Identity Theft. Can Your Work Steal Your Identity?


Cross Coaching™ is poaching! Poaching ideas from your mind that you possess but don’t monitor and let slip when you speak. Cross Coaching™ trespasses beyond the boundaries of your mind and steals thoughts that its topics stimulate you to express.

Cross Coaching™ members are encouraged to listen intently, so that everyone develops their business and themselves, by developing others via my ‘teach what you know, learn what you don’t’ method. Members must listen for what the speaker doesn’t know he’s saying when he speaks.  This week’s topic about Identity put us on alert to do that. To help reveal elements of members’ identity and determine if it was really theirs or it had been stolen! Has their identity been poached or trespassed upon by the work they do – or has it been well surveyed, appraised and displayed  so that the work they do identifies with who they are?

I opened this event with an excerpt from Matthew B. Crawford’s book The World Outside Your Head. (A great read if you want to learn how marketers gain your attention and manipulate your identity). Here it is: Getting things right requires triangulating with other people. Psychologists therefore would do well to ask whether “metacognition”  (thinking critically about your own thinking) is at bottom a social phenomenon. It typically happens in conversation – not idle chatchat, but the kind that aims to get to the bottom of things. (Cross Coaching™ does this). I call this an “art” because it requires both tact and doggedness. And I call it a moral accomplishment because to be good at this kind of conversation you have to love the truth more than you love your own current understanding.

We are social animals. Social media has its purpose (this blog, for example) yet scientists know that specific  chemical reactions occur when we meet and engage in debate and stir the synapses. Cross Coaching™ is gaining traction because it not only provides space for the social conversation and background physiological interactions that happen but I stir and heat up that space and members minds, so that its worth driving across town for! And many members do indeed drive a long way to participate.

So, our topic was about Identity. Is it formed by the work you do or does it form the work you do?

Member discussion offered three angles.

1. Learn from and be true to the self, or identity, discovered at various ages and stages of life and let that guide the work you do.

2. Be diverted and distracted from your inner guiding beacon, or anchor, work at careers out of sync with your identity and hopefully return to, or discover your identity, later in life.

3. Not knowing is okay. There are times in everyone’s life – if they are wise enough to frequently check their identity, when it’s okay to not know. To not know which type of work you identify with.  To reflect, search and incubate on the identity your work has given you, or the work you want around the identity you have or want to form.

Now the discussion was about being drawn, at a young age, to something within that members aligned their work with  and the lessons learned from daring to align what they identified earlier or later in life.

Peg loved nature as a child but has only recently applied her love of gardening, herbs and nature to help others live the life their bodies want them to by becoming a Health Coach.

Nanette loved words as a kid; she got sidetracked into administrative work but is now in the publishing business.

Greg recalls being task-oriented as a kid. He has an impressive Army and Corporate background, but always remained fully conscious of identifying that love for task completion by interpreting it as a desire to “want to do it right”. An ideal that is now reflected in his Insurance business as he helps clients do the right thing.

Magda was drawn to art when young, allowed herself to be distracted, yet never forgot the word ‘artist’ etched in her mind. She now pursues a career in Art & Design.

Is it possible that our identity is often framed, when young, with one or two words? Does our mind – like Magda’s did with the word ‘artist’ – provide a sign to the road on which we should be truly traveling? Words, or signs, like: Speaker. Leader. Influencer. Traveler. Entrepreneur. Teacher. Trainer. Healer. Farmer. Builder. Writer. Entertainer. Researcher. Explorer.

Mark always knew he wanted to lead. Anna Maria knew she loved to teach.

And at what point, or age, do we dare to have that conversation with ourselves and our family or friends, to uncover and love the truth more than our current state of understanding, as Matthew B. Crawford writes, so that we can be clear about our identity and how to align our work with it?

Gabe shared that he’s at an age, or stage, where he picks what he wants to do and how he chooses to identify himself. Is this a consequence of what other members observed? Realizations, as one matures, that stem from what immaturity – or limited self-awareness of one’s identity striving to emerge, didn’t or wouldn’t dare to realize – but now does?

The core issue brought forth by members and heating up in Cross Coaching’s crucible of contributed conversation, appears to be about both being true to self and the identity raised from the depth of dipping into that internal well, or the consequences and lessons learned from returning to that identity eventually. Perhaps Gabe’s contribution to the conversation isn’t one? Is it merely another version of the latter? Does his freedom to select how he applies the various identities applicable to his various ventures, distract him from his core identity – that may still be striving to emerge, or is it simply more appropriate, these days, to be so cleverly flexible and aware of the identity that applies to the work currently at hand? Gabe’s statement appears to reveal that he is indeed choosing his work in accord with the identity it needs, rather than letting work forge that identity.

Trenton advocates creating your own world. He owns his own video business and helps others create a world, or identity, they can promote. He’s twenty-something old and at that young age seems clear about his intentions to form his identity into his work. Yet, we have all met mentors or wiser, more experienced, people we silently decided to mimic, partially, and form a part of our identity around. Can Trenton retain his identity, or be influenced by others he meets at work? Based on the conversations here from members, he only has a 50/50 chance of retaining his identity.

Our identity should be constantly changing. Trenton and in fact everyone of us – since getting things right does require the influence of other people and is at bottom a social phenomenon, are subject to the influence of others who form our identity. Since most of us work every day, those who we work with can sway us to form our identity. Perhaps one secret is to pay attention to that influence, so that it doesn’t lead you to work that leads you away from your identity, instead you stay anchored to your core identity and consciously re-construct it using only the pieces you need to re-form it, not permit it to be re-formed and then wake up decades later determined to honor that true identity of yours that strived to be a signpost for your journey when you were younger.

Perhaps this is the identity crisis? Not knowing, or taking the time to discover, at what level your identity is formed by your work or how your identity forms the work you do. The answer in today’s event seems to be yes and yes! Members are aware of both paths on their journey. The signpost heeded and the one not.

We must all fess up and love the truth more than our current state of understanding. Few of us check our ID enough!

Peter Gibson Creator of Cross Coaching™

Join us at our Cross Coaching™ events 2nd and 4th Wednesday at Egg Harbor Café, Medlock Bridge Rd, Johns Creek, GA from 11.30am – 1pm.

Go to and RSVP to the Johns Creek Business Connect Cross Coaching site.







Leave a Comment