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

Sometimes an identity change makes an almost immediate difference in someone’s behavior. Sometimes it doesn’t. What’s the difference?

My nephew, Andy, graduated from college last Saturday. One minute he was a college student. The next, he was a graduate.

Identity controls behavior. Now he won’t be studying to take tests unless and until he begins graduate school. He will be going to work. He’ll need new skills and behaviors.

Identity is our second core need. It’s surrounded, or sandwiched, by security and belonging. They’ll both greatly influence it. When they’re strong and healthy, identity will more likely be.

Andy was enthusiastically telling me what he will be doing in his new job. He then said, “But the guy who will be my supervisor said he wouldn’t let me travel alone to a customer until I was ready.” I was so glad to hear that!

I could tell Andy was relieved, too. His supervisor’s statement increased both his security and his belonging. In it, he recognized he would be trained for success (security) and supported by his boss (belonging).

His belonging and security are also being enhanced because ten of his classmates took jobs with the same company. It will be easier for Andy – each graduate, actually – to develop their new identities as successful and fulfilled employees of Cummins, Inc. because of this. I’m glad for Andy.

Do you have a new college graduate in your life needing to more fully embrace a new identity? Or is it someone else, even you, who needs to do the same? For example, to be more focused? Creative? Gentle? Optimistic? Motivated for the job hunt? Helpful during the summer? A successful time manager? A team player? Shore up their (your) security and belonging and the identity shift will more likely take root.

I expect Andy will be successful and you can be, too. I’d love to know.