I encourage people to ask the question: who am I? I mean this as an exploration of the labels, roles and identity that we perceive about ourselves to understand where our expectations, needs and desires come from. However, within all of that is the question of potential. Who can I become? Or perhaps more importantly: who do I want to become? This is the motivation driving many of the people who come for coaching. Beneath the questions around overcoming challenges and finding clarity is the desire to change and grow. To know what you want to change would it not be helpful to understand who you want to become?
We judge and evaluate ourselves and others primarily on observed behaviours and the results we associate with what people do. For example, research has shown that social norms are the biggest influence on what we think and how we behave. This is why we focus very heavily on behaviour modification to change who we are. This is a very effective strategy in sports where results are often based on body mechanics and physical habits. At the higher levels of sports, however, where everyone has a high level of fitness and skill, the mental aspect plays a far greater role. As with anything systemic, solutions are rarely a matter of changing one thing.
One of the key contributors to the further development of Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP is Robert Dilts. He has developed a model that looks at the potential to change from several different levels where behaviour is only one of them. These also include environment, skills, beliefs, and identity. If you are unhappy with your behaviour but you just can’t seem to change your habits there could be a belief keeping you stuck. However, the part of the model I would like to focus on is identity.
Identity brings the discussion back to the question of: who am I? The answers you give to this question will be an assortment of judgements, experiences, conditioning, and beliefs about yourself. Some labels you will have given yourself and some you will have accepted from others. Very few of these will tell you who you can become. None of us knows our true potential until life demands it of us. So I suggest you decide who you want to become. Imagine the best version of yourself and work towards that. You may need to learn new skills and overcome limiting beliefs but having an identity to work toward may be the motivation and most effective way to change, while also giving you a clear direction on who you want to become.