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  • Writer's pictureDieting From The Inside Out

The 6 Stages of Changing Your Identity ft. Nick Ross | DFIO Ep.246

About Today’s Episode:

Today we welcome back my friend, Nick Ross, to the show. Nick is a killer when it comes to the mindset, headspace, and the idea of remaking yourself.

Nick was recently on the show and it was one of my most talked-about episodes to date. I love that you guys are into the deeper aspects of dieting and transformation because we get to talk about more than just calories and workouts—which is important—but outer work (nutrition, training) without inner work (identity, inner child, relationship with food), doesn't work.

Today we get into a lot about identity—which is one of the biggest things we work on with clients.

Your identity is one of the biggest factors involved in self-sabotage. If you struggle with being on/off diets—you start off strong, but something always happens—and you wind up back where you started, there is probably an issue with identity, because your identity will not go down without a fight.

So, one of the things I focus on is—instead of trying again, trying harder, and hoping it works out this time—why don’t we change our identity to be in line with our goals?

Nick has been working on a piece of content that he calls the 'Six Stages of Changing Your Identity'—how to go about changing your identity and shifting it from a tactical and tangible place.

I'm really excited about this episode because one of my biggest pet peeves with this mindset game is that oftentimes the advice you hear is not tactical and tangible, but Nick has a lot of great, practical advice in today's episode, so let's get into it!


Transcript (click to expand)

Episode Synopsis:

About Nick Ross:

Nick worked in the music industry for a long time—throughout his 20s—moving all over the United States. During this time, he was living a rock-and-roll-type lifestyle—he drank all the time, smoked cigarettes (starting at the age of 16), and while he loved the music industry, it was high-stress, and took a toll on his body.

Nick was moving about every 18 months for work and, though he didn’t realize it at the time, all the stress—and some of the other negative things that happened in his life—turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Seven years ago, at the age of 32, what really transformed Nick into the person he is today was being diagnosed with stage 2 cancer.

Nick was subsequently treated with the heaviest amount of chemo a person of his age and health could go through.

That process pushed him through limits and false beliefs that he had always put on himself.

Nick had been coping with his past and his stress with drugs, partying, eating whatever he wanted to, etc.

When he woke up at the age of 32, found a tumor, called a doctor, and less than 24 hours later was told he had cancer and had surgery Monday, he began to seriously reflect on his life.

At this point, he was working as the general manager of a brick-and-mortar retail store and most of his accomplishments were well in the past.

While he was going through chemo, Nick found himself having deep philosophical thoughts—reflecting on why he had so much fear, why he didn’t take certain opportunities—he had a fear of judgment and not being worthy.

As he has gotten older—and done the trauma work—he has learned that all of these things are manifestations of past trauma. They could be things that you don’t even remember but are still unhealed trauma.

Nick says it’s like walking around with a broken leg and not realizing that it’s broken.

Why Identity Work is Important:

Nick is a sales coach and he often finds that people on his coaching calls have a misalignment of identity and a misalignment of thoughts, words, and actions.

This misalignment creates a multiplicity of self and personality (not like dissociative identity disorder, commonly called multiple personality disorder).

You have competing interests—multiple voices—in your head that are contending for space, putting you in a place where you have to serve multiple masters.

Nick breaks here to take a moment to emphasize that there is nothing separating you from him.

Nick was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He came from a poor family, in a poor town—a life that most don’t make it out of.

He emphasizes that you are enough and you are capable, but the problem is: the reason you struggle is because you are supporting an identity that is not in line with your true outcomes.

Your identity doesn’t want to die and it will defend itself—making you not know who you are or what you want.

For example, Nick used to be a binge-eating, alcoholic, party animal—an identity that he supported for so long—with internal and external false beliefs to keep that identity alive.

Once he recovered from chemotherapy he wanted to take care of his body, so he started learning about nutrition. Once he got his body healthy—and he was proud of what he saw in the mirror—the chemistry in his brain started changing and he began to see life differently.

Nick added cardio. While doing cardio he would listen to podcasts, which is how he started learning about self-development.

This eventually led him to develop his 'six steps of changing your identity'.

He has taken bits and pieces of what he learned from others and what has worked for him.

