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Becoming Resilient > Personal Identity

Personal Identity

Your job is just one facet of your identity, and your career is just one aspect of your life. To achieve some degree of resilience you have to separate who you are from what you do. It’s a long-term developmental process, but worth the effort. That separation will keep you resilient during times of career disappointments or personal hardship by giving you the freedom to focus on your strengths and opportunity rather than your anxiety and loss. The attributes of your personal identity create an authenticity that stands with you throughout times of change and creates alignment between your feelings, beliefs, values, and actions. Authenticity creates a platform for resiliency. Here are a few ideas to try and some questions to think about if you want to strengthen your sense of personal identity:

  • Develop a personal logo. You can design it yourself or modify an existing design. Think about what a personal logo might mean, how it can stand for what you are just as a company logo represents the values and mission of an organization.

  • Develop a personal metaphor for your goals. Think about where you are right now and write down three facts about yourself. Now write down three feelings evoked by those facts. Finally, complete this sentence with those feelings in mind: “This feels like . . . .” To create a future-directed metaphor, think about where you would like to be or what you would like to accomplish during the next year (or choose your own time frame) and repeat this three-point exercise. Examine your “future metaphor” and try to observe and catch yourself behaving that way in your daily activities.

  • List all the different roles you play in your professional life. List all the roles you would like to play in your professional life. What changes would you have to make to close that gap and to get closer to the roles you want to play?

  • List some early “childhood commandments” (You need something practical to fall back on. If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.) What part did they play in creating the sense of identity you have now? How do they block you from the personal identity you imagine for yourself?


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