a big dream for your life, then I also have a path for that called Life Atlas that is a powerful journey. But we don’t do that until we’ve addressed identity disruption. You don’t want to make big plans and dreams for your life under the influence of identity disruption!
Who are you in the big dream you have for your life?
So, if this post is something you connect to and think that maybe you have some identity disruptors you want to tackle, then you need to take advantage of this opportunity. It’s been awhile since I was in coaching arena, I need to brush up on skills. Plus, identity disruption is a new framework for me. So, I have a launch offer - a very few limited slots at the special launch price of $57 for 3 months of coaching. That is not per month - that is for all three months. (Ever priced life coaching? Then you know what an amazing opportunity this is!) All you need to do is click below and you will see two different price plans. They are the same thing - only the launch offer is special pricing. So be sure to choose that one or you will pay more than you need to lol! If you don’t see the special launch plan, then the slots are filled. Please don’t delay! This won’t last long! Just 3 slots left! All of the Tier 1 offers are now taken. Now, this goes up to $97. There are 3 slots at this price. Then it goes up again.
As always, cheers to our flourishing finish!
Until next time,
Something I don’t talk about nearly enough. Remember my banking nightmare? That burned me forever as far as traditional banking goes. I went to a pre-paid debit system. Then, my number was skimmed and I lost all that was in my account. Pre-paid debits take awhile to get the money back and at the time, I didn’t have the luxury to have that kind of disruption. So, I switched to Chime. I control my card transactions by turning my card on and off in my app. I have had my number skimmed twice since being with Chime where I caught it and once when Chime actually caught it before I did. I got my money back quicker than expected. AND, they sent me a new card with a new number immediately. I have $200 FEE-FREE overdraft protection - and because of boosts from others - it’s actually $220 instead of $200. I have a savings account and a credit builder card in addition to the debit account - all with Chime - all in the app! Chime even has a facebook community where they often surprise members with swag in the mail! What bank do you know who’s actually given a priority to build community around their product? They have a special offer right now that expires April 8, 2023 so jump on this. Ready to hear it?
Earn $100 when you join Chime with this link and receive a qualifying direct deposit! Learn more. That’s $100 FREE MONEY as long as you set up & receive a direct ACH deposit of $200. (See the details to learn what is counts as a qualifying direct deposit. Payroll deposit definitely counts!)