Tiffany: I am Tiffany Sauder, and this is Scared Confident.
I'm excited to have Brian Kavicky on with me. He has been a long time coach partner, just like strategic resource for us at element three and a lot of different things that I've worked on. And there's these little. Lessons I've learned along the way that I find myself parroting and repeating. And we're going to talk about one of those today.
And so let's get into it. What is IR theory?
BrianK: So I, our theory is the short version of identity, role theory and identity role theory is about confusion between who I am and what I do. It's having the ability to not separate those two as two different things. So you go to a party or a networking event or something, you meet a bunch of people.
What's the first question they ask you, what do you do? They don't ask you, who are you? And we have this cultural phenomenon where people and what they do and how they're doing and what they do defines who they are as a person versus who's the person. And what's the
Tiffany: role. I find. When people are at a place where they're really confused, oftentimes their IRR theory is like all tied in a knot. And when you're able to separate out those two things, it helps them think.
More clearly about themselves, their situation, et cetera. And I do, does it happen? Is I our theory, so like for people listening, it's like the letter, I, and then like a dash and then an R and then, then we're just hearing.
BrianK: So the way it's diagrammed is you draw a T like a big T and on the top of the left side, it's an eye on the top of the right.
It's an R and on the left side, you rate yourself. As a person. So on a scale of zero to 10, where would you rate yourself today? Based on everything. And people say 6, 7, 4, 5, 10. Um, and then on the right, you write all the roles that you're in, you know, mother, father, money manager of the house driver, the car worker, all those things and rate yourself in each one of those.
And the phenomenon is that regardless of what you rated yourself on the left side, under identity, your. And when you look at how you rate yourself in the roles, you feel like how you're performing in the roles is degrading, how you can rate yourself, but you can't improve that. Because if, if I think I'm a five in overall life and I'm a four.
And business the best I can be as a five. I can never get to a 10. If my self-concept is, I'm only going to be a five. So you, you work on the wrong things. You work on, how do I get better at my job? How do I get better in my role? But you don't fix the here's how I view myself. And this is who I am. And you miss out on a ton of potential.
Tiffany: Acutely in sales and then we'll take it over
BrianK: to life. Well, in sales, you have the dynamic of, uh, it's a very difficult job with, uh, where you're having it's, it's a hard position to be in because you're one of the few jobs where you're compensating. Very heavily on performance when you don't perform at costs, you emotionally, financially, when you do perform it, it works in your favor.
You have rejection, you have issues where people, things out of your control, don't you, you lose business out of it. So people tend to take that very personally is this is a me thing, or this is a, an issue with. Who I am, and I suck at this and I'm terrible and all those things, and then it starts to eat at them inside.
So you have to get salespeople and leaders. So realize who I am and what I do and how I do it are not the same thing.
Tiffany: So when I'm talking to like developing talent, like people who are younger or trying to figure out their new roles, I find, especially when they're in moments of stress or change, I, our theory gets especially twisted up.
BrianK: Yes. And it's mostly in. The stress is the trigger that causes the wrapped up because it, they start to view themselves differently based on what happened. And that's the problem is they see themselves differently instead of. Well, I'm a 10 I'll come. I'm having this issue. I got to fix this. They know I'm horrible.
I'm terrible. People hate me. And they go down that path instead of no. How do you fix the
Tiffany: problem? Even, I think the way our self-talk plays out. So like an example for me, that's really easy. Let's say I walk out on stage and I give a presentation and I kind of suck at it. I can get off and say, I suck today or I can get off and say, I was not a good speaker today.
Yes. Saying I was on a good speaker today as me being like, I did not nail my role saying I suck today is me like chipping away at my self-worth. Correct. And that nuance has over time has just a profound effect on the way that you observe yourself, present yourself. Like you're saying like the confidence by which you can step into.
That different opportunities that come because it's like, I'm just trying these things and I'm going to get better at them over time. But my self identity is holding steady versus your self identity, taking the ride with you as you're going in and out of different roles in the freedom to be able to try new things.
So is getting to a place where your identity is steady. Do you generally have the ability to have a higher appetite for risk because of that and the roles that you have. Is there a correlation
BrianK: there? I think there's a correlation because. You're starting from a place of a little bit of confidence. So if I think I'm a, an amazing 10, I'm going to approach things from a, an abundance mindset.
