Monthly Archives: January 2010

Defining Your Identity. Who Was That Masked Man Anyway?

Well, with great anticipation (okay maybe only by me) my book was finally released January 5th. The reality of this adventure has really been incredibly surreal. I never really did set out to write a book. It was never on my radar as I worked diligently in my mortgage banking and financial career.

The thought only crossed my mind after others encouraged me to consider combining what I had learned or created during my life with my unique sense of humor, personal experiences, and some would say warped look at the world.

It was that, or what they were really trying to do was to get me to commit to what I had to say to paper and then get me to stop talking. Well the last laugh is on them. Now I am writing and talking, and for me it is much easier than walking and chewing gum at the same time.

One of the interesting things for me as I travel down this new and unique path is that I have been finding great humor in the perceptions that others have developed or began to cultivate about what success with the book could bring (I know a rather amusing thought). They all revolve around the premise “Are you going to remember us little people when you become rich and famous? I think that is all too hilarious.

Recently when I strolled into my favorite cigar shop and shook hands with many of the regulars and a few not so familiar, one gentleman stated “I remember you, you’re the author” I graciously said thank you, grabbed a cigar, sat down and thought, well “Yes, I guess I am” What was amusing to me was that during a 28 year career in the financial arena, when I walked into a room I was immediately referred to as the “Mortgage Guy”

I dwelled on that for a while for many reasons. Some obvious and some not so obvious, with the thought that did the “Mortgage guy” or the “Author” really define who I was? Was it my identity or was it how others identified who I was?

I am not really sure where the adage “We are we what we eat really came from. Some may argue that it is driven from the Bible in that “We reap what we sow”. Others may argue that is simply words that were contrived to attribute our physical condition. For purpose of our conversation, it is irrelevant other than to decide if it is a precursor to our identity.

Okay, with that being said, are some of us really chickens and others turkeys?

Sorry for the fowl reference, I couldn’t help myself.

So then, what really does define our identity? Is it really what we do in life as an occupation or is that simply our vocation. Is it a measurement of our accomplishments? Many would just debate that was simply our legacy.

So who are we? How do we define what our real identity is?

Well, dictionary definitions often vary on the subject of identity. Most of them relate more to our character or personality, which is probably better defined as our sense of individuality, or by how we are psychologically identified.

I will take the position that your identity is very different from your personality. I believe that your identity is at the very center of who you are as opposed to your personality which is simply an expression of how you navigate your way through life.

Someone’s personality can at times be complex and at other times be very simple. We have learned as we have moved our way through the world that we can modify our personality to any individual set of circumstances, whether it is during social interaction or in the business climate, in order to cause some form of mutually beneficial conversation.

I do not believe that your identity is modifiable, adaptable, or flexible when considered in the same context. As Popeye said “I am what I am”.

Yes, I agree we are a product of our lives experiences. I also agree that each event, each circumstance, each person we have met through our lifetime have in one way or another, positive or negative, impacted us. However, more importantly I believe that at a very early age certain events were the major contributing factor in how we relate to life and to the fundamental person we have become.

Through these experiences we create how we see the world, the decisions we make about how we chose to live our life that protect us and the commitments that we chose to help us chart the waters so that everything remains comfortable.

I believe that defines our identity. That truly is who we are. It is nothing more, nothing less.

I can’t tell you whether you identify yourself as a chicken or a turkey, that all depends on how you see yourself and the perception you helped to create in the minds of others.

Spend some time discovering what your true identity is. Try separating your job or vocation from your identity. Now remove the distinguishing characteristics of your personality. Have a little fun with it. You just might be shocked to find out you are not the person you thought you were.