Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass

Identity Crisis: How to stop losing yourself

December 09, 2021 Jon Michail Season 1 Episode 21
Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass
Identity Crisis: How to stop losing yourself
Show Notes Transcript

When you start relying on the aforementioned external factors to form your self-identity, only a little needs to go wrong for you to feel lost about who you actually are. Learn in this episode how you can avoid that, and how Personal Brand can help you to stop losing yourself. 

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Podcast Editor and Producer: Ana Carolina Alves 

Additional Voice: Charles The Voice 

Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)


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Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of image group international and award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old-school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies, and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques, and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image, and reputation.

Hello, everybody, today I am going to talk about something I believe many people experience or will experience an identity crisis. So what is an identity crisis? An identity crisis is a personal psychosocial conflict that occurs normally during early age, adolescence, and so on. But the reality is, it could happen anytime because the trigger might have been adolescence and early age. It involves confusion about one's social role and sense of self. According to Forbes, more than 10,000 people over the age of 65 are forcing an identity crisis every day. For this age group, an identity crisis usually happens because after retiring from employment, many individuals have nothing to hold on to. And they have formed a self-identity based on their profession for most of their life. This particular leads to increased frustrations, regrets and conflicts with self as to who the person really is. And although many retirees lose themselves, they are not the only ones. Everybody, including young people, can face an identity crisis in their lifetime as noted earlier, while people in all stages of life, you know, 10 face an identity crisis, adolescents also tend to be very prone, a study conducted in 2015 found that 37% of teens were struggling with their identity. And 95% of teens reported that they had felt inferior at some point in their lives. You know, so adolescents also, you know, tend to be less familiar with techniques, being younger, and so on, and how to cope with some of these traumatic events, losses and changes in relationships. And that increases, of course, there, you know, their risk for stress, and anxiety. So, basically, the journey to self-discovery around your self-identity is essential, it's not something that can be avoided, certainly, if you can feel the stress and anxiety, you know, definitely on a daily basis or recurring basis, then potentially, you can do something about it. Some signs of an identity crisis, you know, could be, could be specifically unsatisfied with your life, you know, and in the current environment, I can tell you with COVID, right, now, this is going to become a bigger issue into the future. Because this has brought up a lot of issues for people, I mean, the issues were probably there prior in many cases, but it's sort of COVID has brought them all to the fore. So questioning your character, you know, questioning traits that influence your self-perception, you know, image, through social media, Instagram, Facebook, etc, all of these have an impact on your self-identity, anxiety, unrest, of course, the last 18 months have been, you know, very, very pertinent. And in that area, most people have suffered some sort of stress one way or the other, altering your values or inclinations, you know, for an environment or relationship, this is essential, we've spoken about values many times before. But the moment you go against your values, you know, what we call is the roots of the Wisdom Tree, then all sorts of other issues start to come up, including potentially an identity crisis, difficulty trusting to make yourself the ability, you know, to make decisions, you don't trust yourself. And of course, one of the other big ones that happen quite frequently is living a double life. So the causes and triggers of an identity crisis, you know, creates all sorts of, as I mentioned before, stressors, you know, major life transitions, significant health changes, like, again, cancer, diabetes, and of course, you know, what's going on with COVID, relationship changes, etc. So a lot of change, obviously, can impact how you see yourself, you know, but the key here is, whatever is happening, this is the thing. It's all potentially doable, and actually transformative. If you utilize the right advice along the way and deal with it. 

The truth is forming your self-identity based on your profession may also pigeonhole you with a self-image that is not totally you, and which is probably allied with countless other professionals. in your field, thereby losing all your oneness, of course, how many times that we heard, you know, the student that becomes a doctor or a lawyer, because their mom or dad was a doctor or lawyer or an engineer for that matter. So you know, we follow your follow up basically a trend, that potentially will not have been what you initially wanted to do. So this is where you need your own self-identity to guide you to aid you in building a strong personal brand so that you can rely upon it to get you to the good and bad times in life, including, of course, your career and business. It can be challenging, because of social proof, to decide to stay in the background and not risk promoting your uniqueness. Of course, that's your choice. Yes, that's a real concern in many workplaces. And I get it, I have clients like toxic workplaces, political workplaces, competitive, you know, non-collaborating workplaces. But the reality is this. You know, as I've noted, numerous times before, life's too short, if you're going to worry about what everyone else is doing, then you're not going to get an opportunity to really live your best self. And the last thing I want to be doing is living with what we call is challenging self-identity. That's obviously creating all sorts of confusion for you. Questioning, your sense of self may be stressful, as we all know, it might even create cognitive dissonance. But if you persevere with that, it can actually be a good thing in the long term. Knowing who you are better, and adapting to change can help you grow as a person. And I'm sure many of us can, you know, relate to that with the experiences of COVID in the last 18 months, and what that means in reference to change. 

So I have some coping tips to share on how you can get through an identity crisis. And the first is looking good and exploring. This is an area that most people are afraid to do, and that's a fact of life. Okay? Because it's painful, you're going to look a little bit deeper. But that's where your salvation lies, I guess a practice of objectivity. What that means is allow yourself time to reflect before reacting, you know, by time and identify unique traits in yourself, you know, your self-awareness, knowledge on how to spend your time moving forward, and especially how to spend your time moving forward, doing the things that you love, certainly 80% of the time anyway.

