Artwork for podcast Purpose Through Pain
178: Finding Your Identity and Purpose
Episode 17830th May 2023 • Purpose Through Pain • Joseph James
00:00:00 00:13:26

Share Episode


When you keep telling yourself the same story, nothing will change.

In this episode, Joseph James talks all about identity, and how most people prioritize the wrong thing. Changing your identity is something that many people struggle with for a whole lifetime.

If you want to change your identity, the vision of yourself must change.

How we feel about our own lives is so important. We create an identity for ourselves about how we talk, look, act, and even who we interact with so we can keep up a certain look or idea of ourselves

But when your profession becomes your identity, something certainly needs to change. Joseph experienced this first hand, and in this episode, tells the story of how he was able to change his mindset around this.

If your identity is work, and if your job changes, your job changes your life feels meaningless.

In this episode:

  • Joseph shares how he had to change his identity twice. Once after a career change, and once after his wife passed away.
  • The steps to take to change your identity.
  • How to know when your identity is no longer working for you.

Key Takeaways:

  1. If you want to change your identity, the vision of yourself must change.
  2. Work should not be your identity.
  3. Your identity can change, when you put effort into it.

Tweetable moments:

  1. “Align your future with where you want your identity to be.”
  2. “If I want a different future, I have to change how I think now.”
  3. “Change your mindset, change your world.”

Connect with Joseph James:




