In this fourth article in the Spiritual Coaching Foundations series, we take a look at Identity (your True Self) and how to align with it in your working life. We also explore the Ego Self and how it can impact you reaching your potential. Plus I offer some ways to recognise the Ego so you can loosen its grip on you.
Identity: Acknowledging the True Self
On my website and in my writing, I talk a lot about the True Self, so I want to start with explaining what I mean by that term. The True Self is basically the real you underneath all the layers of roles you play, societal expectations and any facades or masks you may wear. It is the essence of who you are. And I see two dimensions to the True Self:
1. The Outer True Self
This can be defined by the more tangible aspects of what you identify with, such as your values, your passions, your character traits or the choices you make around the material aspects of your life which feel like an expression of the real you. For example, the work you do, the clothes you wear, the way you decorate your house, your daily practices or leisure pursuits. This is what I see as the ‘human’ part of ‘human being’.
2. THE INNER TRUE SELF
Why the True Self is important within your working life
Typically, when clients come to me they are out of alignment within their career or their life. They have lost touch with their Inner and Outer True Self and are suffering the consequences of this misalignment. They have lost connection with who they are and they sense something doesn’t feel right. Perhaps they knew who they were years ago and have lost their way. Or, in some cases, they have never really known their True Self (inner or outer). The journey towards alignment can only begin once you understand who your True Self is. And also, who it is not.
When you are in alignment with your True Self, there is a ‘clicking into place’. There is a sense of arriving home. You feel anchored by it. You have greater conviction in the choices you make and the difficult decisions which you face. Understanding your True Self is the foundation to deeper fulfilment within your career and your life (which ultimately is what many people are yearning for). That is why it is so central to the work that I do and the approach I take to career coaching.
It is easy to get swept up by life and go along with things that aren’t really ‘you’ (until you reach a point of crisis). It takes courage, focus (and headspace) to really get to know your True Self. Also, a little patience. This is a lifelong journey in many ways. It’s an ever-evolving path for all of us.
They say that the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So, if you’re looking to create a shift in your working life without recognising and aligning with your True Self (i.e. doing something different), your results will be the same. Patterns will probably repeat themselves. Or, you may well come unstuck again further down the line. That’s not to say you have to make a complete overnight change to align to your True Self, but rather there can be a ‘moving towards’. Small steps taken consistently as part of a bigger longer term picture.
The Ego Self (and who we are not)
The opposite of the True Self could be described as the False Self or the Ego Self. This is the outer identity you project to the world which is often mistaken for being who you truly are. This could include your job title, your political stance, your religion, your level of affluence.
Before I started working for myself and before I became a Coach, a lot of my identity came from my work. When asked, I liked to tell others what I did. It felt like there was a certain level of kudos attached to saying that ‘I’m a Buyer for Sainsbury’s’. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was my ego at work! And in some ways I think it kept me stuck in that type of role and environment for a lot longer than was good for me. I have since realised that my true identity is nothing at all to do with my work (even now as I am fully aligned with my purpose).
Here are 4 common ways in which your Ego Self can show up within your working life and hold you back from your true potential:
1. worrying what others think
2. ATTACHMENT TO YOUR CURRENT ROLE
Even though many of my clients are wanting a career change (often because they have had enough of their employer/industry), they are clinging on to the identity which their current career brings them. This is most noticeable in professions such as law, medicine and teaching. There is a certain status with declaring your self as ‘a Lawyer’ or ‘a Doctor’. It can hold people back from re-aligning their lives and finding true fulfilment.
3. BELIEVING YOU ‘SHOULD’ BE IN A DIFFERENT POSITION
4. A NARROW view of you WHO YOU ARE
4 STEPS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR TRUE SELF AND CREATE A MORE FULFILLING WORKING LIFE
1. Acknowledge your True Self
Identify what is truly important to you in how you live your life (e.g. your values, your passions). Listen for guidance on what you feel drawn to or what is repelling you. Tune in to the experience in your body such as a ‘clicking into place’ or a gut feeling of something not being right for you. You can also explore your inner True Self through connection practices such as meditation or mindful walks in nature.
2. Become aware of your Ego Self
Recognise when you are wearing a mask, when you are being led by fear, when you are attached to other people’s opinions, when you are using words such as ‘should’ or phrases such as ‘I’m just a…’ or ‘…that’s just who I am’. See it for what it is – just your Ego Self trying to protect you and not who you truly are underneath the surface.
3. Make a more aligned choice
In everyday life as with big decisions you may be poised to make, once you have taken these two steps, you can then make a choice which either brings you into closer alignment with your True Self or moves you further away. On a smaller scale this could be choosing to wear an outfit which reflects your own sense of style instead of dressing to fit in. On a larger scale it could be deciding to leave your career in accountancy and become a climbing instructor.
4. Repeat this simple mantra
“I am not my job”
I hope you are feeling courageous to now explore and connect with your True self. you are not stuck with your current identity (if you don't want to be). we are ever-evolving beings and there is always an opportunity to change. once you recognise your true self and begin to align with it, your life will change immeasurably.
Here's to you connecting with your true self and all that it may bring to your working life...
Hello, I'm Rebecca
Career Coach for people on a spiritual path
I support mid-career professionals who are ready to make a career change, launch into a more purpose-led career or business or simply enjoy a more fulfilling or balanced working life.
I believe that we all have a purpose here on earth and that life is too short to be stressed, unfulfilled and playing small.