Design Your Dream Life with Natalie Bacon | Your Self Identity

Did you know that you can be anybody you want to be? Whether you are a woman, a wife, or a mom, you are not defined by those roles. You can become anyone you truly desire in the future, and you don’t have to be who you’ve been in the past or who you are now.

Most of us don’t realize that we can decide who we want to be. We automatically think that we are who we are, we have been that way since birth, so we need to continue to be that way. We think it’s the only choice. But it’s not. There’s another option.

In this episode, I’m giving you a new way to look at your self identity and showing you how to transform yourself and make the necessary shifts and changes to become the person you dream of being. Creating your future self identity involves consciously deciding who you want to be in the future and drawing that future into you, and what I’m sharing this week can change your life if you practice it.

If you’re a mom, you’re in the right place. This is a space for you to do the inner work and become more mindful. I can help you unbusy your time, reduce anxiety and overwhelm, and live every day a little more soulfully and purpose driven. And, if you want to take this work deeper, doors are open for my Grow You virtual life coaching program. Click here to learn more and join us. 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
  • What your self identity is and why you can change it.
  • How we tend to believe we are our emotions and define ourselves by them.
  • Why you are not your emotions.
  • How this work has radically changed my life.
  • The reason that this work is so important.
  • How to stop being defined by your emotions and start to think differently about your experience of them.
  • Why you need to stop looking at your present circumstances to determine your future.
Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon, and I’m an advanced certified mindfulness life coach as well as a wife and mom. If you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.

Hey friend. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so happy to be here with you today. Feel like we are friends, and I love our time together. RJ is a little bit fussy today and off his schedule. If you have been following along on Instagram @nataliebaconcoaching. If you watch the stories, I share how I’m applying these tools to my personal life in hopes that it helps you as well.

But today, what we’re talking about here is one of my favorite topics on creating your self identity. So most of the tools and practices that I offer help you become more aware of what’s going on internally. So what’s happening in your mind and what’s happening in your body. From this place of awareness, you can make decisions, and you can create the life that you want.

Another part of the work that I teach and coach on is goal setting and purpose and creating your future very purposefully and intentionally. That is the bucket that today’s episode on your future self identity is all about. Your self identity is who you believe you are. There are other terms that people use for this that are pretty similar. If you look up these definitions, there will be a few variations. But broadly speaking, they fall into the same camp.

That is the self-concept and the self-image. I prefer self identity. That’s what I resonate most with. I think language and words and labels are very important. So I’ve always thought of it in terms of my identity and creating my self identity. So that’s how I’m going to teach it to you here today.

If you think of a GPS where there’s the starting point, the starting address, and then the destination with the ending address, that is similar to how I think about transformation and shifting your identity. You want to take a look at where you are now, what you believe about yourself, and then decide where you want to go.

It can be really fun to think about what’s possible and dream big once you give yourself permission to do that, but you also want to look at where you are now. This can be for things like weight loss and making money and writing books or giving speeches. Any sort of goals that you might set. So you want to know okay, where am I now? What do I weigh now, and what do I want to weigh in the future?

But it also applies to personality shifts. That’s what I want to speak to mostly here because that’s what I’ve had the biggest shifts in personally. I’ve had some other shifts that I’ll talk about as well, but the ones that have meant the most to me have been in my personality. I’ve totally shifted my identity. For those of you who have been listening for years, you know this right. You know that my tone is different. My energy is different. While I’m the same person, I have a completely different way of thinking about myself.

So the first thing that I want to offer to you is that you can become anyone you truly desire that you want to be in the future. You don’t have to be who you’ve been in the past. The way to transform yourself is to look at who you think you’re being now and decide to make shifts and make changes. I like to think of myself as this soul and consciousness who is in my body. And as this soul, I can watch my mind and I can watch my feelings, and I can watch my body. I can make decisions as the watcher.

So if I’m experiencing anxiety and I don’t know that I’m the watcher, I will take on the personality over time of becoming an anxious person. This is what we do with a lot of our feelings. We practice them so much that they become our identity. What creating your future self identity is all about is consciously deciding who you want to be in the future and drawing that future in to you.