He emphasizes that there is no proven science behind these steps, but it’s a plan that can be executed and works.

Step One: Have Faith

You have to shed the old identity and let it die.

The first step to changing your life—and changing your outcomes—is having faith.

You have to have faith that you can do it. If you do not have faith in yourself, none of the other steps will work.

Nick references Bob Proctor, who explained that human beings live simultaneously on three planes of understanding—that we are spiritual creatures, with intellectual minds, that live in a physical reality.

Most people only pay attention to the exterior. They neglect the intellectual mind—acquiring knowledge and getting smarter—and neglect the spiritual side of who they are.

You are not just a physical thing, but also a mind and spirit that needs to be nourished just as the body does.

Most people are spiritually broken and don’t even realize it.

Nick explains that one becomes spiritually broken through conditioning for failure. This is common in the restrictive diet world where people will try various, unrealistic things that won’t work over and over again.

Step Two: Let The Dead Wood Burn

You have to have a conversation with yourself. This is step two.

Nick calls this ‘letting the dead wood burn.’

Have a real, honest conversation with yourself about what you are no longer willing to tolerate anymore and what you are capable of.

Realize that this identity is contributing to your unhappiness, your stress, and is leading you to hell on earth.

You have to allow the bits and pieces inside of you—the dead wood—that are not in line with your highest self—what God/the Universe designed you to be—to burn.

Nick says that the anxiety, depression, guilt, and shame you feel is because you are turning a blind eye to the truth. You’re willfully blind, meaning you know what you should—and need to—fix, but you haven't fixed it.

We have all felt this way. Why do we know what we should do but continue to set a bad example in our lives?

Nick again emphasizes that you need to have faith in yourself and then have a real, honest conversation with yourself about what you’re capable of.

Jared came to this same realization—that the old self must die.

He was struggling with stepping into what he knew he had to be when he realized that death hurts and he needed to let it hurt so his new self could live.

Step Three: Vision Drives Decision

Nick says that the new identity has to get a vision of who it (you) wants to be. It has to be reinforced by winning and reward.

Step three is getting a vision of who you want to be. As Nick puts it: vision drives decisions.

If you do not have the results you want in your life, it’s because you did not take the actions to get the right results.

What drives actions? Decisions.

If you are not getting the outcomes you want, not taking the right actions, and not making the right decisions, it’s because you don’t have the vision.

Vision drives the ability to make good decisions.

Nick recommends an exercise called ‘Mind Storming’.

Write down 20 things that you want to accomplish—you have to physically write them, pen to paper—then prioritize that list, identifying the top 5 things you want to do in the next year, three years, whatever timeframe you prefer.

The other 15 things, you forget about them.

In order for you to not get distracted, you have to forget about the other 15 goals.

When you do accomplish one of your top five, you can add one of the other 15 back in.

Doing this gives you clarity.

Nick puts it as, “If you can’t see the aim, then you can’t hit the target.”

He says the three most fundamental questions that human beings want answered at all times are:

  1. Where are we?

  2. Where have we been?

  3. Where are we going?

Nick believes it is essential to have these three things figured out.

Jared has often had the experience of having a potential client apply for coaching, and upon asking them these questions, they respond that they do not know. Jared and his team can provide a roadmap, but he cannot give you the destination.

Nick has observed that if you do not know what you want, then neither you yourself nor others will be able to satisfy you.

This goes back to the misalignment of identity. You may wake up every day and go to a job you hate, but it's the easier narrative instead of trying to aspire to your best self.

For many people, their loved ones are what drives them. Nick states that if you love them, you absolutely have to be the best version of yourself.

Step Four: Purpose

Nick always asks people, “What better do you have to do in your life than to be your best self?”

People almost never have an answer.

How do you become your best self? Get a vision of it.

Nick finds that many people fall short of becoming their best selves because they haven’t found their purpose.

Your purpose is not your goal. Your goal is a target that will involve a rewards system and reinforcement of your identity.

Your purpose involves figuring out what fills your tank and what will get you there. It comes back to your emotional drivers.

Nick uses the example of his mom being one of his main emotional drivers.