 Hello everyone and welcome to another great show of Purpose through Pain podcast, I am your host, Joseph James. I wanna talk to you today about a subject that you don't hear too often, but yet we all deal with it at some point in time in our life. We also may even suffer with it at some point in time in our life. For a lot of people, or for most people, I should say, we suffer with it the majority of our life. And that simply is this right here, your identity changing, your identity. And I'm not talking about the physical makeup, I'm not talking about your name. I'm not talking about going to a court system and getting legal rights to a different name, that's not what I'm referring to, I am referring to is what we see ourself as that creates our identity and who we are or how we feel about ourself. When we go throughout life, whether it's a job, whether it's a profession, whether it's a, the way we act and talk and do things to people, we create a image about ourself. We create an ideology about ourself on how we're supposed to look, how we are supposed to act and talk, and carry our ourself how we're supposed to do things within a profession, some people even go to the links where their profession, because they've been in it for so long, that becomes their identity, and that's ultimately, The wrong way to look at things, okay. Our identity is yes we base it off of how we look, but for me, my identity is who I am in Christ, who I am in Jesus, because that is my creator. Now, you may not have the same beliefs as I do, and I'm not here to talk about that, okay? However, when you look at, for me, my creator, I know that everything that is within me is through him. When I look at, let's just say that for me, for an example, is I went to four years of undergraduate school and I was going for sports medicine, athletic trainer, everything that I did was living, eat, breathe, sleep, sports, medicine, I can name every muscle and every tendon, every ligament, the origin, the insertion, what causes this pain, this special test for a diagnosis this, and that became who I was, okay. I made it my identity because everything I did revolved around that, okay. The problem is with that was this right here when it was taken away from me, so to say, not because I did anything wrong, but when I no longer went that route in terms of being in sports medicine, I had a very rough time accepting it because that's something I had worked for such a very long time, over four years of my life. And at the time, from the age of roughly 29 to 32 33 years of age, that was my life, and when I could not pass my board exams, I was crushed because now I felt something that I had associated myself with was no longer a part of my life and it hurt. So what ultimately is your identity? Your identity is the story that we create and that we tell ourself about who we are. How It might be something to do with your past, it might be the way you were raised, it may even be the profession that you're in or how you were in a relationship, and things begin toxic and you're in a bad relationship, and that changed who you were as an individual, circumstances change us, and that can become our identity. For me, it was the college, at other times in my life, it was the desire to be a federal air marshal, I worked for so long to become one, all the training, all the firearms, all the tactics, the job application that took 18 months and then all of a sudden I get the job, I get my letter of employment, and now I'm getting my dream job. But I felt to my heart at that time and season of my life, that wasn't for me any longer, and I felt like there was a piece missing, another great example for me was the Marine Corps, I didn't grow up wanting to be a Marine, but yet I grew up in a Marine Corps family. My dad was a marine 20 years. I grew up in a Marine Corps town, my high school, all those different things. And though I didn't live, eat, breathe, sleep it, when I became one, I now, everything about my life was the Marines, I studied it. I looked the part, I was sharp, I was, clean cut, I was a good poster board child as a marine, okay. Until the time the Lord told me to get out, I wanted to do 20 years. I was meritorious, promoted multiple times. Received billets way ahead of my time, I was ideal, and then when God told me to get outta the Marine Corps, I'm like, oh my God, what am I going to do? Because that became my identity, it was the story I begin to create about myself and then all of a sudden, take that story out, take me out of the chapter. It's like the the series, the movie Walking Dead, or the series, the Walking Dead, everything was great until a certain character. Was no longer in, was killed off and it they were no longer in the series or no longer in the episodes, okay? And we're like, oh my goodness, I can't believe they took that person out. That became our identity. But I wanna tell you something, if you want a different life, you have to change your identity, why change it, okay, why change? I if you want things different in your life, okay. If you want to change your outcome, you have to change your identity, and what I mean by that is the way you think, the way you go about your everyday life, okay? If I'm always thinking about living in, in poverty, my identity becomes around a poverty stricken mindset, okay? And I'm not talking about, you may have a home, you may have good things, you may have an nice car, but you may not be making the money that you're making, maybe your relationship with somebody isn't where it needs to be. If you're constantly, always thinking that, and believing that and living in that, you have to change, if you want a different outcome, your identity has to change, I remember this, for example, I went to flyback from Europe one time, fly in Delta, and my brother-in-law at the time told me, he said something about when you, I was asking about what do you wear on the plane? Just besides just like pajamas, okay, or T-shirt and shorts, he says, when you dress up, people will look at you differently. So I dressed up and as I'm walking down the aisle of the plane, people in first class were looking at me, people through coach class and business class were looking at me, I'm like, man this feels good. I began to change for that time, it was my physical identity because when I changed the physical, I started to change the mental, but I ultimately wanted a different outcome for my life. So my identity, the way I begin to view myself. Had to change. Now, why would you want to change your identity? Maybe you want a different, maybe your future's going in a different direction, maybe it doesn't line up with where you're going, so align your future with where you want your identity to be, your future may not line up the way you think things, if I want to think in a prosperous mindset, if I want to be prosperous, I have to start changing the way I think so that it changes my identity. Because when I change my identity, everything starts changing around me, when I start thinking, when I start thinking differently, my identity changes, when I stop telling myself the same story, see? Most of and if you don't know, my wife died two and a half years ago and it was a very long, it was a long 11 months from the time that she was diagnosed with cancer to the time that she passed away, okay. I could still live that, that is part of my identity, because of the story that I tell and I can live in guilt, shame, trauma, rejection, abandonment, all from my childhood, all to the point that she was diagnosed with cancer, however, for if I want a different future, if I'm thinking, you know what? I have to line myself differently, so I'm not living in the past. I'm not living in the grief stricken story of things that happen in my time and in my life, I have to change the identity, I have to change the way I think, the way I view about myself, the way I want things to happen in the future, okay. I have had the opportunity to coach as a strength and conditioning coach, or an intern strength and conditioning coach at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. I had the opportunity to coach young gentlemen, young kids, I should say, in strength and conditioning, and some of them went on to play in the nfl. It's not what I did that had the impact on them. Now maybe my mentorship, my coaching abilities, things like that, but they had to create in their mind is where do I want my future to go? I wanna play in the NFL, so they had to start thinking NFL, they had to start thinking big for me, if I want a multi-million dollar business, I had to start thinking differently, I had to change the way I hired, the way I thought, the way I did sales, the way I did marketing, the way I did, carried myself, the way I talked, the way I walked, I had to change my identity, to get to where I'm at, so if there's things that you want in life that you're not achieving now, one way that you can achieve them, and I'm gonna leave this with you, for all the lift centers, whether you're dealing with grief, Whether you're dealing with trauma or shame or you want a better relationship, you want different in your circumstances, you want different in your finances, you want different in your home life, change your identity, and the way you change your identity is the way you start thinking of what you want to be and that those begin to align, I heard a statement says this, you change your story, your identity will change, change your identity, your actions will change, and you change your actions, your results will change. All those have to come into alignment, and I get that quote from Rob Dole Jr. He's on Instagram, Rob Dole Jr., but change your story, change your identity, your identity will change, change your identity, your actions will change, change your actions, your results will change, and I'm gonna leave you with this last comment. This is something I've coined myself, change your mindset, change your world, change your mindset, change your world, guys, thanks so much for listening today, please by all means, share the podcast, reach out to us on Instagram, ask us questions, tell us what you want to hear., talked about, maybe you're struggling with something, I wanna be able to help you, I wanna be able to help you find your purpose through pain, thank you so much, I love you guys.