What Is Identity Shifting?
Rob: That’s a phenomenal question; there’s a short answer and a long answer. It’s similar to if I were to ask you, “What are you?” You might say, “I’m a parent. I’m a business owner. Some days, I’m anxiety. Or I’m sadness.”
We’re actually much more than we think we are. I’m here to tell you that you’re a much bigger deal than you think you are. We tend to get locked down into specific problems, and life can feel very small. However, a big part of what we are is a bunch of unconscious narratives.
What Do You Mean By “Identity”?
Identity is almost like a continued narrative that you’re telling yourself about yourself. You have a big, long story of what you are.
You’ve got a whole history there, but you’ve also got preconceptions like, “I’m good at this. It’s okay to make this much money, but that much money is too much. I can’t even conceive of that.” We’re not even aware of all these stories, so we could say that a big part of it is unconscious to you.
It’s manifesting itself. But what does it mean for you to become a profoundly different version of yourself? What would the ideal version of you be if you could strip your limits and get rid of everything?
Let’s take somebody who’s dysfunctional in some way. They’ve got a lot of unconscious limits, self-loathing and depression. If you ask that person to see a great version of themselves, they’re probably still going to see a pretty limited, small version.
Identity Shifting is a Metamorphosis
So when I talk about identity shifting in its best version, I’m really talking about a true metamorphosis. Think about a caterpillar that’s going into a cocoon. If you had no idea what a butterfly is, that looks like death. But when it breaks out, it’s a completely different thing. This beautiful butterfly has transformed; it’s gone through a metamorphosis.
There’s a possibility for you to be profoundly different than you are, in a way that’s even bigger than you think possible. Oftentimes, I will hold a higher vision for a client than they’re comfortable with. They very quickly get on board and see what they can do. Identity shifting is becoming a profoundly different version of yourself, that’s far more ideal than you are right now.
What Changes Have You Seen in People That Have Gone Through Identity Shifting?
Ruthie: What sort of changes have you seen for the clients who go through your programs, in terms of shifting their identities? I’m fascinated now.
Rob: It always encompasses a lot of things, because identity has so many parts. There’s a little bit about rewriting unconscious patterns, thinking and focusing in a new way, gaining some real tools, etc.
It’s important to have profound breakthroughs in your conscious and unconscious mind. Your emotional reality gets deeply changed. I also try to better people’s ability to show up and do, not procrastinate and self-sabotage.
I had a woman who was maybe more than 100 lbs overweight; she was significantly heavier than she wanted to be. And when we got really honest about what she thought of herself, she said, “Rob, I’m just a loser. I fail at everything. I’ll deeply commit to eating differently and by noon the next day, I’m just putting sugar and junk into my mouth.”
Going Beyond Willpower
So a lot of coaches would say, “Well, it’s just willpower. And if we do it long enough, then something will change.” But willpower is needed for the thing that you’re not naturally doing. If you want to become a runner and you’re not a runner, you have to apply will for a long enough period of time.
And in our complex world, that’s rarer and rarer. Our willpower is being drained all the time. But the reason that eventually turns you into a runner is that somewhere in your unconscious mind, you eventually start thinking, “Oh, I’m a runner.” There’s no resistance to it anymore.
Once you take that on, you just put on the shoes and you go. In fact, if you weren’t running, it would be difficult.
Case Study: “I’m an Athlete”
So I took that woman and we literally turned her into, “I am an athlete.” Now this is not an affirmation. This is not just a willpower game. This is her saying to herself, “I may be an out of shape athlete, but I’m an athlete. An athlete has running shoes and workout gear. An athlete is active and an athlete feeds themselves a certain way. And they don’t freak out if they have a little cake at lunch.”
Well, this woman started to shed pounds. She was still pretty severely overweight, but she became a spin instructor at her gym. She was very inspirational and people loved her. Before you knew it, she was doing iron man type stuff. She lost all the weight and really changed her life.
I have shorter examples. I took a business owner who was phobic about selling. In the first 2 weeks, he sold $20,000 worth of product. I don’t think he’d ever sold more than $5,000 or $6,000 over a whole month prior to that.
I took somebody with a public speaking phobia and, by the end of the breakthrough program, I caught him giving a big talk online.
No matter the issue, it’s all solvable if you can go in and edit some of the messy stuff that’s going on outside your own awareness.
I’ve Had My Own Shift!
Ruthie: That the fitness example really got me. Before I had kids, I did fitness competitions, but it took me a while to accept it as part of my identity. When I was in the Army, I had a leader who was very into it. I was like, “No way, not me.” But then I ran a couple of half marathons and I was like, “Well, if I can do that, then I should be able to do it on stage.”
