Finding Identity: Fill in the Blank

I Am from Steven Nicholas Smith on Vimeo.

Confession: I really like Twitter bios.

In only a couple sentences, I am able to weed the “cake people” from the “pie people,” and the “cat people” from the “dog people.” In one little paragraph, I have learned that the head of a rather large public relations firm considers himself a french fry fanatic, and the CEO of a big brand is a self-professed “pencil person.” When it comes to Twitter bios, there seems to be something about the limited character space compels people to put a stake in the ground, make a personal declaration and swiftly self-identify.

But what is identity, really? How would you define it? One dictionary suggests it is simply “knowledge of who one is.” Whether you’re a brand or simply a human being, it’s an important question to ask yourself – and an even more important question to answer.

Why? Because the answer helps us connect to our kindred spirits, our passion and our purpose in this world.

From The Brains on Fire Book (Lesson 7, page 109)

Fill in the blank: I am a ______________.

A mac? A PC? A card-carrying member of the NRA? Buddhist? Vegetarian? What would you fill in that blank with?

Whatever it is, it’s part of your identity. It’s a label. It’s something with which you identify and something you support. And most important, it’s a part of you.

As humans, we are fundamentally hardwired to desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, more important than we are alone. Religion, sports teams – even brands. We’re always on the lookout for things that we can incorporate into our personalities – because it creates a sense of belonging. And we all want to belong.

Powerful identities help draw kindred spirits to you and give them a badge of honor to wear. It allows you to recognize others in the movement, be able to share their stories, and both with like-minded people. It’s an extremely powerful tool, considering that we spend much of our lives being identified by what people call us. Getting a chance to say, “This is who I am in spite of what everybody things” in an authentic way can be a really exciting moment for someone. Joining a movement is a chance to take control of your identity rather than falling victim to someone else’s labeling.

Me? I am a sister, a daughter, a dog person. A BOF-er and a displaced Midwesterner. A Buckeye. A first-born ENFP. I am a Catholic, a former Texan and a part-time vegetarian. I’m a writer, a Honda driver, an optimist and a life enthusiast. I’m a Googler, a storyteller, a dreamer and a pixie dust sneezer. I am a hopeless romantic, an iPhone-user and a lover of Sharpies.

Who are you?



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