Going back to identifying your top 5 goals—next to each goal, write the name of the individual that is going to impact when you accomplish that goal.

He says you need to write their full first and last name.

On the hard days, those people—those emotional drivers—will help you get through.

As an example, Nick refers to a friend who is a sprinter.

When he was very young, his dad passed away from brain cancer.

Because of his job, he has to get up super early (3-4 am) to run sprints at the track. He has an old-school alarm clock that is not near his bed, so in the morning when the alarm goes off he has to physically get up and out of bed to turn it off.

On top of his alarm, he has his dad’s name written, so every day when he hits his alarm clock, he is reminded that he gets up early because his dad doesn’t have the opportunity to.

There are many schools of thought on self-development. In Nick’s opinion—an opinion that is shared by many psychologists—self-actualization is not the fastest way to self-develop.

Nick believes in a communitarian approach to self-development.

When you serve other people, the neurotransmitter serotonin is released. An even more powerful neurotransmitter than dopamine, serotonin feels more rewarding.

Levels of serotonin are also relative to one’s social status in life. People who are very low on dominance and confidence hierarchies of life are filled with depression and negative thoughts, making it difficult to move forward in life because they are chemically imbalanced.

A communitarian approach means finding out what you are willing to sacrifice in your life in service of other people.

Nick states that if you keep falling short of your goals, it’s because you are not doing things in the service of others—how can you take the skills and gifts that God and the universe gave you and use them to help other people?

Nick uses himself talking a lot as an example.

He now uses his gift of being able to talk to go on podcasts, give speeches, and help others through his speech.

Making motivation about something bigger than yourself provides you with a mission—and that’s when your identity changes.

Fitness coaches provide a framework to help you change your behaviors and your identity. The 12 steps from AA is also a good example of this. The 12 steps provides the alcoholic with a framework to change their identity.

Step 5: MAP (Massive Action Plan)

After speaking on purpose, Nick moves on to step five, M.A.P.

You have results, clarity, and purpose—now you need to create momentum, you need your massive action plan.

Your M.A.P. is the evidence criteria to know that you won the day. It involves five simple wins.

For Nick, when he first started, one of his wins was making his bed every day.

It could be doing 15 min of reading, going for a walk, or listening to a podcast.

These things help Nick get closer to his body-building goals, it makes him a better coach, a better boyfriend, a better father figure, and it helps him in the serving of others.

At the end of the day, people often wonder if they did enough—if they accomplished anything. When you have five simple wins, you can know that you won the day.

It doesn’t matter if you complete your five wins in the first few hours of the day, those wins compound.

Nick emphasizes that you have to do the hard things. The knowledge that you will die one day is not enough to make you change.

Everyone assumes they will die of old age, but there are no guarantees. By doing the hard work, going through Hell, and allowing the dead wood to burn, you can rise from the ashes

Nick asks what the greatest possible sacrifice you can make in your life for the greatest potential is—something that he says he is still struggling with.

Nick says he has realized highly successful people, who are highly successful in many areas of their lives, all make sacrifices.

The only thing separating you from the people you admire most is sacrifice—what they are willing to sacrifice versus what you aren’t willing to sacrifice.

Step Six: Choose to Win Today

In closing, Nick says that you have to choose to win today.

None of us can time travel to the past or the future—you have only ever lived today.

Nick believes that you can make a decision to go to sleep tonight and wake up a different person tomorrow.

You can make that decision right now, he says. It starts with having faith and it starts with having a real conversation in the mirror, figuring out what you want, and getting crystal clear of that result.

To figure out your emotional driver, you are going to have to have absolute certainty of your M.A.P. (massive action plan)—and you have to choose to do it today.

Balancing Results and Identity Change:

Nick states that results are always a lagging indicator.

Using business as an example: when a product or service is improved, it takes time for sales to increase.

It’s the same in personal development. You have to have faith.

Nick believes that he has never gotten what he wanted.

In doing the things he has done, he has always ended up with something better.

For example, when he went to get his pro card in bodybuilding, his dad showed up—something he never expected.

Nick has yet to win his pro card, but he was able to meet his father for the first time in his adult life.


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Post-Production by: David Margittai | In Post Media


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