Welcome to Part 3 of the Discover Your Unique Identity in Business and Life Series!
In Part 1 – Discover and Design Your True Identity we talked about how our upbringings, family and social ties unconsciously shape our identities to some degree and how to consciously define and design the identity we want in business and life.
In Part 2 – Discover Your Internal Identity Drivers we looked at the internally-oriented aspects of the Identity Framework, how your Mental, Emotional and Physical characteristics influence and impact your identity.
Now in Part 3 I’d like to talk about the external identity drivers; Know, Do and Be which can also be thought of as the knowledge you have and seek (Know), the actions you do or plan to do (Do), and the qualities of character you embody and how you appear to others as a result (Be).
These eternal identity drivers are all about how you’re showing up in the world and how people experience you as a function of what you know and the things that you do, and the roles you play in business and life. They also allude to who you are and where you stand from a morality and values standpoint.
These external identity drivers ultimately inform the titles you hold in business, the roles that you play in the various facets of your life. Let’s dive in, starting with the first one, which is Know.
“When you Know what you want, it becomes clear what must be done. As you Do, eventually you come to Be and that is your Identity” – Jesse Krieger from Lifestyle Entrepreneur (click to Tweet)
The Know Aspect of Your External Identity
Know refers to knowledge. The information that you have, the areas of expertise that you have, the aspects that you’re competent in or have studied and that you like to learn about. This all informs the knowledge base that you approach your business and your life with each day.
For example, if you’re going to partner up with somebody, you’d probably make a connection on the knowledge level. Let’s say you have knowledge in online business, website development, technology, and programming while I have knowledge in strategy, design sensibility, and sales—then we have complimentary areas of knowledge.
This example demonstrates how the know aspect of your external identity drivers functions externally—it is through your knowledge, skills and experience that you relate to others and can evaluate the influence or impact that could be exchanged.
Here are some questions and sentences that you can use to start to shed light on the aspects of knowledge and how you relate to this aspect of the external identity drivers.
- Some of the topics that I really understand and have studied to support my career are…
- One of the things I’ve always been passionate about and now have a solid understanding of is…
- The expertise that people are willing to pay me for professionally fall into these categories…
If you complete these sentences, it’s going to start to speak to this knowledge aspect, the things that you’ve identified that you know or must learn in order to become the person you want to be.
Here are some of my answers to these questions – and there are more in the forthcoming US-version of Lifestyle Entrepreneur – take a look and see if this sheds some light on how the knowledge identity driver is expressed as an identity trait:
Entrepreneurship — In the beginning, I turned my love of music and playing guitar into running a record label to support my band. That was learning by doing, but I have since founded a number of companies and read dozens of books on entrepreneurship (as well as written one!) so this is a fairly well-rounded area of expertise for me.
Chinese Language — From my first trip to Shanghai in 2008 to the present I have launched a wholesale USB business that manufactured in China, and studied Chinese in Beijing, Taiwan and UC Berkeley. I even won 3rd place in the California Chinese Speech Contest a few years ago, but I have since resigned this to an interest of mine, as opposed to making it my #1 career focus.
Lifestyle Design — As a function of my innate curiosity and love of new experiences, cultures and countries I have designed many interesting iterations of my lifestyle and now understand how to help others do the same. Being open to new experiences and not restricting myself with too many responsibilities in any given place or time allows me to have a fluid experience of life that blends work, play and travel.
The Do Aspect of Your External Identity
Do is all about taking action. What are you doing day-to-day to move towards your goals? What is your routine and what activities do you participate in over the course of a week?
Generally people are either in a place where they don’t like what they’re doing day to day and thus need to drastically change their actions, or they’re already on track and need to increase the actions they’re taking.
