NEW Identity: BE
coming The Leader Your Market Desires.
For many years I had wondered why I leaped from one role to another. My positions varied from being a laboratory scientist, a process consultant, a math tutor, a lyricist, a grad school teaching assistant, blogger, even a respected party planner at one time to name a few. All these roles I played while still being under the tender age of 45.
You see, everyone at one point in their lives, will be faced with the 3 critical questions necessary for fulfillment.
* Am I the best version of myself?
* Am I having an impact on the roles that I play?
* How will I be remembered when I leave this planet?
So how do the masses address these questions? They don't. They avoid them. It causes discomfort. It forces one to go deep into reflecting the uncomfortable parts of one's identity and that requires deep work.
I was no exception. I danced around it. The more I delayed this reality, the less I had to show up powerfully.
The less responsibility I had to take on. The less fulfillment I experienced and the more reason I maneuvered from role to role. It felt safe and this illusion of safety comes at a steep price.
The price of not being a great brother or husband or friend. The price of not being a great consultant and the most important of them all, the price of not being a person that needs to escape from reality through roles in the hope that each role would provide the answers and that is mentally exhausting.
At 45, It became abundantly clear that there were deep gaps between who I am, who I hope to show up as, and the narrative in between.
When one can eliminate the inclination to impress others for the sake of approval. When one can eliminate the inclination to prove to anyone why they matter. When one can accommodate two antagonistic thoughts and ideas while still enjoying the comfort of their own identity, then there, lies a robust framework of what identity is. I can't guarantee that you won't have thoughts of doubt or experience the imposter syndrome, however what I can guarantee is that you'll have a framework by which to counter such moments when they do arise.
Welcome to the blueprint that I wish I had while undergoing this journey of "finding myself". It would have definitely saved me a lot of pain, turmoil, and scars. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the journey and all the players that contributed to my identity discovery. I wouldn't trade them for the world.
To you, the reader of this blueprint, I offer you this gift. This gift of the identity framework. My hope to you is that you may find applicable lessons that will be beneficial to your journey of identity discovery.
We have a lot of work to do.
Welcome and let's get started!
~Lee Kiratu Kariuki
Table Of Contents
Circa 1994:Family celebration of dads masters graduation.
3 Lessons From My Back Story
Before I can embark on how I arrived here, there are 3 pivotal lessons that I learned from my backstory. These are the covenants that I promised to abide by and have guided me over the years.
Coming from a middle class family, my dad worked as a marine engineer at the local port of Mombasa, Kenya while my mum was an administrative assistant for the local water company. I had a comfortable childhood and my parents worked extremely hard to provide me with a strong educational foundation.
The perseverance and resilience I possess, I learned from my mom. She gave birth to me when she was only 20 and a year later, my dad had to go to the U.K. for college on a British Council scholarship. 2 years later my sister, Fay was born and 5 years later Archie was born while my dad was mostly home during the holidays and gone for most of the year.
I could only imagine what mom had to endure. At that young age, being a new mother and your husband isn't there requires courage and strength. I also imagined what my dad had to endure. New dad, leaving everything you know, the anxiety of going to a new country and not knowing if it would even be the right decision. This was my first bout with detachment.
When I was in kindergarten, my best friend Ivan from Ireland had to leave. His dad was a ship captain and he had disappeared while at sea. I was too young to comprehend but I remember feeling sad that everyone that I ever got personally attached to, eventually left.
Then in 1985, I lost another close friend, Robert Ondatto to sickle cell anemia. He was the first person I had ever seen a body in a casket. The first time I had seen what death really looks like. it terrified me and for many years, I had nightmares from that scene. Some scenes you just never forget. Robert had a certain smoothness and flair. He wore cologne while we were still on deodorant. He courted attention and attention he got. The girls talked about him and the boys couldn't really understand him.At that age all we wanted to do was play marbles or Nintendo games. He had a magnetic angelic smile with perfectly white teeth.
In recent years, I have lost more friends and relatives than I can count with both hands and feet. From heart attacks, to cancer to drug overdose. It was this loss that brought me to the realization of my first rule. Everything that I do, I do from the lens of appreciation of family first.