So as the soul, as the consciousness, watching your mind and watching your feelings, know that there is no emotion that you actually are. So you’re not an angry Mom. You’re not an insecure Mom. You’re not an impatient mom. You are a person. You are a human being. You are a soul. You are also someone in all of those roles, a woman, wife, mom, who is experiencing feelings.

So instead of, I’m an angry Mom. It’s I’m a mom, that’s one of my roles, and I’m experiencing the emotion of anger. Or I’m a wife, and I’m experiencing the emotion of jealousy. Even just this idea that I shared with you right here in the beginning, in the first 10 minutes of this episode, can change your life if you practice it. So you stop identifying as your emotions. You create some space. You see that you are the consciousness behind them, and you are experiencing the emotions.

The same is true in your roles. I hear a lot of women and I’ll coach a lot on it inside Grow You say, you know, “I don’t want to be just a mom.” What’s happening here is they’re over identifying with that role. You’re never just anything. You’re not just a mom. You’re not just a woman. You’re not just a lawyer. You’re not just fill in the blank. You may feel that way because you’re over identifying with that identity.

So how do you think of yourself? That’s your self identity. In May inside Grow You, we are doing an entire month of creating your self identity on purpose. Of looking at who you’ve been and deciding on purpose if that’s who you want to continue to be.

So there’s parts of you, like maybe you have a lot of compassion for other people. You haven’t articulated it in that way before, but as you do this work, you discover that. You probably want to keep that. That’s an amazing part of your self identity. But maybe you also discover that you find yourself to be kind of controlling, and you’re trying to control other people. You decide that you don’t want to be controlling in the future. You 100% can change into whoever you want to be.

I talk more about this inside Grow You in the class, but we get so attached in Western culture to personality tests. I actually really enjoy them, but I know what place they have in defining myself identity. Which is they are a unique way for me to gain insights that I may not have otherwise had, but in no way will I ever use them to limit my potential.

I was coaching someone once who said, “Oh, well, I’m just so, you know, type A, I have to be the one who makes the decisions.” This is a limiting belief that this client had about herself identity. Did you know that you don’t have to identify as type A? That the idea of type A and type B are just ideas that we use to help us describe certain behaviors. But if you don’t want to identify as that you don’t have to. Isn’t that crazy?

I went through this experience in the last year/year and a half where I used to over identify as being really alpha and really type A. I thought that it was a fact. This is why this work is so important. When you say something like I am type A, you say it as if it’s a fact. As if it’s provable, as if you can, you know, test for it. Take a blood test for being type A. That’s just not true. And if it’s something that you don’t want to be true, why would you ever argue for that limitation?

So for me personally, what I did was completely do an overhaul of my self identity. One of the biggest shifts for me was changing my environment. It’s a quick way to have a big internal shift. For me it was moving from Chicago to Charleston.

Now for you it might not be moving across the country, but it might be going to a conference, joining a mastermind, going on vacation. I really think that the environment that you’ve created yourself identity in has a cap on what’s possible for you in that same environment. Because it’s hard for you to believe new thoughts in the same environment where you created the old thoughts.

We see this a lot with addiction or with people who have been incarcerated when they are released, whether it’s from jail or from rehab. If they go back into their same environment, it is incredibly challenging for them to make different decisions because your brain knows how to be a certain way in that particular environment.

Now, do you need to move across the country, like I said, or move into a different house to shift your identity? No, definitely not. But you can get creative in ways and change your environment so that it’s easier for your brain to have these bigger shifts.

I think even rearranging furniture or redecorating can be a way for you to elevate your space so that you can shift your identity. I once heard Oprah say, you know, your home should rise up to meet you. I just love that. What she’s talking about there is like how you envision your self identity to be should be reflected in your home.

