In the midst of a tense time such as waiting for and receiving GCSE and A-level results, it can be quite easy to feel like your life will be defined by the outcome, desired or undesired.
Actually, however, they are exam results, albeit important ones but exam results are unlikely to define one’s life identity, if you will, no more than landing a certain job or making a sporting team can. Identity is one of those things that can shift shapes throughout life. It is all about being in the moment but not being swallowed up by it, if you will. One moment in time simply cannot define who you are, no matter how strongly you identify with an outcome or an experience.
For example, though I identified with being a journalist early on in life, I found myself desperate to leave my first newspaper job due to a moral conflict, if you will, and set my heart on landing a local PR position, even if it would take my career off track. Never mind it was available and could solve my problem instantly. I was on a fast track to being swallowed up by the moment.
But the moment didn’t embrace me, thankfully. To make a long story short, the job was given to a colleague who didn’t even need a new job at the time. I was devastated. And though I sort of stumbled out of the stupor into a job that would pave the way for me to move to New York, I had not made the connection between character and identity at the time.
As former Paralympic swimmer Elizabeth Wright, our guest for UIO: On Character Building puts it: “Character is an integral part of life. In a nutshell, character is who you are, it is those elements inside of you that are a part of you that develop and grow. They can be strengths for people. They can be parts of your personality, parts that you can pull on when times are tough.”
Upon reflection, of course, my desire to become a storyteller of some kind influenced my decision to move to New York. It is the land of opportunity after all but I could have stayed put in Georgia, which was the popular opinion, but it was part of my character, having a bit of fortitude, that drove the move. I took courage and belief that a stint in New York could help me to reclaim my loss, not only get back on track but also make some new ones.
Not to mention, the girl cell inside of me, which Sisterhood co-founders Rachita and Rebecca, guests of Your Identity Inside Out, describe as “your super power. “
The moral of the story is this: whether your results are the desired ones or not, focus on who you are, not what you happen to be doing right now, to become the best you possible. And follow your dreams and use your character strengths to identify the right moves for you.
For more hot tips and inspirational advice on being who you are, listen to Your Identity Inside Out and On Character Building, both available wherever you listen to podcasts and right here on our website.