One of my clients came to me dealing with deep uncertainty about himself. His lack of confidence was at an all-time low. He was de-energized at work and that was bleeding into the rest of his life. He was having a difficult time making proactive decisions. He felt stuck, almost paralyzed in his creative work. And the more stuck he felt, the more he withdrew and didn't give his best contributions. "How do I find my place of confidence and self esteem again?" he asked me with deep sincerity.
He was experiencing what I call Identity Drift.
What Is Identity Drift?
Identity Drift is when
- you begin to lose your sense of self;
- you're not sure who you really are anymore;
- you're feeling uncertain about yourself, little by little unable to recognize what makes you You;
- you find yourself trying to take on qualities and attributes that are no longer yours but are someone else's (you're trying to be something other than what you really are);
- you've lost confidence in yourself;
- you're becoming more and more satisfied with status quo (not rocking the boat wherever you are for fear that you'll get judged, criticized, or devalued, which is more blows to your sense of self worth--so you prefer to simply go with the flow and not creates waves)--you begin to simply drift along with whatever current you're in;
- You've lost your center and place of most authentic power.
Have you ever felt some of those things? If so, you're not alone. Many of us are caught up in Identity Drift.
What Are Consequences of Identity Drift?
The consequences are painful:
- living in a state of high stress and anxiety
- losing your confidence
- lowering your sense of worth / value
- feeling lack of energy
- feeling depressed about yourself, your future, and everything else in your life
- comparing yourself to others and always coming up short
- wishing to disengage and withdraw either emotionally or physically
- experiencing the onset of physiological symptoms and health problems
So what can you do if you find yourself caught in Identity Drift? How do you stop the drift? Here are several suggestions.
5 Ways to Stop Identity Drift
Know your strengths
Because your strengths are based on your natural preferences (specific wiring in your brain), when you discover them, embrace them, and pay attention to them, you are placing yourself right in the middle of your true Self. They are accurate descriptions of who you are and how you best live your life. Leaning into your strengths places you in alignment with authenticity.
Identify how you're currently using your strengths in your every day life
The more aware you become of how you're using your strengths, the more competent and confident you become. Paying attention and developing awareness are key.
Keep a diary in which you record evidences of strengths-based behaviors you engage in during the day
Increasing awareness and consciousness of your strengths increases exponentially when you keep a record of you behaviors and actions that manifest your strengths. And every time you write a note describing an action, you're increasing your sense of self and your confidence in your abilities to live well.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Reducing Identity Drift comes about by focusing on yourself not on others. When we're drifting, we tend to compare and think that we should be more like others (since we're not very clear on who we are). But we need to stop confusing ourselves. We need to pay more attention to how we're strong and how we use those strengths.
Intentionalize ways to step into your strengths more frequently
Start identifying specific actions you can take that are genuine expressions of all your strengths. Write them down. Look at them every day. Set one behavior goal each day based upon one of your strengths. Why? When you're using your strengths in authentic ways you increase your sense of self, confidence, and personal energy. You're aligning more deeply with the way your brain is wired. You're rediscovering some very core pieces of what makes you uniquely You.
When you choose to become the expert of your strengths, you are making the decision to step more fully into who You are. I have yet to see someone who makes this a priority not recover their personal confidence and core power again. The drift lessens little by little until it finally stops.
So go ahead, leverage the real You by embracing what makes you unique and intentionally choosing to live that out, expressing it more fully!
Upcoming Work About How to Build Your Strongest Marriage or Committed Relationship
There is such a thing as Marriage Identity Drift--when two people lose their sense of couple identity--they simply float along without any energy or confidence in their couple presence. If you want to experience my strengths process in your marriage or committed relationship, check out the upcoming workshop I'm giving on this. Go to Events for more information and registration details. Registration deadline is this coming Monday, March 17. Space is limited to 10 couples.
Looking for a Speaker or Coach?
If you or someone you know in your organization is looking for a keynote speaker or workshop teacher for events in your company, congregation, or association gatherings, I would be happy to come speak on this theme or others like it. And interested in strengths coaching? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the Speaking or Coaching pages of this site.