I remember I went to a conference, and that is where I decided to quit my full time job. Isn’t that crazy? It took getting out of my environment to make that decision because I was surrounded by so many people who were entrepreneurs. I saw what was possible in a different way. Whereas at home in my current environment, people weren’t thinking like that. That’s not to say anything’s wrong with them. That’s just not the path that they were on.

So what you can do is get around people who are thinking and the way that you want to be thinking as the future version of you. This is why I love Grow You. Like come into Grow You. What you can do is you can listen to call replays and course replays and on demand courses that we have in the bonus vault. You can do this every morning while you’re getting ready so it doesn’t even take more time, and you can shift the beliefs that you have about yourself into that future version of you, which is so important.

Because how you currently think about yourself. Whatever comes after I am—I am impatient, I am angry, I am frustrated—that is what you’re creating more of. Without something to intentionally look forward to and create, your brain is going to pull from the past.

I want to make a point here too that this work is so important, regardless of what’s happening in your life right now because of how powerful it can be to help you step into the next version of yourself. I was coaching someone who had a lot of small problems in her life and kind of felt pulled to solve all of them and all at once. After working with her, what she discovered was that none of those problems were problems that she felt called to focus on once she had a greater purpose, once she had her own thing to focus on.

I think, particularly for me, you may have this experience too. If you’re someone who used to identify as being more of a perfectionist, who tends to look for problems, right? You will always be doing that kind of on default. So giving your brain something else to focus on in the future is very helpful to get out of those perfectionist tendencies.

So think about for you how you’re identifying as a person, as a woman, as a wife, as a mom, right? You are not those roles. But when you’re in those roles, what kind of person are you? Do you like that person? I think for most of us, we don’t even know that we can decide who you want to be. We think that we are who we are, and we’ve been that way since birth. So we have to continue to be that way.

So take me for example. I was always type A. I was always high achieving. I was always the girl sitting in the front row of the class with her hand up. That was 100% me. My environment validated that. My peer group, my family, reinforced that idea of who I was, and I reinforced it then. So I looked for it in my environment. I created more of that. Without pausing and taking a look at who we’re being, we think that that’s the only choice.

I like to give the analogy of different types of outfits. So in high school, how did you dress? Did you go through any sort of phase like an emo phase, a goth phase, and urban phase? Like whatever sort of way that you dress then probably isn’t how you dress now. In the same way, your personality can evolve. Who you are being can evolve, and it should evolve.

So when you take a look at who you’re being now, you can then decide what parts of who you are come with you into your future and what parts you want to leave behind. And what new parts you want to add to that next version of you. Then like the magic happens. You can start thinking and visualizing about this next version of you. Then you start to make decisions as if you were her, and you draw in that future.

It takes a lot of mind management because you have to stop looking to your present circumstances to determine your future. Instead, it’s focusing on the long term. It’s focusing on your imagination and coming up with who you want to be and drawing that in. Then you operate from the person who you want to be.

I think it’s worth mentioning too that this is work you can do on your own without other people’s permission or approval. So let’s say that you have a brother. Just making up an example here, not talking about my life at all. Just kidding, this is sort of real.

So my brother still sees me as like the bossy older sister. He hasn’t said this. He doesn’t call me bossy. But we’ve had that dynamic growing up where I was very much in charge and bossy. So it’s interesting to see him relate to me now. But let’s just say that he called me controlling, okay. Let’s just say he says, “Oh my gosh, Natalie. You’re so controlling.”

If I don’t identify as a controlling person then him saying that won’t trigger me because I won’t be thinking there’s something wrong with what he said. I won’t be thinking oh my gosh, he’s right, and that’s so horrible. I might be thinking something like, “Yeah, I used to be a lot more controlling, and now not really controlling. Maybe sometimes, but it’s totally fine. That’s not who I’m going to be in the future.” Do you see the difference there?

When you have personality traits that you’ve over identified with as who you are and someone else calls you out on them, and you haven’t done this inner work around those personality traits, you will have shame come up. You will want to defend yourself or kind of hide, either one or both. When you do this work, what happens is you can own it, not make it mean anything about who you are as a human, as a soul, as a consciousness, but instead as an emotion that you’ve taken on from time to time and as something that you’re maybe working on.

