Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.

On Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m., I was on the phone with a great friend discussing an idea for a new book. It was a stimulating discussion.

By 7:00 p.m., my throat was sore. By 9:00 p.m., congestion had set in and I was feeling rather miserable. It came out of nowhere. Fine one minute. Sick the next. A quick identity change!

As I explained on last week’s Kathyism video, identity controls behavior. I became sick (identity) and, therefore, changed my behavior.

  • I took over-the-counter medicine.
  • I went to sleep earlier than normal and slept later, too.
  • I worked at home so I could rest when I needed to.
  • I drank Hawaiian Punch, the comfort drink from my childhood because my mom served it to Dave and I only when we were ill.

Because I was in between trips last week and had much to accomplish, I needed to define myself as “a little under the weather” rather than “very sick.” A “very sick” person wouldn’t have gone to work on Thursday or spent time helping her assistant, but I wanted and needed to do both. Therefore, I thought regularly that “I could be worse.” That identity kept me at work past 5:00 p.m.

I also made another strategic decision. When my assistant, Linda, and I were in Nashville the week before I became ill, she developed a sore throat and other symptoms. So, when I texted Linda that I was ill, she texted me back, “Probably came from me.” I texted back, “I know many who have similar symptoms.” Why should I give her the identity of “I made Kathy sick”? It wouldn’t do me any good and it would have given her a damaging identity she didn’t need, even if it might have been true. (Think about it. We often give people their identities. It’s not always helpful.)

On Friday, I woke up and looked ahead. I felt worse so I went to see my doctor. I knew my identity needed to quickly return to “I am well.” I’m scheduled to speak tomorrow and Wednesday nights in Midland, TX, and all day Friday and Saturday and Sunday morning in Sioux Falls. I need to be better!

Being aware of a current identity can help us understand our behavior. To change the behaviors, our identity also needs to change.

Being aware of our future goals can help us choose to change our identity. This will influence our behaviors and we’ll more likely reach our goals.

How does this apply to you today?