What's Your Why?
All I ever wanted to do was get the approval from my dad. He had studied engineering in the U.K and despite having little to no interest, I studied engineering. Just to make him proud. I enjoyed chemistry so naturally I thought, chemical engineering would just be more about "engineering" chemicals. Little did I know that you had to learn kinetics and thermodynamics and diffusion and heat transfer and reactor design and differential equations...........not my cup of tea.
So I decided my next project was to focus on biotech as there was real value in understanding how drugs are created. Besides if there was ever a situation where I had to see a doctor, I would at least pretend to understand what the conversation was all about. I had to study microbiology and biochemistry and anatomy and physiology and soon I started learning and viewing the body as this gigantic system. As a pharmaceutical scientist, I found the discipline fascinating to deeper understand the robust process of drug discovery process from computational modeling to phase 3 of the clinical trials. I had worked as a drug manufacturing process consultant and then in the fall of 2017, at 2.00 am while running an experiment in the lab, I caught glimpse of a book called "The 4hour work week."
That was the book that planted the seed on deeper understanding system design. The book in itself wasn't really about working 4 hours but more about using systems to simply your own life.What resonated with me most was the framework by which he used.Define, Eliminate,Automate and Liberate. A simplification of the six sigma DMAIC process. Define,Measure,Analyze,Implement and then Control.
The reason why despite understanding systems, I could not apply this knowledge to own life was because the knowledge I had felt abstract until the book came along. It would also have never clicked because during this whole time, I had lacked a true sense of why I was doing everything and anything. It was from the lens of what would make my father proud of me and that's a terrible way of living one's life. Which brings me to lesson 2, I won't touch any task without a clear comprehension of why I'm doing it. My own deep why.
Engineer Joy In Mundanity
While in college, I had to not only pay for my college tuition, but I had to work fulltime to cover my rent and food. I worked from 5pm to 1 am Monday through Friday. My classes ran from 8 am to 4.30 pm so that gave me a 30 minute break to get dinner before work.
There was only one sensible job that paid more than minimum wage that would cover my upkeep. The Sprint PCS call center in Tallahassee, Florida. The job requirement was to help new cell phone owners through a toll free number, activate their mobile devices to receive service.
Initially, I felt like the job was distraction to me because all that mattered to me was to "become" the engineer that would make my dad proud of me. My attitude was terrible. Hated the first week of training. Had to read sales scripts and role play with fellow trainees and pretend to be "high pitched and enthusiastic", something that I struggled with.
I realized though, the less I applied myself, the more difficult the job became. At the advice of a coworker, I finally gave in and decided to just "surrender" to the job and find a way to enjoy in it. Besides I had to spend 8 hours doing it, might as well find the pleasures of the job.
Now I'll tell you this firsthand. If you'd like a speed lesson in human behavior, try working in any capacity where you have to interact with irate customers. All the training in the world wouldn't prepare you for half the situations you have to deal with. They had floor supervisors to take calls whenever irate clients came onboard. This not only cut in to your average handle time, a key performance metric but also reduced your ability to earn more in commissions.
So as an aspirant engineer I decided to create my little system on how to "simplify" my sales process. First I noticed that the top earners never really got "irate calls" They had mastered the art of "bullet speed" call resolution. Second, they never read from the scripts provided. They had "humanized" their scripts to become their own. Third, they always projected a "natural, relatable" tonality rather than "high pitch artificial" tone the trainers had suggested.
Which brings me to my 3rd lesson. The attitude you bring to your job determines how difficult your job becomes. In less than 3 months I had become one of the top commission earners at the call center.
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Loise and I.
Family pic during Easter 2015.
Dad and mum.
The Psychology Of Identity Creation
What Is Identity?
Identity is the packaging by which we as human beings store all our symbols of self. OK Lee. what does that even mean?Every identity has 3 parts. The past, the future and the narrative that bridges that gap. When all these images through things we own, experiences we've had and stories we tell ourselves are put in to a bucket, that bucket is what we call our identity. Think of it as a collage of all our fears, aspirations narratives and moral compass. In short it's the lens by which we do everything!!!
