Ep #87: The Identity Series (Part 2)

In last week’s episode, I talked about the fact that you cannot outperform your identity. This means that whatever your goals are, if you don’t identify as someone who can achieve those goals, you are already fighting a losing battle. But the good news is that understanding this is the first step to creating real change for your business.

This is really significant for all of you as entrepreneurs and it might just be the missing link you’ve been looking for. We’re diving deeper into this topic today and really getting into how to understand your personal identity, and also really take a look at what it has already created for you in your life and your business.

Join me on the podcast this week for the second part of my series on identity. I’m discussing where to look to see how your personal identity and the way you perceive yourself is affecting your business every single day, and where these beliefs come from. And once you can do this analysis, then we can start the work of addressing your beliefs about yourself in a way that will move your business forward.

If you’re ready to build, grow, and scale your business, check out my two programs, The Mastermind and my Million Dollar Mastermind! Enrollment for both of these programs is open, so schedule a call with me by clicking here and I look forward to working with you!

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to see what your unconscious identity has created so far in your life and business.
  • Why our identity is not fixed and we all have the ability to change it.
  • When we start developing this unconscious part of our reasoning and belief system and how it is formed differently for all of us.
  • The ways that understanding the significance of how my own unconscious brain is wired has been a real game-changer.
  • Where I see so many coaches go wrong in their understanding of why they’re not reaching their targets.
  • Why I teach my clients to think of their subconscious as a thermostat that regulates their experiences.
  • Some questions to consider when looking at how your unconscious identity is affecting your results.

Listen to the Full Episode:


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  Download a Transcript for The Life Coach Business Podcast

You are listening to The Life Coach Business Podcast with Amanda Karlstad, episode number 87.

Welcome to The Life Coach Business Podcast, a show for coaches who are ready to up-level their business and take their impact, leadership, and results to a whole new level. If you’re ready to start taking powerful action and become the leader your business needs in order to grow and thrive, this show is for you. I’m your host, Amanda Karlstad, certified life and business coach, and entrepreneurial leadership expert. Now, let’s get down to business.

Hello and welcome, everyone. I hope you’re doing well. I am doing great. We’ve officially moved into summer here in Minnesota. I think it’s about 96 degrees here. And it’s our first week of summer officially. And it has been hot and great weather.

But I love that everything I blooming and it’s just a beautiful time of year. So, wherever you’re tuning in from, I hope you’re well. I hope you are staying healthy. I hope you’ve had nice weather, wherever it is you are listening in from.

Alright, so today I’ve got another very special episode for you. So, today’s episode is episode number two of a series I’ve created which is called The Identity Series. And I kicked off the series last week. So, if you haven’t listened to last week’s episode, I highly recommend that you do.

I decided to do this series because what I am teaching you here in this series is one of the most important things I think you need to understand as an entrepreneur, as a coach, as someone who is working to build a highly successful business.

And I know for all of you listening that that’s your goal. And the reason what I am talking about in this series is so important is because the truth is – and I talked about this in depth in last week’s episode, but the truth is that the majority of what we do on a daily basis, the majority of the decisions that we make on a daily basis, the majority of how we think and how we behave is actually driven from our subconscious mind. It’s driven from that primitive part of our brain.

And there’s been so many studies about this. There’s been several studies by Harvard, by many other reputable institutions and sources that have been done around this.

And the truth is that our conscious brain, so the prefrontal cortex which I talked about last week, that part of our brain that is in charge of our conscious thought, that is in charge of our executive functioning, the reality is that that part of our brain only accounts for a very small percentage of how our brain operates on a daily basis.

So, why am I talking about this? What this means for you is that whatever identity you have on an unconscious level, whatever that identity is, is what is likely manifesting in your life. And it’s also what manifests in our business.

And so, in last week’s episode, I talked about the fact that you cannot outperform your identity, and I think that’s a really, really important distinction to make, that you can’t outperform your identity.

So, this means as you’re going out to build your business, when it comes to even scaling your business, the truth of the matter is that every one of us has different setpoints of success. And those setpoints come from that subconscious part of our brain.

