Ep. 36: Four Identity Shifts You Need To Succeed In Business
Hey everyone, this is Julie. I’m back and today I want to talk to you about four identity shifts that will empower you to succeed in business even if you feel like you’re making it up as you go. And I’ve come to realize that everyone feels like they’re making stuff up as they go. And I have amazing news for you, if that’s what you feel like, that’s actually what it’s supposed to feel like.
So no stress if you feel that sense of like, ‘I don’t even barely know what my next step is.” It’s very, very common, there’s very few people who build business based on the plan that was written out ahead of time.
So I just got back Alison Prince’s Clan Con and for those of you who don’t know who Alison Prince is, she is an amazing woman teaching mainly women, but men too, how to do ecommerce. So ecommerce is a very fast growing industry and she had an event, and I went and spoke and I actually spoke on this topic, so I want to share it with you today.
So you know, she asked me to teach on what were the skills that would create success for the future. And obviously I’m going to talk about digital marketing, but I started to think of this in terms of identity and the identity shifts that I had to go through and the ones that I’m still going through now.
So before I start, the reality is, and I want everyone to hear me when I say this, that identity shifts in business and life happen usually in the midst of tremendous amounts of conflict and failure. Not in success, and not in comfort. So when you look and long for new identity shifts, you are indirectly, though you may not realize it, asking for conflict and failure to come into your life. So just be prepared for that.
I started my adult life wearing the identity of a Christian stay at home mom. I was broke, I was definitely ashamed of wealth, I was ashamed of my ambition, I was ashamed of the fact that I had a questioning mind, even though I knew that God made me and loved me as I was, I was very much stuck in thinking that the identity of wife and mom meant that all these other parts of my personality were not okay, not attainable, not worthy of being shown.
So as I fought through this as a young 20 something year old adult, I had three babies, and I tried this, it was definitely who I was. I was a Christian, I was a stay at home mom, I loved my children, I loved God, but I felt this desire to be rescued from this identity because it was so 2 dimensional. It was not encapsulating my ambition, it wasn’t encapsulating my dreams and my hopes and all these kinds of things.
So I, my personality, my weakness is that I like security. So when I feel like I’m not capable of making a change, I want someone else to help me make that change. So I really was looking, and in 2011 I found my biological father. I’m adopted, half way adopted, and my biological father I had met him briefly once when I was 13. He was always this mysterious elusive person. You know like in the stories when you’re like, “I don’t know who my father is or where to find him.” and all this kind of stuff. We went on this long search and I found him when I was 13.
I remember being not super happy with him, but I wasn’t really sure why, I was a 13 year old, it was super awkward. So in 2011 he came back into my life in a very dramatic and intense way and he was an entirely different person than the one I remembered when I was 13. So I latched onto this. He was an entrepreneur, he was wealthy, he had a family. And I thought, ‘Oh here it is. Here’s my chance. I’m finally going to sort of shake off this side of me that’s so ashamed of my ambition and my questioning mind, of my entrepreneurial-ness, and I’m going to go and I’m going to get to know my father.” and all this kind of stuff.
Well, my identity, what happened in that, in basically a year from 2011 to 2012 is that my identity was shattered. My father basically groomed me into a psychologically and sexually abusive relationship. I’m not going to go into the details. It was dark, it was empty, it was probably the time in my life where I felt more suicidal than I ever have. I remember losing all emotion. I remember walking through life like a zombie and I, the high of discovering a parent and thinking your identity is going to be reshaped and then having your identity shattered. It is hard to explain what that does to the human psyche, in terms of, especially for me, someone who looks for security. And I realized the only way I would get security is if I allowed my father to become the aggressor and to tell me exactly who I was to become in order for him to love me.
It was horrible. It took me a long time to get out of it. And by the time I did, by the time I wrestled myself away from this incredibly toxic and psychologically manipulative relationship, I found my identity as a Christian stay at home mom also shattered. Because I was like, “I’m a Christian but look at what just happened to me.” And I wrestled with that.
So what happened in that moment was I basically had to put aside some of the more ethereal ideas that I had about life, about life and spirituality. And I had to get back to survival. And that was okay. And a lot of you who have ideas and identities and you have this like sort of actualization where you’re like, “I’m going to make meaning and I’m going to make impact. I’m going to do this.” And then something happens in your life, and then it’s like all the sudden now all you’re thinking about is how you’re going to get food on the table. That’s kind of what happened to me.
So my marriage fell apart in the wake of that relationship, so I got divorced. So now all the sudden, it wasn’t really about like faith and meaning, it was like, “How do I make money?” and I realized in a lot of ways, this was the way I started to heal and started to create an identity for myself. And the key first shift I made was this idea that I had it in me. I had the power and the capability in me to learn whatever skill I needed to learn in order to get financially free. And that was the one thing I needed to learn in that moment because I was divorced and pregnant and three kids, and this whole thing.
So it was not the most actualized of identities but it was one that I could put on. I was like, “I’ve gotta learn skills.” So I put that identity on and I became a digital marketer. And when you’re putting identity on, sometimes you have to call yourself what you are before you are what you are, because that kind of calls you forward.