You can think of this as being effective and being efficient; Being effective is about doing the right things, taking the right actions to accomplish what you want, while being efficient is about doing those actions in the most optimized, least time-consuming way possible
Here are a few questions and sentences that you can work through to help shed light on that:
- If I were to describe the core function of my current job or business, the thing that I’m hired to do is…
- One way I give back and help others is…
- If time, money, and geography were not constraints, I would…
I’ll give a couple of quick examples from my own experience:
Launch Businesses — In the last year through Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Academy I worked alongside numerous clients to launch a number of businesses. I also launched co-founded a travel products company and a non-profit to provide funding to student entrepreneurs. It’s safe to say that launching businesses is always on my agenda.
Fund and Coach Student Entrepreneurs — Through a non-profit I co-founded with a former classmate, University Incubator, my partner and I provide 0%-interest financing to student entrepreneurs. Our goal is to help them “create their own job by the time they graduate”.
Travel Abroad Three Months Per Year — For the last half-decade it has been my focus to spend at least 25% of my life outside of my home country of America. This is at once exciting and rewarding, but it also prevents me from having a limited perspective, I always want to have a global perspective, especially since the world is more interconnected than ever before.
The Be Aspect of Your External Identity
Be really describes the quality of your character, your moral disposition, your titles in business and your roles in life. After you’re gone through the internal and external identity drivers, Be gets you very close to your current identities as other people experience you.
If what you’re doing now doesn’t feel like an accurate representation of who you feel you really are, then there’s simply a disconnect between how other people experience you and how you envision yourself internally—there’s a disconnect in this Be aspect of your identity.
A personal example of title or role for me is being the author of Lifestyle Entrepreneur. People have now gotten to know me through this title. By crafting or creating a certain title or role, you can strategically influence the outcomes in your life and our business. And, by the way, you’re not limited to just one at a time!
You simply have to step into each role fully when you’re in that respective context, and be able to release it just as easily. These external identities that you project to the world should never overtake who you feel you are at a core level.
Here are a couple of sentences and examples on how this can appear and shed light on these aspects of your own identity.
- The word or words that best describe me are…
- The primary role or roles I play when serving others through my profession are…
- My family and friends would say that I am…
The last one is good for polling your family and friends. Ask them about their perception of who you are. It may or may not line up with how you think you’re showing up to them or where you want to be.
If your current lifestyle doesn’t reflect your dreams, then there is a gap that needs to be bridged – Jesse Krieger from Lifestyle Entrepreneur
Here’s how I answered some of these questions, though you can go into any level of depth you think is appropriate for your answers:
Lifestyle Entrepreneur — This is my answer to the first question above, these two words describe me better than perhaps any others in the English language. This is who I am, I use the skills of entrepreneurship to design and live an awesome lifestyle, and of course it’s the title of my book!
Instructor and Coach — For many years I was a professional dating coach, training guys to meet and attract the girls they found attractive. Nowadays, I’m the founding instructor for Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Academy and I coach aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their interests and passions into products and services.
Trusted Friend and Family Member — To my close friends, I am someone they can always count on. No matter where I am in the world, I’ll jump on a call (or a plane) if one of my friends needs help. When I’m not traveling I live fairly close to my family so we can stay close despite constant changes in our lives.
Define and Design Your Unique Identities
At the beginning of your journey towards becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur, defining and designing your unique identity lets you know you’re going down the right path. Much of building a business is a linear, logical process BUT knowing which industry to enter, which products or service to offer and which customers will find value in what you do is a direct function of getting clarity on your identity, and consciously crafting yours to feel right and true to you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this 3-part series on defining and designing your identity. This series is really launching pad into the bulk of the content in Lifestyle Entrepreneur!
NEXT STEPS: Complete some of the sentences from this post on the comment thread, I will give you my insight and feedback for taking the time and effort. Let’s make sure you’re oriented in the right direction before you start the engines, launch a business and go full throttle into your next exciting identity and adventure as a lifestyle entrepreneur.
This post is Part 3 of the Define and Design Your True Identity Series:
To your success,
Author of Lifestyle Entrepreneur
Creator of Business In a Weekend