Don’t let a specific trait become your identity by mistake.
When people think of you, what’s the first thing they think of? Why is that? Are they the characteristics you want people to associate with your name?
For the longest time, when people thought of me, they would associate my name with working out and fitness. Why was this? Everything I did revolved around it. I would talk about the gym, working out, dieting, drinking enough water, macros, fitness influencers, new gym clothes, etc… Needless to say, it was a lot! I still love health and fitness and it’s still very much a large part of my life but I no longer share every detail about regarding it with people. Nowadays, I use it as what it was meant to be and that’s a tool to help motivate others. I am even incorporating a new section into this website that deals with a lot of the things I spoke about above, but again it’s to be used as a resource.
Why the change?
I recognized that I had a different purpose, one that was to give back and encourage people. In order to do that, I had to reorganize my priorities so that being an encouragement to others came first. Stopping and thinking about the larger picture of what I was trying to accomplish has put things into perspective. Yes, I want people to appreciate the gym and eating right, but I also want them to become better each day and that is done by more than just working out. That means taking time to give your body a break, your mind a break, make room for learning new things, fix your sleeping patters, and a ton of other different areas that just working out and eating right can’t fix.
Why did I let fitness play such an important part of what I was known for?
When you’re growing up, you want to be noticed. Being the youngest of three boys, I found it hard for me to be taken seriously (although it was often my own brain saying that). When I started working out, it was to relieve stress and a healthy way to manage frustration in my life. Soon after I began, I realized people started noticing and it was one of the first times I felt I had something to talk about that was uniquely me. Once I got a taste of that feeling, I quickly became obsessed with it and went all in because I wanted to do whatever I could to retain that feeling and have something that someone would talk about.
That’s how quick identifications can take place and start to control you if you’re not careful. Associations are not a bad thing if they are the kind of characteristics you want people to associate with you. Being a resource for people to get workout information is something I wanted, but I let it go too far and it took away from the bigger picture I’m aiming for. If someone thinks about you and thinks, “caring, grateful, giving, encouraging, loving, supporting, happy” that’s great news! However, often times, that’s not the case. Some times it’s only one of those areas, and the message and goal you’re trying to reach isn’t always seen because your actions are too narrow.
Where do you start when trying to prioritize your life and association?
I recommend taking some time to sit down and think of three things that you want to be known for, then come up with the “why” behind it. discussed the power of “why” in a prior post here and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend checking it out. Once you have your characteristics and have developed your “why”, then you need to come up with some action items – an idea without a plan is just hype. These action items can be things like giving more, being more encouraging, keeping a smile on your face, or giving someone a pep talk if you see they’re down. When you make intentional changes and start to focus on the things that really matter to you, you will be surprised how quickly they catch on.
So what do people associate with you and is it what you want it to be? If it’s not, you’re in luck because there’s no time limit as to when you can change. As a matter of fact, if you’re not happy with your current associations, I recommend starting today. Take some time to write down what people think about when they think of you, what you want them to think about, and a plan to start changing the characteristics people associate you with.
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