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Finding Your Identity.

How and why finding your identity is your path to finding personal and small business success, with hosts Henry Lopez and David Begin.

Is your personal identity predominantly based on being the Small Business Hero or the Successful Serial Entrepreneur?

Have you realized how this identity may actually be holding you back? Hampering you from achieving true success in your personal life and your entrepreneurial journey.

Henry Lopez and David Begin share their experiences and tips on how to Find Your Identity.

Finding Your Identity:

  • What is a personal identity?
    • A person’s identity refers to the way they understand themselves and their position in the world. It encompasses a wide range of elements that contribute to who a person is, including personal characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, roles, and affiliations. Identity is both internally constructed, reflecting a person’s self-conception and self-perception, and externally influenced by societal norms, culture, interactions, and relationships.
    • Components of Identity include:
      1. Personal Identity: Personality traits, interests, talents, and preferences that distinguish one individual from another.
      2. Social Identity: Derived from the groups to which a person belongs, such as racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, professional, and religious groups. Social identity shapes how individuals see themselves in relation to others.
      3. Cultural Identity: Involves identifying with or feeling part of a particular cultural group, including traditions, languages, aesthetics, values, and norms.
      4. Professional Identity: How a person views themselves within the context of their profession, including the values, beliefs, and behaviors associated with their vocational role.
      5. Role-Based Identity: Formed through the roles a person plays in their life, such as being a parent, spouse, friend, employee, small business owner, or entrepreneur. These roles can significantly influence a person’s actions and how they perceive themselves.
  • Occupational Identity – The Business Owner Hero – the good, bad and ugly
    • “Occupational Identity” – When someone’s sense of self is predominantly linked to their profession or job role, their occupational identity overshadows other aspects of their personal identity. In the context of a business owner, this can mean that their self-worth, self-conception, and the way they relate to the world around them are heavily influenced by their success, challenges, and experiences as an entrepreneur. This can lead to a lack of balance in their identity, making it difficult to separate their personal worth from their business achievements or failures.
    • “I am a business owner…” or “I am a serial entrepreneur…”
    • “I need to make all the decisions.”
    • “I am the best at [sales, make the widgets, solve problems, serve the customers] …”
    • The Good: It’s part of what helped us achieve success. You are probably the best!
    • The Bad: It keeps you from empowering your team and scaling.
    • The Ugly: You can never let go. Who are you when you step away from the business?

Stephen R. Covey: “We are not our successes. We are not our failures. Our true identity lies in our ability to grow, to adapt, and to always strive for improvement.

  • Can our Identity evolve?
    • Yes, Identity is not static; it evolves over time through experiences, changes in roles and social contexts, and personal growth.
    • Understanding our identity is crucial for personal development, as it affects decision-making, relationships, and how one interacts with the world. It also plays a critical role in psychological well-being, influencing levels of confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to navigate life’s challenges.
    • Questions to ask yourself…
      • What is my identity, and how tied is it to my role as a business owner?
  • How to evolve and diversify your identity:
    • For small business owners, their business often represents not just their livelihood but also a significant part of their identity. Letting go of being a successful business owner as their sole identity can be challenging but is crucial for personal growth and well-being. Here are some strategies to help small business owners diversify their sense of self:
      1. Acknowledge the need and desire to evolve your personal identity.
      2. Cultivate Personal Interests Outside of Work
        Engage in hobbies or interests that have nothing to do with your business. This could be anything from sports, arts, reading, or learning a new skill. Such activities not only provide a break from work but also help in developing a sense of achievement and fulfillment in other areas of life.
      3. Set Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life
        Create clear boundaries to separate your work life from your personal life. This might involve setting specific work hours, having a dedicated workspace, and making time for family and personal activities. Learning to switch off from work helps in reducing stress and preventing burnout.
      4. Build a Supportive Network
        Cultivate relationships with friends and family who understand and support your journey beyond the business. Networking with fellow entrepreneurs who can relate to your experiences can also be beneficial. Sharing challenges and achievements with a supportive community can help in seeing oneself beyond the business owner identity.
      5. Invest in Personal Development
        Personal growth is not limited to professional success. Engage in activities that promote self-awareness and emotional intelligence, such as meditation, attending workshops, learning, or therapy. Understanding your values, strengths, and areas for growth can enrich your sense of self.
      6. Delegate and Trust Your Team
        Learn to delegate tasks and trust your team with responsibilities. This not only helps with business growth but also allows you to take a step back and invest time in other aspects of your life. Recognizing that the business can operate without your involvement in every detail is a significant step in separating your identity from the business.
        Related Episode: 26 – How to Delegate Effectively to Grow Your Small Business
      7. Reflect on Your Achievements
        Take time to reflect on what you have achieved, both within and outside of your business. Recognizing your accomplishments beyond the business context can help in appreciating the multifaceted nature of your identity.
      8. Seek Professional Help if Needed
        If you find it particularly challenging to detach your identity from your business, consider seeking help from a coach or therapist who specializes in business and personal development. They can offer personalized strategies and support to navigate this transition.

Tim Ferriss: “The question you should be asking isn’t, ‘What do I want?’ or ‘What are my goals?’ but ‘What would excite me?’ Remember that your identity is not locked in; it’s fluid. You can redefine yourself as many times as there are stars in the sky.

  • Letting go of the business owner identity as your only self-concept is a journey that requires time and intentional effort. It’s about finding balance and fulfillment in various aspects of life, which ultimately contributes to a more resilient and diversified sense of self.

Episode Host: Henry Lopez is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach, and the host of this episode of The How of Business podcast show – dedicated to helping you start, run and grow your small business.


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