I remember before I was married I worked with a dating coach. I was telling her about how I thought I was needy. I was saying it as if it was this huge problem. Like me, as a person, identified as just being needy. Like, I thought that was just who I was. Like I am needy as if there was some blood test for it. She removed all of the shame in one phrase. She just said, “So what? So what if you are needy?”

That was the first step because that removed the judgment. Then from there I learned there’s no such thing as being needy. That’s a label that is not serving me. If someone else says that label to me and says, “You’re being needy,” if I don’t identify as a person who is needy, then it has no effect on me. I’m like yep. Sometimes I do things that are perceived as needy, not a problem. I know who I am.

This works too, as I mentioned in the beginning, not just for shifting how you’re identifying in terms of emotions like an angry mom, an impatient mom, a needy wife, whatever the case may be in terms of those emotions. It also works in terms of goals.

I love the example of smoking. Let’s say that you are a smoker. You smoke cigarettes, and you’ve been trying to stop for years okay. You go to the doctor, and you find out that you are pregnant. You instantly stop smoking that day. What changed? Right? You’ll say, “Well, what changed is I’m pregnant now so I had to stop smoking.” But that’s not true. There are lots of people in the world who smoke while they’re pregnant. What changed was you decided that you didn’t want to be someone who smoked while pregnant.

The same is true, in the same smoking example, if someone were to go to a doctor and find out they had lung cancer. They stop smoking that day after years of trying to stop. What changed? Their identity. They decided they did not want to be someone who smoked while having cancer. You’ll say well, the reason they stopped was because they found out they had cancer. But the real reason they stopped is because of what they made that mean. Because there are people out there who smoke while having cancer.

My dad smoked while he had cirrhosis of the liver. My dad drank, and he didn’t stop drinking. A lot of people make changes that are huge quantum leaps. That’s what Dr. Joe Dispenza calls them. It’s where you can jump so far ahead and make change so fast because you shift your identity.

So sure. Can you quit smoking, quit drinking, lose weight, like very incrementally and slowly? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with that? No. But what I’m teaching here is just a different way of getting results and of transforming into that next version of you.

So if you want to become someone who doesn’t eat sugar, right, this is work that I need to do for my next evolution of my health. I could slowly reduce the amount of sugar that I eat incrementally day by day, month by month, year by year. Totally available to me to do that, or I can practice becoming a person who no longer desires sugar. Totally different ways of going about getting a similar result.

So if you want to write a book, your self identity work is thinking about the version of you who has written that book. What did that person do in order to write the book? You make decisions from that place, and you draw that future in. So you can do it for goals like book writing, like losing weight, stopping eating sugar.

You can do it for emotions as well. If you find yourself getting triggered often, you find yourself yelling, and you want to become a mom who is patient and doesn’t yell, what does that version of you look like? What does she act like? How does she feel when her kids are messing up the house and throwing things and having tantrums? How does she respond?

By far this is the work that has most radically changed my life. I have gone from being more type A and having those alpha female tendencies to being much more laid back and feminine. I have shifted from being a worker bee and someone who overworks as an attorney to an entrepreneur and then to a coach. It’s all self identity work. I had to see myself in that role as that identity, as that person, and draw it in.

This is the work that I did when I stopped drinking as well. I just decided that my future self as a mom wasn’t a drinker and so I stopped drinking. I do it from a place of reinvention, not from a place of shaming myself. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drinking. In fact, I’m really glad that I had all of those years of drinking because I’ve had more experience in my life. Like that’s kind of fun. I always entertain the idea of drinking again. I’m like maybe I’ll start drinking again, maybe not. Right now. No, I kind of like this.

So you can do this for any area of your life, for any goal, for any emotion, for any role. I think it’s the most powerful work you can do. So come join us inside Grow You for May, and you are going to blow your own mind. I cannot wait to help you do it. I will see you there my friend. Take care.

If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You, my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.

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