And they’re literally what drive the majority, again, of what we’re doing on a daily basis, whether it is decisions that we’re making, how we’re choosing to think about something, how we’re choosing to react to things and how we’re showing up.

So, this is really significant for all of you as entrepreneurs and as coaches. So, we’re going to be diving deeper into this topic today and really get into how to understand your identity, so how to understand your personal identity, and also really take a look at what that’s created for you. So, what that’s created for you in your life, what that’s created for you in your business.

Now, here’s the great news about all of this. Even though so much of how we do operate on a daily basis is driven from the subconscious, what I want all of you to know is that even if your current identity, even if through this work, through this episode as you start to uncover that your current identity isn’t congruent with the level of results you want to create in your business or in your life, I want you to know that you do have the ability to change your identity.

In fact, we all have the ability to change our identity. And it’s through a process I call intentional identity. And we’re going to talk about that more in next week’s episode. But I want to start first by going back a bit to what I did speak about in last week’s episode in terms of what is your identity and where it comes from.

So, to start with, it’s important to first recognize that the unconscious mind, so that part of your brain that holds your identity, that’s responsible for 98% of how you behave. And it’s responsible for 98% of how we go about our day, how we unconsciously think. When you really think about it, we’re not always consciously thinking. A large portion of our time is spent in unconscious thinking.

And I think a great example of this, I always think about when you’re driving a car. And I know this happens to me every so often. So, when you get in your car and you drive to your destination, whatever that is, if you just sometimes take pause for a moment, you recognize that you weren’t even consciously thinking about how to turn on the car, how to stop at a red light, how to speed up, how to switch lanes.

So much of that is unconscious behavior. So, we can literally get in a car, we can go from our home. We can get in our car and we can drive to some destination, a familiar destination. If it’s an unfamiliar destination, we’re probably applying a little bit more conscious thought. But for the most part, when we’re driving to and from places that we’re used to driving to, a lot of that’s unconscious. So, that’s a great example of when you think about all the things that you’re doing on a daily basis that you’re actually not really thinking about. You’re just going about your day and you’re doing the things and a lot of it is habit.

And so, it’s important to understand this. And so, last week we talked about this difference. We talked about the difference between the prefrontal cortex, which is that conscious part of our brain, that’s where we’re able to make those conscious decisions, where we can create intentional thoughts which that is the most evolved part of our brains.

But there’s also the primitive part of our brains. And that’s where our subconscious lives. And so, that’s where things like our identity does reside. Now, trust me, I could do an entire episode on all of the different parts of the brain and the various functions of this part of the brain, but I’m not a brain surgeon here and I’m going to keep it simple.

So, one of the ways that I like to think about the subconscious part of the brain, and I think it’s useful to understand how this works, is to think about your subconscious brain as a recorder. So, you can think of it as a video recorder that has literally recorded everything you’ve ever done, everything that you’ve ever experienced.

And it’s also important to understand that from birth to about the age of seven for all of us, what’s really significant is that we all operate almost exclusively at an unconscious level. So, what this means is that every experience that we have as a young child, so when you think about the environment that you are in, when you think about your parents, when you think about anyone that was around you, what was happening is that your brain was acting like a sponge, it was soaking up every interaction, it was soaking up every conversation, every experience, which then results in the formation of what we call our identity.

So, in these first six to seven years of life, what’s happening is that whatever our subconscious mind was taking in at that time, whatever those experiences were, whatever was happening in our environment, whoever was having the most influence on us during that time, whatever that was, our subconscious brain, because our reasoning part of our brain was not yet developed, our subconscious brain took in everything and it accepted it as true.

So, I want to reiterate that. Our subconscious brain in those first six to seven years of age literally accepted everything in our environment as true because the reasoning part of our brain had not yet developed. Again, this is really significant because what happens is then, as we continue to grow, as we continue to get older, we have these filters that are comprised of the experiences, of the beliefs that we accepted at a very early age.

And so, the belief systems of those around us, the belief systems of those that were most influential to us at the time, and every experience that we had at that point in our lives, unless we become fully aware of what those are, what happens is every experience we have as adults currently runs through those filters.