And it took time, but that was definitely a part of my narrative. To some extent, I think that it’s still there.
Rob: Even though you’re not acting on it, it’s still in that sense of self. There’s a shorter path to get there. Another quick example is the many people that are in the corporate world, but hate it. Maybe they realize that it’s more of a political game, and they’re dying to be an entrepreneur.
So they’re studying it, but in their own narrative, they’re more wantrepreneur than entrepreneur. They’re dying to do it, but they haven’t taken it on yet.
What people need to understand is that if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an entrepreneur. The behaviors are within the identity. Your identity shouldn’t be, “I’m not that yet. I need another course. I need another thing.”
Once you take it on and internalize it into your sense of self, it becomes very natural to actually accomplish something. All of a sudden you’re like, “Oh, let’s actually go get that LLC started.” Now you have a side gig and you’re actually making money. Now you really are an entrepreneur.
The Differences Between Your Coaching and Behavior-Specific Coaching
Ruthie: I’m curious about some of the differences you see between your coaching methodology and the more behavior-specific coaching.
Rob: It’s not that behavior-specific coaching doesn’t have a point; if you need a certain skill, getting a coach and a certain skill is great, but it’s often not complete.
Let’s say that you self-sabotage and you barely see it. When the time for that big sales call comes, that’s important. You notice that you’re putting it off. It’s hard to even see that it’s self-sabotage because you’ll have a good reason for it.
But if you really get honest or it happens long enough, you start to go, “Maybe something’s wrong here… Oh, I need sales training!” Then you go through the sales training, but you still haven’t dealt with that core problem.
Go to The Root of The Problem
It’s like having a house in the middle of winter and there’s a big, broken window. The problem is not that you don’t have the thermostat set. It’s not whether or not you have a fire in the fireplace. The problem is the broken window. Oftentimes, there’s many problems in our life, but there’s one core problem; that’s what really needs to be fixed. And when you fix that core problem, a lot of the other problems are easier to solve.
Another example is addiction. There are problems in every direction: you’ve lost your license, you’re going to lose your kids, you lost your job, etc. If the addict is just working to get his job back and gets a career coach to do that, that’s fine.
Maybe you do get that job back, but you haven’t addressed the core problem. The core problem is that you’re an addict, and you really need to change that. Once you change that, all of a sudden your relationships start getting better, you don’t get DUIs anymore, and it’s easier to keep your job.
The Key is Self-Mastery
So the core solution is self-mastery, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. Once you gain those, you become a better version of yourself.
Ruthie: It makes a lot of sense. A lot of people just hit the ground running and start a business, but most of the people I know were employees first. They’re kind of stuck in their employee mindset. This includes relying on other people’s deadlines, self-sabotaging, procrastinating on reaching out to people who seem like they were really ready to work with you, etc.
It’s pretty chronic in my network of entrepreneurs. But in reality, who’s going to be upset about that except for me? I don’t have a supervisor!
Rob: It becomes very easy to claim that you’re busy, but you’re really just reorganizing that messy kitchen drawer. You’re not really doing the meaningful things you should be. It’s not always easy to see that that’s the issue. The kind of person that wants to work with me is at least aware that there’s a deeper issue at play.
Most of us aren’t honest with ourselves. Not that we’re liars, but we’re not honest with ourselves about what’s really going on because we’re captured by the annoying problem. My kids are distracting me from doing that big sales call, but that’s not the issue.
There’s 1,000 successful entrepreneurs who have kids at home that can deal with that. So there’s something else that’s going on. How do we change that, so that you can be the best version of yourself you can be?
Ruthie: This is going to be so good for so many people!
Addressing the Human Condition
Rob: Oh, good. I hope so! To a great degree, we’re addressing the human condition in a new and different way. There may be some overlap between therapy and coaching.
There’s a lot of phenomenal therapists and there’s a lot of not phenomenal therapists.
There’s a lot of phenomenal coaches and there’s a lot of not phenomenal coaches.
Even navigating to get the most effective and the quickest path to real change is difficult. It’s a big relief once you find it.
In our group course, between weeks 2-3, everybody has this deeply profound kind of epiphany. They’ve found limits that they didn’t even know they had, and they’ve seen how much those have been holding them back. All of a sudden, those limits become ridiculous to them. It’s almost like those restrictions will never have the same power over those individuals again. That alone is worth the investment, but we go well beyond that and do other cool things afterwards.
Ruthie: Wow. I feel it transformed alright!