Now notice that I labelled it storage of symbols. Symbols are the cue's that remind us of who we think we are. If we curate the wrong symbols, we continue living through life with the identity that is in alignment with the symbols. the thing is there is no wrong or right identity. Only the identity that is in alignment with the symbols we've curated which in turn triggers the behavior that is in accordance with this identity.
While I was in college, I used to smoke about a pack every 3 days. My cue's to light up weren't the presence of a cigarette. My symbol was the narrative that a cigarette was "stresses best relaxation companion". The narrative that without the cigarette, "I could not think clearly or optimally." That cigarettes were great "conversation" starters with absolute strangers. That smoking "saved lives" because it got criminals to admit the crimes they committed. this addition wen't on for a while. i had tried nicorette and all those "stop smoking" regimens. if anything the more I tried them, the higher the urge. How did I finally stop?(8 years now!) I dissociated the symbols from the identity. Scientifically I knew that If I could go a week without a cigarette, my cravings would drop by 40%. If I could stay away from other smokers, another 20%. The ultimate test was when drinking. So I cut down on drinking. The behavior follows the identity. The identity follows the symbols. The symbols follow the narrative we accept.
How Does One Create Identity?
As simple as it may sound. you just simply choose. There is no right or wrong identity. only the identity that conforms with the commitment levels you're willing to take. The choice in identity is where I made the bulk of my mistake. It's not in the "who to choose" that makes the difference but rather the "how to choose" part. I made the selection from the lens of "What result could I get" rather than from the lens of "Who do I need to become." The problem with result driven identity is that once the result is attained, that identity ceases to exist.
Let's say you want to be a landscaper. The first thing to ask yourself is:-
1. How do landscapers behave? This is the "be" part of identity.
2. What do landscaper do? This is the "do" part of identity.
Once you do the research and have data on the two top questions, the final missing part is the one that most skip. Yet, it's the one where all the magic happens. Now before we get in to the missing part, lets first define the difference between "Be" and "Becoming".
The Difference Between "Be" and "Becoming"
Choice of words is the greatest force of creation. Words can either energize or demoralize an outcome. Words have genetic forces. Consider these two examples.
1. I am a swimmer taking lessons.
2. I am taking lessons to become a swimmer.
Both may sound the same but to the mind they are as different as day and night. One is a cue for identity while the other is a cue at identity. For, at... what difference does it make?
Ok let me simplify it even further. "I am" are the greatest words of creation. The minute you use "I am" every word following thereafter transforms all your energies to behave in parallax with this identity.
Becoming is an event. You have to work towards that event's expected outcome. Once that result has been achieved, in order to maintain the same identity, you must chase after the next event. This is the problem with event driven identity.
In the example above. #1 is already a swimmer just taking classes to reinforce this identity. #2 is not a swimmer yet, but hopes by taking these lessons one day, month, year they will grow the confidence to start behaving like the swimmer they aspire to be.
This is the subtle difference between identity reinforcement versus identity chasing.
One is event driven, the other is existence driven.
What do we know to be true about events? They have finite time. That's why when an "identity" X runs in to the first sign of a challenge on their result driven journey, they immediately move on to the next thing.
This is the reason, "I am" then whatever follows next, simultaneously fires at two synapses of the brain necessary for creation.
It triggers DNA forces that translates to RNA to create the necessary protein action. Action driven from a state of surety and conviction rather than a state of hoping.
John 14:6 Jesus answered " I am, the way, the truth and the life" NOT "I am becoming the way, the truth and the life"
This was the core reason I could never commit to anything or anyone for that matter. Besides the fact that I had lost close friends and relatives during my childhood, the core of why I couldn't commit was because I chased only the result. Once the result was attained, the identity needed a new mission. A new high! A new thing to chase. A new validation.Looking back, the lack commitment was evident due to the lack of procedural process for identity selection.
This being the absolute necessity for identity creation. Two words. "I AM....."