So, our brain is processing everything new in our life and it filters anything new through the filter of those belief systems, through the identity that we formed as a very young child. And so, this is why I think it’s so important to understand and why the work that I do with my clients goes much deeper in a lot of cases than just the conscious thinking. And I’m always looking for different patterns with my clients. I’m always looking at what is perpetually coming up for my clients.

Because once we start to see what those patterns are, we can start to identify the things that are truly at the core of what’s actually holding them back. Because the truth is, until we start to change those core beliefs, until we can become aware of our thinking and the impact that it has on our life, and also in our business, there is no change that will happen.

But once we become aware of it, once we can see it, that’s when we can start that rewiring process. So, I hope that makes sense because this is really, really important.

So, I will share with you all that when I started to really dive deep into this concept, when I started really doing my own work around subconscious versus conscious programing, which I will tell you I have been doing over the last few years, this has been a few year’s process for me, I’ve really realized how significant this really is. And I’ve realized how significant this is especially if you’re growing a business.

Because whatever your identity is that you hold, that is what is ultimately driving and has driven your results up until this point. So, that brings us to today’s topic, which is what is your personal identity and what has it created so far in your life, and what has it created so far in your business.

So, there’s a couple of things I want to say about this before I go deeper on this. First of all – and this is for everyone. it doesn’t matter who you are or at what part of the journey you’re on in your business, I want you all to know that this is really deep-level work.

And for most of you listening, I know that you’re very interested in personal development. I know many of you listening are certified coaches. So, you’re very much into personal development and personal development concepts. But what I want you to know is that what I’m about to talk about today and am teaching you in this series is going to go much deeper than what the typical personal development concepts you might be familiar with. And it’s also very personal.

So, when it comes to the level of identity, it’s going to be very unique to each and every one of you. And I think it’s also important to note that through my intense study on this topic and through the intensive work that I’ve done personally and with my clients, I will say that when it gets to the very core of this, that there are definitely patterns.

And there are similarities in terms of what I call our core wounds, which we all have. And so, when I say the term core wounds, those are really typically emotional wounds that we all have that we all try to preserve ourselves from on a daily basis. So, again, really important to take into consideration as we talk about this.

So, it’s going to be very unique. This topic is going to be very unique to every one of you because, in many ways, we are all trying to avoid certain core wounds that we have. And those wounds were formed in those first very formative years before our reasoning function was developed.

Alright, so now that we have a good foundation of what our identity is and how it’s actually formed, let’s look at how do we know what my identity is? And how do I know how that’s impacted my life to this point?

And more specifically for all of you listening, I want to challenge you all as you’re listening to this to really be looking at how is this impacting your business growth? Because once you have an awareness to this, this is when you can start to identify the impact this is having in your life, in your business. And it’s going to allow you to start that rewiring process that I mentioned to you earlier.

So, remember that the core of your belief system was passed down from your parents. It was passed down from your environment, from your experiences as a very young child. And all of our subconscious at that point in time accepted those belief systems. And that has been the foundation of our identity.

So, as we become adults, as we start to grow a business, for instance, as we start to apply more conscious thought in things that we’re doing, it’s really important to become aware of these belief systems. Because unless you start the process of rewiring these beliefs, your identity will continue to highly influence your results in your life and business.

So, let me give you an example of this. let’s say that as a child, your parents instilled beliefs that empowered you. So, chances are that as an adult, if you were a child where you were in a household and had parents that were instilling those empowering beliefs, it’s very likely that as an adult you’re much more likely to feel empowered in your adult life.

You’re likely to have more self-confidence. You’re likely to experience a higher degree of happiness. Overall, you’re probably more likely to create a high level of success in your life. So, these same belief systems that you learned that were implanted in you at this very young age, they actually help you in your adult life.

But let’s look at the opposite. Let’s say that you grew up in a family that for whatever reason instilled disempowering beliefs in you. What happens is that as an adult, you’re likely going to have a much more difficult time creating a high level of success in your life. You probably have a lack of confidence.

Overall, you have much more internally to overcome, especially as you work to reach these new levels of success. So, let’s talk for a moment about how this plays into building your business.

