6 min read

How To Expand Your Identity

How To Expand Your Identity

I was researching identity this last week because I was asked to give a lesson in church yesterday and that's where my questions led me.

I'm sharing it today because if you've got big goals, a huge vision for the future, and a desire to create an impact this year, it will require you to expand your identity.

So today, I'll cover

  • Why your identity is so important
  • How to eliminate the parts that no longer serve you
  • How to expand your identity to become the person you desire to be

Let's dive in...

"Your identity is one of the strongest forces in the world" ~Tony Robbins

Why your identity is so important

In my research I stumbled across one of my favorite quotes from Seth Godin:

People like us do things like this.

He was summarizing marketing, but the quote applies so perfectly to a discussion on identity.

Our identity informs our decisions. The choices we make, what we spend our time on, who we spend our time with, and the values that we hold.

I have a neighbor who has five cars parked in front of his house. Every single one of them is a white Toyota.

What kind of identity does he have? Someone who only drives white Toyotas.

But let's think of a few more applicable analogies.

What kind of decisions do you make if you are an iPhone owner?

What if you identify as an author, vs a writer, vs a content creator?

What about the identity of someone who lacks resources, vs someone who identifies as resourceful?

The identity we hold is like a circle. Anything inside that circle aligns with who we are, and anything outside of it is a hard no because that's not "what I do".

It looks like this:

Every so often, however, we decide we want to make some changes in our lives. We expand our identity to include some of those new choices that before now were not options because they didn't align with who we are.

  • we decide to take up running and become a "runner"
  • we decide to start writing every day to become an "author"
  • we decide to grow our business to become a "creative entrepreneur"

That looks like this:

That expansion is hard at times because we are literally changing our identity, so these new choices are fighting against this incredibly strong force. We like to stay how we are. To keep that identity a perfect circle. It looks nice and feels smooth, and people will accept us as a nice perfect circle.

That lumpy thing where we're expanding and changing, ugh! What is that?

Eliminate the parts that no longer serve you

Through this process, you're constantly deciding what parts of your identity you want to keep, what you want to add, and what you want to get rid of.

Remember when you turned 19 or 20 and couldn't wait to stop carrying the identity of a teenager?

Or you graduated college and couldn't wait to be seen as a coworker rather than an intern or recent grad?

I distinctly remember having to cut off or eliminate the identity of a "sound guy".

For over a decade I was pursuing a path to become one of the best sound engineers in Utah. I studied sound recording in college, started a business called SoundSmith Studios, and quickly became a sought-after engineer.

I worked on a dozen independent films, I toured the nation with bands like Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, The Moth & The Flame, and more.

Everyone knew me as a sound guy.

But then, over a few years which included getting married, having kids, and buying a house, I realized that I much preferred the life of a filmmaker to a sound engineer. I "pivoted", as they say in the tech/VC world, and in order to be seen as a producer I needed people to stop seeing me as a sound guy.

So for about a year I turned down jobs as a sound guy and told people "I'm a film producer now".

It was hard! Up until that point, I was making good money as a sound guy. That's where all the work and opportunities were. But that identity was no longer serving me, so I had to bite the bullet and eliminate that identity.

And it worked! 12 years after that pivot in 2009 I produced my first movie in 2021. Then two more in 2022.

Most people now associate me with either "Craftsman Creative" or as an independent film producer. Those identities serve me much more than the "sound guy" identity ever could.

How to expand YOUR identity to better serve you

All that said, the next step is for YOU to expand your identity in the way that will best serve you.

Maybe you need to become a salesman, a marketer, or an entrepreneur. It's time to put on another hat and adopt another persona, in order to reach your business goals.

Or maybe you need to see yourself as more resourceful, more outgoing, a better partner, a leader, or as someone who is capable of accomplishing the big things you are trying to accomplish this year.

Now, start small. Start with one expansion at a time. Don't try to take on becoming a runner, get engaged to your partner, start a new business, and aspire to become an author all at the same time.

Instead, think of a few big goals you want to accomplish this year. Then map those goals into projects that you can complete each quarter. Then tackle one at a time, make daily and weekly progress, and reinforce this new identity every day.

That can take the form of anything from meditation, visualization, incantations, and more. You've got to find what works best for you.

Ask yourself what steps you took the last time that you expanded your identity. How did you do it successfully? Copy those steps and apply them this time around to expand and grow as a creator, artist, entrepreneur, etc.

PS - When you're ready, there are a few ways I can help you on your creative journey...

  1. Grab a copy of my book, Craftsman Creative - How Five-Figure Creators Can Build Six-Figure Businesses
  2. Check out the 10k Challenge and build your bespoke creative business.
  3. Work with me. I've got a few ways - both done with you and done for you - to help you grow your creative business this year. Start with this free scorecard.

This Twitter Space from last week with Ilze Švarcbaha was a super fun conversation around doing creative work.


I've started publishing new episodes of the Craftsman Creative podcast. I'll share some of my interviews on other podcasts (when they allow me to) and every Friday I'll be sharing three ideas around one topic to help you build your "bespoke creative business". Check it out (and subscribe if you haven't yet!)

Here's Friday's episode:


Speaking of podcasts, I've compiled all of the interviews I've done since August of 2021 over on the blog. There are some great conversations if you haven't had a chance to check them out yet.


I loved this idea to grow your list using ads for free from Louis over at Sparkloop.


As part of a Digital Declutter that I'm doing in February, I'm going to be implementing this on my Linkedin profile. The plan is to get all social apps off of my phone, and only check in 1x per day for ~15 minutes.

I've spread myself too thin trying to grow a social presence, and it's now at the detriment of the growth of my business. I would spend upwards of 2 hours per day writing, reading, replying, engaging, messaging, and more. And it's not leading to any meaningful growth in my business.

So the goal of the declutter is to create space to find one channel and one offer that takes my business to the next level, which I've identified as $25k per month. That's a big goal, but it will only come from focus, not from trying to do it all.