Who you think you are matters more than you probably realize because, ultimately, you will become the person you believe yourself to be.

There is that scene where Eeyore looks at his reflection in a pool of water and exclaims, “Pathetic.” Then he wanders around to the other side of the same pool, peers at his reflection again and says, “Just as I thought. No different from this side.” I know too many people who see their own image in the mirror like Eeyore does.

Today, I came across the best blog post I’ve read in ages. It’s from James Clear, and it’s a selection from his excellent book Atomic Habits. He talks about how to form habits that flow out of your own sense of identity. Most of us start with the outcomes we want to achieve, but James recommends we start with who we want to become rather than outcomes.

If you’re looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve. Build identity-based habits now. The results can come later.

I think James is spot on. In fact, what James says reminds me of what Zig Ziglar always said about the proper order to getting what you want out of life. First, Zig said, decide who you will BE. Then, DO the things that line up with that identity. The result is that you will HAVE what you really want. So, Be => Do => Have. Most of us reverse that order to our own peril.

It also reminds me of something Bob Goff said in his book Everybody Always:

Instead of telling people what they want, we need to tell them who they are. This works every time. We’ll become in our lives whoever the people we love the most say we are.

In other words, if it’s true that you will become the person you believe yourself to be, then one of the key ways in which we love other people and influence them in positive ways is to remind them of who they truly are, which will help to reinforce their best reflections on their own lives.

As we kick off another year, don’t just write down goals, resolutions, or even habits you hope to form. Journal for a while about who you are and who you want to become. Out of that sense of identity will flow the habits that will shape your entire future.

And if you are a leader who needs help in the area of identity formation, spiritual formation, or leadership development, those happen to be my coaching specialties. Let’s chat. I’m passionate about coaching leaders from burnout to breakthrough.


Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash.

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Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People
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