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The Building Blocks Of Congruence
Once an identity is selected this identity needs a code of conduct. This identity needs a mission.A symbol. A set of rules and laws by which to influence behavior. A lens by which to superimpose all events and occurrences in alignment with its existence. This level of consistency will be influenced by four factors. By definition, congruence is the ability to behave in a consistent manner especially in the absence of local/global observers.
This section is dedicated to engineering the framework of how you show up to the world after you've chosen your identity. The crucial questions to congruency are:-
1. Who you are? "What's your calling?
2. Who you'd like to show up as?
3. How you behave
4. What you say
Before we get in to the how, let's first define the 4 drivers of congruence. Love, fear, power and force.
Love, Fear, Power and Force.
LOVE: This is by far one of the greatest form of energy. It's has different definitions. The warm emotion felt towards a person, an act or a thing. That's the generally accepted definition. However love is deeper than that. Love, in my books, is the existence and appreciation of the pivotal intersection of mind, body and spirit. When those three meet, and vibrate at the same frequency there lies love. I just exists like air. You're either aware of its existence or you're not. Pretty metaphysical stuff here.
In short love is the state of consciousness to the present. The here and now.
I know it sounds all cuckoo's crazy but bear with me for a minute. One way of describing what something is, starts by describing what something isn't. Love doesn't need acknowledgement. It's absent of validation. It doesn't need justification. It doesn't even need identification. It doesn't need reassurance. it doesn't even need mentioning. It's just there in existence. It's unconditional. It's non-judgemental. It's accepting without bias. When you get to that level of consciousness, you are in the state of LOVE! What we most describe and define as love, conventionally, is really ego! Ego needs reciprocation. Ego needs assurance. Ego needs acknowledgement. When non of these apply to you, then you are in a state of "LOVE" It's a state not an emotion!
FEAR: Now that you understand that state of what love is, we need a term to describe what the absence of love is. It's not hate. Just like we need darkness to define the absence of light, we need the word hate to define absence of love. Really absence of love is fear! Fear of judgement. Fear of loss. Fear of discrimination. Fear of responsibility. The only way to conquer it is to really call it for what it is. Fear comes from narrative. The narrative of a past experienced event resurfacing or the anxiety of future unexpected events happening. Fear robs more men and women out of their potential identity than any other emotional state. Remember it's the "state" that cause the emotion. As we learned earlier, it's the identity that creates results and if we don't own that identity we don't own that behavior and if we don't own that behavior, we couldn't possibly own the result. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
For a long time in my relationships, I echoed my fear of attachment due to childhood memories of loss. I could never "give my all" for fear of being abandoned and having to deal with the loss again. To compensate for this, I would deliberately accelerate the process to fit the narrative I had convinced myself off for many years! That was the state of fear....the absence of consciousness.
POWER: Like love, power is the capacity to concentrate energy to a specific situation to get an expected outcome. It's consciousness applied. Just like love, if you have to show it, you don't own it. Power is the capacity and ability to produce a certain outcome without any inconvenience to identity or state. Calamities happen. Celebrations happen. We experience loss. We experience gain. Power is knowing that we have choice. The choice to chose how external or internal events affect our state. The ability to move from event to event without change in mind, body and spirit is the ultimate definition of power. It's a deep rooted ownership belief of surrendering rather than forcing. It's the comprehension that events happen through you rather to you. It's the ability to be an observer in your own life as you go through your existence. In short, it's the mastery and control of your own emotional states without the need or desire to control others. The powerful one doesn't need to flaunt it. Doesn't need to make a sound. Doesn't need to convince. The world feels their presence. Their existence, without uttering a word.
FORCE: Ultimately, force is the application of power to change state or earn a result. It is deeply rooted in the belief that without force, a result won't be in existence. When you find yourself in the position of needing force to attain a certain result, there lies ego. Reflecting back, whenever I sued for force to get any result, I either got the result and was extremely dissatisfied or didn't even get the result and was glad. It's an indication that you're out of sync with your natural existence of mind body and soul, LOVE! "I have to have..." only creates more "I have to have..." which is the state of forcing. "Have to" is a wanting state and wanting is an ego state. Be-ing is an existence state. You are that which you seek. It will come to you. Continue with the existence of who you are doing the things that reinforce that identity, pivoting where data exists, but being totally fine that you are complete, without that thing you want. Desire is LOVE, force is EGO.