So, as business owners and entrepreneurs, whether we like it or not, I talk about this all of the time, but we are all responsible for the level of results that we either have or we don’t have in our business. And those results are driven by the consistent actions that we take in our business, which is driven primarily from decisions that we make, whether we’re conscious of those decisions or not.

And remember, most of those decisions, in most cases, are actually from the subconscious programing that you hold. So, those belief systems and those thoughts that we most consistently hold, those are at the core of what we believe on a subconscious level.

And this also drives a corresponding emotion to those thoughts, to those belief systems. So, as an entrepreneur at any given point in time, as you’re going about your day, whether you are interacting with a client or you’re showing up online somehow or you’re building relationships or you’re creating content, whatever that might be, it’s important to recognize that you’re primarily being driven from those subconscious belief systems, from the subconscious identity that you hold. And that is what ultimately creates the results that you have as you’re building your business.

So, I hope you see how important this is. And one of the places that identity tends to show up the most and that I think is one of the most significant areas for my clients and for all of you listening is when we’re trying to achieve and get to higher levels of success.

And the reason for this is if we go back to the fact that we can’t outperform our identity, I want to offer that you can all think about your identity as a thermostat. It’s a thermostat to your level of success. Meaning that even though consciously you want to experience and you want to achieve a higher level of success in your business, subconsciously, unless your identity and your core beliefs line up with that level of success, your subconscious will continually work to regulate the temperature based on whatever it believes to be true. So, let’s consider for a moment the reality of this and how I actually see this play out with my clients.

So, for all of you who are stepping out and building and growing and scaling your business, you are all working towards some level of higher success, likely than you have right now. Even if you’re in a career, even if you are in a place where you’ve achieved a certain level of success in your life and now you’re building your coaching business, you’re still working to reach new levels of success in an area that’s currently unknown to you.

So, you’re stepping into unknown territory. And because this territory is unknown, your subconscious will always work to regulate your experience so that you ultimately maintain that which it believes to be true.

So, to give you an example of this, let’s say that you want to build your business to your first $100,000 in revenue. So, maybe you’re starting out, maybe you just got certified or you’re in the process of getting certified, or maybe you’re not getting certified but you’re just starting out. And you’re looking towards that first $100,000 as that big first milestone. That’s a pretty common milestone for most of you.

Here’s what happens. Subconsciously, unless you believe that you’re capable, unless you believe that you are deserving, unless you believe that you are quote unquote good enough to make $100,000 in your coaching business, your subconscious is going to try and regulate you the entire journey to that first $100,000. This is why that part of the process, one of the reasons why that part of the process in your business, in your business-building journey is one of the hardest legs of the journey.

And what happens is, as that’s happening, is you’re fighting these subconscious belief systems, you’re fighting your subconscious identity in many cases, what happens is that self-sabotage then kicks in. So, as you’re going out and you’re working to make progress towards your goal, as you’re trying to build your business to that first big goal, or maybe you’ve already reached that goal and now you’re working towards maybe it’s your first $250,000 or $500,000 or even a million, what will happen is that your brain, because it’s working to preserve your identity, because it’s working to regulate that thermometer of success, will find opportunity to prove to you what it truly believe to be true about you.

So, it’s going to find evidence that proves your core belief. It’s going to find evidence that reinforces your core identity to you. So, for all of you, it’s really critical to know this and to be aware of how this manifests in so many different ways. And that it’s also very individual based on whatever your core identity is.

So, becoming aware of your patterns and being able to discern between what is actually truth and what is not truth, especially as you’re building a business, is really important. So, as you go about this journey of building to a level of success that is unknown to you currently, it’s expected that you’re going to encounter this inner battle. It’s expected that what you desire versus what your identity says is true, that there will likely be some disconnects.

So, again, this is important for you to hear because what I see happen very often with my clients and with coaches in general is that there is – I’ll just say – this false expectation that is see happen when it comes to what the experience of building a business quote unquote should be like.

So, there tends to be expectations around how quickly it should happen. There tends to be expectations around how easy or how less difficult the process of building a business should be. There tends to be an expectation that things should always be moving farther along than they are.

