Create a Powerful New Identity

Success is about more than what you do; it's about who you are. Get-it-Done Guy has expert tips on how to create a New You.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #282

Getting what you want requires aligning three areas of your brain: behaviors, beliefs, and identity.

You need to engage in behaviors that will help you reach your goals. Want to build a zombie army? Great! But if you need to give your troops PowerPoint or Keynote presentations and don’t know how to use the software, you’ll fail at communicating your battle plans.

Beliefs also count. If you believe your zombie army is all-powerful, that belief will lead you to do dumb things like take on a squadron of tanks with shambling half-animated corpses with bad discipline. This will quickly end in defeat. (Let’s gloss over how I know that, shall we?) 


My coaching clients often find their beliefs are their biggest obstacle. Sami wanted to move from Nashville to Poughkeepsie. “Of course,” Sami declared, “I have responsibilities. The soonest I could move would be April.” Not really. “You can go tonight,” I explained, “just buy a plane ticket.” A smile broke across Sami’s face as the truth sunk in. As Sami leaped up to buy a plane ticket, I added, “But only after payment for your coaching session clears.” After all, I have a responsibility to help my clients live lives of integrity.

Identity Is Where It’s At

Most powerful of all is identity, who we are. “I could start a company, but I’m not an entrepreneur.” “I’m an overachiever.” “I’m a naturally good speller.” These are all identity statements. Some are more powerful than others. A powerful identity doesn't guarantee success—you still need beliefs, behaviors, and opportunity—but with a powerful identity, you'll go out, find the beliefs, learn the behaviors, and seek out the opportunity.

With a powerful identity, you'll find the "how."

Start with Who

David was a dating disaster. He would say, do, and wear the wrong thing. “I'm just a clueless geek,” he’d say. If that’s his identity, is it any wonder he’s single?

Then he was cast in a play as a suave romantic. He’s a good actor. One day he walked home, staying in character. Amazingly, people started acting as if he were magnetic. 

Romantic David would be the kind of guy who’s always improving his dating skills, real-life David followed his lead and assembled an all-female Board of Directors for expert advice on becoming irresistible to Mrs. Right. Soon, Romantic David was engaged.

Author Your Professional Identity

Coach Steve Chandler points out that most of us develop our identity around being social. We want to be liked. Then we enter the work world and get eaten alive, and not in a good way. Business rules are different. If we show up in business as our social selves, we play by the wrong rules and get creamed. We need to develop a professional identity to use at work.

Isn’t that inauthentic? Chandler says no. Your social self comes from parents, TV, and cereal commercials. But you’re free to author your own professional identity. Learn more about how to keep your professional self out of hot water in Modern Manners Guy's new book, Reply All...And Other Ways to Tank Your Career.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.