The State Of Identity Congruence
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Identity Congruence is the intersection of fear, power and love. The ability to feel when these 3 states are out of sync and to rectify it consciousness.
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To have a rock solid identity means you are in total congruence. Congruence in simple terms is the state of balance. Where we know when fear is present to serve it's evolutionary fulfillment, power to know who we are and what we stand for and stand against and love to keep us in the state of consciousness.
Congruence is the ultimate form of existence. the nirvana of consciousness. Some people achieve it through meditation. Some through extreme sports. Whatever method you use to snap you back in to consciousness, do it. It is this consciousness that etches deep in to your identity. The same identity that will remind you of your existence. You don't need to do anything to have power. The fact that you are here reading this is an undeniable fact of your power and intent. At conception, you already fought and beat six million other competitors to become the zygote that matured to become you. You survived child birth, disease and even as I write this, your will to stay alive is why you're here.
You are powerful. You just need to remember it.
When I work with clients, every now and then I'll get a random question. "Lee, do you think anyone would want what I have?" and my answer is "That depends on who you are" If you don't remember or own the identity that is capable of producing a result through the lens of your prospects, no amount of marketing or storytelling will mask that. It's like selling stale rotten fish in Fendi bags. The bag may illicit desire, but with very short term commitment. Besides, how do you expect your audience to commit to your instruction when you haven't committed to your identity and pursuit of excellence?
The Importance Of Identity and Identity Congruence.
If you're going to play at any capacity as a leader. Either leading your congregation in a church setting or leading your family as the head of household or leading your clients as a consultant. Then the most important responsibility you have is the development of your value system. A value system is everything we talked about above. It's your code of ethics. Your sop's. Standard operating procedures.Remember, people don't follow you. They follow your value system. A representation of who they are or who they aspire to be. If you don't have a solid value system or a foundational identity of who you truly are, what you believe and what goes against and for your value system, it will be hard to lead others. It will even be hard to lead yourself out of situations.
This was the sole reason why some individuals no matter how much effort they put in to accomplishing desires and goals, they never seem to achieve the results. It's not flaws on their work ethic not flaws on their intent, but rather holes in their value system.
Yet other individuals seem to effortlessly reach heights of performance and achievement with what seems like little effort. This is because they have mastered their value system. It's by design. The work ethic without the value system leads to achievement without fulfillment. Then the dreamer without the value system lacks the commitment to the work ethic. When you have a value system, your entire mitochondrial DNA is vibrating at a resonant frequency to match your identity. The question reinforce that identity through the action that you take which then strengthens the existence of the identity. It becomes a cyclical continuous improvement cycle that eventually gets etched in to your subconscious. You don't have to remember who you are. You just are!!!!!!
First off, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to reading this entire "book". I hope you found some nuggets that you can apply to your own life. It was quite an eye opener to me and has greatly contributed to shaping the person I am now.
You don't need to force anything. You just need to remember. Remember who you are and what you are here. It doesn't matter what you do. As long as you do it with joy and commitment. You're already a superstar. Things will happen in life that will force you to question "Why you?"
Remember, nothing happens to you, everything happens through you. Be grateful and help and share your gifts. Don't worry about being taken advantage off. This world has a bizarre way of keeping the score. You have a lot of important work to do. We need you to step UP!
I love you and would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Regards, Lee Kariuki.
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I optimize online processes for digital business owners to convert better happier customers through story and funnels. When I'm not at my desk, you'll catch me reading a book on either psychology or philosophy. I'm also not a Michelin star chef, however I enjoy concocting a delicious meal from time and time for friends and family. Love to travel and fluently communicate in 3 languages English, Swahili and Kikuyu. Drop me line eh, email@example.com, would love to hear from you!!!