Changing Life Sizes: The Identity Crisis
When clients mentor with me, they do so because they want change. Some aspect of their life is no longer working for them—and perhaps, never has. Instead, they’ve decided it’s time to pursue a more expansive life vision even if they lack clarity as to what that may be.
Yet inevitably during our work together a pivotal moment arises in the change process.
In full pursuit of their authentic dreams, they encounter: The Identity Crisis. That moment when they question whether their self-assessment was an accurate one.
For in pursuing their new path, they encounter themselves—and in most instances, as if for the first time. Far too often, they realize they played small and, in the process, downplayed both their capabilities and their aspirations as well.
But as their dream shimmers in the near distance, as it begins to take a more definite shape, they often stall. Caught somewhere between the desire for a grander life and the fear they are being grandiose, they wonder, Can I really do this?
In a furtive attempt to answer the question, struggle ensues. One moment they feel large and competent. The next, they feel small and full of self-doubt.
Eventually their identity crisis leads them to change the question and they begin to wonder: Who am I to _______?
It’s a question asked and designed for one purpose: To put the proverbial nail in the coffin of their newly emerging self, dream, life…and ultimate success.
It’s a question we each invariable ask ourselves at some point or another in our lives, too.
At the core of both the crisis and the question is fear. Yet it is also a sign that we’re onto something. If our life were a treasure map, this question is the big, black ‘X’. It marks the spot where our gold is buried.
It means we’re on the right path, too. Only rather than make a creative u-turn at this pivotal point, we simply need to walk further along it to reach the treasure that is our dream.
In doing so, we learn the trick to successfully navigating the change process and its ensuing identity crisis. That it’s as much about holding a larger, clearer and more successful vision of our lives as it is about giving ourselves permission to grow into it.
One step at a time.