My Identity Is About Identity

When I think back to the turn of the century in 2000, when I was working as a Senior Web Developer, my focus and passion seemed to be helping people to express their identity…be it a company, community, or person.

What I’m realizing today is that my identity has evolved beyond this. I want to help people to express the transformation of their identity, as it evolves and grows through their own life’s development.

So much of the conflict within our world today is often because of identity, whereby one group tries to marginalize and control the identity of another group for their own exploitation and gain.

“There is a natural order to this world…”, Cloud Atlas

Yet at the same time, we ourselves are often enslaved by our own identity, seeking safety and comfort from within it as our “home” to exist within. Yet it can limit us if we don’t let it naturally grow and evolve, becoming something larger than we are, thus giving us the space and freedom to be more of who we truly are and who we are truly becoming.

This to me is what the last two decades of my life have been about. While I was researching The Future of Work, social innovation, creativity, vertical development, and the Hero’s Journey (symbolizing the psychological process of growth and development), really all of these things were about identity and how we need to give ourselves the time and space to let our identities evolve and grow, just like I needed to do with myself.

And the more I think about this, the more I feel that what’s impeding me isn’t my inability to articulate my life’s work but rather my inability to articulate my own identity.

It’s funny. I remember when I was young and my metabolism was so high at times that I felt like I had so much energy within my body that I couldn’t contain myself. In a way, that’s how I feel like right now in terms of my identity. There’s this tension between this old me and this new me that’s trying to burst forth from the old container that is me but I just can’t find the words to articulate and free my larger sense of Self.

Or perhaps it’s more than this. Perhaps it is that I need to give myself the time and space to first evolve and grow before I can articulate who I truly am. In effect, the certainty comes afterwards, not beforehand. So there’s this liminal space of uncertainty where things just blur together between certain domains of knowledge and you’re just trying to make sense of your Self but everything’s out of focus and without clarity. But the clarity and certainty of who you are is emerging with each step you take.

I think this is why so often when I’m exploring a new social space, my greatest fear and aversion to it is trying to express who I am, because so much of who I am is still in flux and fluid. So I don’t feel like starting within it because I can’t simply articulate the complexity of who I am.

But perhaps that’s the path I need to take though. I need to let go of trying to articulate my “identity” beforehand and just let my identity emerge and reveal itself naturally step by step, one post at a time, helping to build a larger, clearer narrative of who I am over the journey I’m taking.

Hmm, this is interesting though because it reminds me of something else I thought about before, relating to creating something that goes beyond a resume. In effect, a resume focuses on what you’ve done in the past and where you’ve been, whereas we need something beyond a resume today that shows us where we are but more importantly where we’re going, but within a world where things are in the process of emerging and thus are not fully known yet.

My base vision for this was something like a website or social platform whereby you just share things you’re passionate about and over time, AI would connect the dots, seeing the relationship between them, and show you the bigger picture of who you are. But no one has as yet done this with AI yet, so I need to figure out a way to do this manually, trying to organize and map my identity from basic building blocks to showing how they relate to something larger as a whole.

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for the roleplaying game called Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

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