My second tip is your authentic identities will give you joy in your daily existence, and otherwise inspire you to include, of course, you know, but putting yourself out there, as I've noted, earliest to express yourself, practice to communicate the values that are important to you. Do not suffocate yourself, do not suppress yourself. If you do, there's a cost to pay for that. That's the thing when you live in life inauthentically, you will pay a price. And you pay a price in all different ways, including, of course, your health, the most important thing in your life. My third coping tip is to recognize how you judge yourself internally and externally, and then manage it. You know, challenge negative irrational thoughts, change the way you perceive difficult situations and events, and allow time to identify what is making you uncomfortable. You know, really go for it from that perspective, just, you know, challenge every aspect regarding how you see yourself, you know, and if you seriously and are honest with that, when you're looking in the mirror, it doesn't matter if it's negative in this case, but challenging because we're bringing out the negative or the rational at least we've dealt with it now we can get on to the positive, as opposed to suppressing the negative or irrational and pretending it's not there. That certainly will create other issues for you. And that's the last thing you want to be doing. And my final coping tip is if necessary, to seek outside help. Yes, it takes some courage. There are so many places you can find support, like a support group, you know, trust the friends and colleagues, individual therapies, or a professional coach, you know, like CBT, or person centred therapy.

A professional coach can help people deal with an identity crisis, especially when they specialize in image and personal brand management and help you reframe it to your authentic identity. Because remember, your identity is a story. Okay? And if the identity is not supporting anymore part of the storytelling, of reframing that is to create an authentic identity as opposed to an identity that's obviously in crisis, saying I obviously in guided meditations, journaling things that I've mentioned many, many times before. And of course, the exercise of some description, I've already noted to you, before I do Qigong every day, if I don't do that every day, certainly, I would feel like I've missed out that day, something and a lot of other people can relate with that, of course, with going to the gym, go for a run a walk, cycling, etc, extremely reflective process to reduce any potential anxiety, and increase self-awareness. And the important thing that I strongly recommend is, you know, embrace self-care in your life, you know, start liking yourself, there's no reason to beat yourself up, you know, we already, we've already probably done that for a long time in our lives, there's no point there's nothing to gain from that. Okay, other than specifically bringing it out, and let's just move forward. So embracing self-care, you know, don't get a massage once in a while, you know, or some other type of therapy, that's going to give you some of the satisfaction you're looking for. 

So let me share with you my experience of when I needed some help in reference to identity? Well, first of all, and this is the thing, what I did was basically set boundaries, I set boundaries with people and commitments. So then I can have a clear path forward, by setting boundaries, I start my day with setting intentions. And I mentioned to you already, the meditation, and the journaling does that, you know, but by also setting up boundaries, you know, this allows you to recenter and remain committed, this is the important thing here. For people that are going through an identity crisis and are not centred, this is essential, define your priorities, declare what you need, you know, what you want. And, you know, some of the nice to have. But you know, and celebrate those, you know, communicate directly, you know, do not wish you wash, get direct, obviously, a lot of people you know, that are passive communicators at times, are not assertive, what communicate in a way that's, you know, goes around the corner to make a point, that's not going to give you power that actually takes your power away. Pay attention always to your needs. You know, there's a great quote, you know, my needs and that is, you know, it's a quote by Jeremy Griffiths is an Australian biologist, and it says this, to be selfless is biologically impossible. Okay? The mother is selfish, but the infant experiences selflessness. So what that means is, of course, the mother, whatever she does, at that moment, she's doing it for her, and her baby experiences, selflessness, and I think that's beautiful. And of course, some of the other things you can do is, you know, start some small adjustments, build, obviously, your boundaries, by being very clear, what is just not on set boundaries is not just about what shouldn't happen, but it's also definitely what will happen. So, you know, and sometimes the shouldn't happen is probably more important than all. And finally, in the times that we're all facing, that are not getting easier for people. And we know this, as I noted earlier, practice, you know, self-compassion. Basically, it's all okay. I mean, you know, you're okay, you're fine. Basically, your identity, obviously, if it's a little bit skewed, can come back to the right-centre setting. It just needs a little bit of work and commitment. Of course, if you've got carriage miracles to happen.

Finally, some other thoughts are, you know, if you want to be healthier, happier, more joyful, on your personal journey. You know, studies show, whoever deals with this aspect of identity crisis certainly gets the results. As always, before we finish, I have a few messages for you. If you liked this episode, please share it with your friends, family and colleagues. You can also share it on your social media. You can follow me on Twitter, John underlined Michael, on LinkedIn and John Michael and on Facebook as image Group International. Last but not least, please email me directly. If you think I can help you find yourself again. I II, you know, getting your personal identity back to a centre and taking away the crisis. The email is on the description of the episode. I thank you all. I look forward to seeing you next week. And I wish you abundance you know you do cheers have a magic week.

Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass" Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists, based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world.   To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops please visit or call 1800 631 311.