So that’s what I did. I transitioned everything, and I’m like, ‘I’m a marketer.” And I started diving into copywriting and diving into funnels and marketing psychology and how to get people to buy and ads and blogging and social media and traffic. And what I did in that exploration, it probably lasted about two years, is that I slowly taught myself that I was trust worthy, that I was a marketer and I could use my skills for financial security.
So some of you need that identity right now, you don’t have the confidence that you have the skill set that you need to be financially free. And that is a completely legitimate and valid identity that you can put.
Of course none of this was perfect. I was messing up all over the place, I had lots of turmoil in my life. I was pregnant with a fourth child, I was going through divorce. I definitely felt like a failure as a mom and a wife. So as I was putting on this new identity, the skills only got me so far.
There was another second identity shift that I needed to make in order to keep growing and I had to basically come to the understanding in myself that I can forge powerful healthy relationships that will get me where I need to go. This was a hard identity to put on because I had just come out of a very unhealthy relationship, a broken marriage, a lot of things that said to me, “Hey Julie, you haven’t had healthy relationships.” And I knew that I needed them.
And the actual catalyst for this identity shift was the Expert Secrets affiliate contest that happened in 2017. Russell Brunson had launched his new book, he had a big affiliate contest and there were lots of prizes and lots of competition. And I joined the contest sort of on a whim, not really thinking that I would rank. And in the first line up of the top ten, I was on the leader board as number six.
So this definitely fueled this competitive edge in me, but I quickly realized that I was going up against people like Grant Cardone and Tony Robbins and how was I going to win? I didn’t have the relationships that I needed, I didn’t have the visibility I needed. So I began to see that as I stepped out in fear and asked for other people’s help, I asked people to actually promote my affiliate link, and I had them join me in my mission.
I ended up placing fourth. I ended up beating Tony Robbins, because I forged the relationships that I needed to get me where I needed to go. And that was a moment where now it was like instead of switching identities you’re starting to add layers. So I was like, I can learn the skills I need to get financially free. And then the second identity was I can forge powerful, healthy relationships that are going to get me where I needed to go faster.
So every shift takes time, it happens in the pressure cooker. Another one that I have been learning, that I feel like I’m not sure that I’ve actually arrived at, was the identity shift that I needed to make that allowed me to make mistakes, pivot, and start over as many times as I need to. And this showed itself up if I had an unhappy client in my agency, if I had an offer that didn’t work and I had to change it. I have this long story that I can’t get into now about how I had to change my offer mid stream, it was hard and people were unhappy with me. What I have to do when I have, you know, my ad account goes down. And it’s okay. I can make mistakes, I do have the ability to start over as many times as I need.
I desperately needed that identity in me to be able to take the risk that I needed to take. So the last one that I think I’m learning right now, because I feel very confident that I know that I have skills that will make me financially free and they will never leave me. And I know that I have powerful, strong relationships, and I have a lot of evidence of that. And I’ve also made a ton of mistakes and stared over, you know, with different things. But this last identity shift is something I’m working on, and it’s the idea that I can piece together as many identity pieces as I need to be fully me.
And you know, one of the identities that I felt like I sort of left way back in my 20s was this idea of being a Christian. So now I’ve sort of come through this metamorphosis, and I’m like, ‘Well wait, can I be a Christian entrepreneur? Yes. Can I be a loving mom and be ambitious? Yes.” It is possible that I can take all these different pieces, these things that in my head seem mutually exclusive. You can either be a good mom or you can be a good business person, but you can’t be both. And can I pull those pieces in and create the identity I need to be fully me?
And that is what I’m working on right now, and it is super hard you guys, because in my personal life my marriage has been very, very rocky. My parenting relationship has been tested with my teenagers and then going through all the teenager things, and my daughter struggling with severe, severe depression. So for me, I’m questioning if it’s actually possible to do these things and to be all these things and to be okay.
And I feel myself tempted to be extreme, like either I’m a good wife or I can’t even be a wife. Or I’m a good mom, or I’m not, I mean I can’t not be a mom, but you know what I mean. So that’s the identity shift I’m working on right now.
So that was kind of heavy today. That’s really what I spoke about at Clan Con. So just to remind you that if you want the identity shifts that I made, if you want them for yourself, that’s going to help empower you to succeed in your laptop life and your business, it was number one, learning the skills that you need to become financially free, that was so critical for me. Number two, forging those relationships that you need, whether it’s colleagues, mentors, whatever those relationships are that are going to help you get where you need to go faster.
The shift that allows you to say, “Yes, I have the capabilities and grace to start over as many times as I need to become successful.” And then the fourth one, which I’m still working on so I can’t tell you to do it if I haven’t done it myself yet. But it is learn how to be okay with customizing the identity that you need in order to succeed and flourish.
So as always, I appreciate you guys. If you liked this podcast, please share it. Share it on Instagram, tag me @juliechenell, tell me that you like it so I keep recording podcasts. I need validation you guys. Anyway, leave a review that would be awesome. Talk to you soon. Thanks.
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Wow Julie, Fellow Adoptee, who searched for 30+ years and finally found both my biological mother & father within the past year. I inspired by what you shared, and understand more than you know. Then to follow it up with beating Tony is great, but you nailed it about the constant “identify shifts” happening, in my case due to being adopted, and self-worth issues. Thank you for being vulnerable and following it up with what you did to overcome it, it isn’t easy and I needed this today. Thank you.