And whenever I see this happen, whether it’s with my clients or with coaches that I’ve mentored or coaches in general, it’s really something that, more often than not, what happens is I start to see a lot of airtime being given to the thoughts that this shouldn’t be this difficult or I should be farther along or this just isn’t happening soon enough, quick enough, whatever those thoughts are.

But the truth of the matter is that you haven’t yet become the person, the entrepreneur that has created that level of results yet in your business. So, I want to encourage you all that rather than thinking that it’s a strategy problem or a program problem or a coach problem, I want to encourage you to start looking first at who are you actually being in your business? What is your identity and what identity are you holding onto that is creating the results that you have in your business?

Because how you answer that question and how honest you are about your answer to that question will give you amazing insights. Because I will tell you this. Chances are this isn’t a matter, this isn’t about things being too hard. It isn’t about things not happening soon enough. It isn’t a matter of anything else outside of you except that’s where the tendency is to immediately go is to look at something external versus instead to get present to what is actually going on at a deeper inner level that ultimately creates the results that we have.

So, this is super, super important. So, how do you know what your identity is? Well, you have to start by first evaluating your results. And you have to evaluate your current results that you have in your business, or the current lack of results that you have in your business. Either way, this is going to give you insight into your identity.

So, for example, one of the things that I observe very often with my clients is that depending on what their money beliefs were as they grew up, whatever those money beliefs are that they hold in their identity tend to manifest in their experience of building their business.

So, for some, the belief system around money is that in order to let’s just say earn a lot of money, that you have to work hard. This is a really common belief system that I know many of you can probably relate to. Honestly, it’s how many of us are indoctrinated into this belief as children. It’s really a societal belief.

So, when it comes to business and it comes to making money, if the identity around money is that you have to work hard in order to make lots of money, well then that experience of making money in the business is going to be hard.

So, to reinforce that belief, it’s common for many coaches to make things way more difficult, way more complicated, to jump from what I call shiny object to shiny object and to just ultimately really delay the actual end result that they want.

And so, it’s something that I work a lot on with my private clients because the core belief on that identity level is that when we’re talking about money, if the belief is that you have to work hard in order to make money, what happens is that the subconscious part of the brain then is continually working to reinforce that through the things that we’re choosing to focus our attention on and choosing to focus our energy on. So, that’s a really common one.

Another part of identity that comes up very often is related to worthiness. So, worthiness around being able to build a highly successful business, worthiness around money, right? Am I really someone that can make that kind of money?

Another one is worthiness around being a good enough coach, worthy of being seen as a great coach. And so, because of this, as my clients work towards those higher and higher levels of success and because that subconscious thermostat is always at play, what happens is that we start to formulate stories around our ability to build a successful business, around being able to make that certain level of money, around being seen as perhaps a thought leader, around being seen as a great coach.

And these stories are what we ultimately, and many times without even knowing it because again it’s subconscious, we start giving our attention, we start giving our focus, we start giving our mental real estate to until we see it, until we have a level of awareness around it.

So, unless you’re doing a deep level of work uncovering what these stories are, its going to be really, really challenging to find them. So, I want to encourage you all to take some time, whether you pause the episode right now or take some time after this show and really get present to what your current results are, to what your current patterns are. And I want you all to question your own identity as it relates to your business and what I’ve taught you today.

So, I want to give you some questions to help you consider this for yourself. So, the first question is, what do my current results reveal to me about what I believe? When it comes to my business, what are my biggest challenges and what are the stories that I have around these challenges? As I’m working to take things to the next level in my business, what resistance am I experiencing and why is that? What were the beliefs from my parents, my grandparents, whoever was significant in my upbringing around success and money? And how are those showing up today in my business?

And finally, I want to encourage you to cultivate an awareness to where you are and to where you’re to showing up in a way that serves you or serves your business. So, get some clarity on that, take some time, write that out, have an amazing week. I’ll talk to you all again next week. Take care. Bye-bye.

Hey, if you’re ready for a real breakthrough in your business and want to grow and scale your business to at least six figures or more in annual revenue, I invite you to apply for my exclusive program The Mastermind at amandakarlstadcoaching.com/the-mastermind. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Life Coach Business Podcast. If you want to learn more about how to build, grow and scale your business and accelerate your results, visit amandakarlstadcoaching.com.


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