This is what can be accomplished and you, you quickly acknowledge, but this is what I have to do to fulfill that instead of going, yeah, I'm terrible. And I can't do stuff while, cause I'm not a good person. You're never going to start even exploring that abundant.
Tiffany: So to me, there's a story. I think that you tell about the, like your belly button or something.
Am I making this up?
BrianK: Oh, that's real. It's called keep your belly button covered. If I say you're a 10. Except it, a lot of people are uncomfortable with that because they're not viewing themselves as a 10. So the first step is to go, I am a tenant. I really am you when you were born, you came out, you were a 10 and the only reason you would lower that is because you've had life happen that says, well, I can't be a 10.
I'm not supposed to be. And all those things like keep the belly button covered rule, is that. In your roles. You're not always going to feel like that 10 you're approaching it as a 10, but you don't feel that way. You feel insecurities, you feel scared, you feel nervous about it. Well, exposing that and, and using those things to advance that conversation or that situation.
People don't lie. It's like when, if somebody came up to and they said, well, I really suck at my job, so I really need your help. Cause I hate it. And I'm terrible. There's a part of you that goes, stop talking like that. You're you're not terrible. You just need help with your job. Expose your belly button with how you actually were thinking, instead of just going, I need help with my work.
I'm struggling right now. Not the self-worth saying
Tiffany: I started realizing that I had an unhealthy IIR when my success in my role came, I felt very, very confident in my identity. Like that was very tight and so on the way up, it feels really, really good. When you start to hit a place where you realize that, that the success level you're at is not sustainable, or you hit a wall in some way, and those role accomplishments are taken away.
And for me, I started to see like, oh, there's a real big cliff on the other side of this. And if I don't figure out how to like, clip. These ties between the fact that I feel great about myself, because I'm a very performance oriented and the way that I'm like engaging in my roles, I'm not gonna, this isn't gonna be sustainable.
I've I've got to disconnect those two pieces. And so beginning to kind of look back inside of like steadying myself about what does a good day look like? And was it getting all my, to do's done. Was it selling a certain number of dollars? Was it getting this many compliments? Was it somebody noticing my outfit?
Like whatever the things were, those were all external coins that were going into my piggy bank where I was like, oh good. Like she's powered up today. And if I didn't get coins, it was like, I wasn't powered up. And. Beginning to realize, like I have to see myself from the inside and what happens externally is totally irrelevant.
It's important from like a feedback and learning perspective, but it's not, I'm not going to let it touch. Like who I am. You
BrianK: can really see that in, if you look at really successful people. So I used to use the example of Bret far from the Packers. You know, he, he retired and then the news came out. He was weird with the misuse and all this stuff happened.
So what's he do. He comes back, starts playing football again. He couldn't separate Brett Farve, the man from Brett far of the football star. Cause he was taking those coins and all the time you look at Tom Brady recently, same exact problem. You know, I'm the superstar, I'm the greatest ever. I'm retiring.
And what's he say, because I want to be a dad and I need to do it for my wife. Oh, look, I'm coming out of retirement. And that's what happens is you get addicted to that tug because you haven't ever worked on your identity. And so you need those things to fill you up. Then you go to somebody like Tony Dunn.
And Tony Dungy, you know, he gets fired from his job then goes to the Colts and wins the super bowl. And in his next season, his son committed suicide and Tony Dungy is just level and same person. And that's what allows him to go into broadcasting. I'm just Tony Dungy at a different place. Versus I need these coins to fill me up.
Tiffany: has your personal. Like a journey, Ben, with IRA theory, is it natural for you?
BrianK: No, no, no. I think it's uncomfortable as say. I am a 10, regardless of what happens. I think it is easy to get wrapped up and confused with that. But knowing what it is, allows you to go back to it and go, no, I'm not going to feel this way.
I'm not going to look from that perspective. I'm not going to focus on the wrong thing. Why am I thinking. Less self-worth and what do I have to do to get my head right about that versus wallowing in it or taking that ride down. So I've had those struggles when you get the blows and you get the self-doubt and you get the feedback you weren't looking for.
Yes, it's a hit, you start to question everything and then you have the little reset that says, no, this isn't how it's supposed to be. This isn't who I am. This isn't correct. And you get out of it quicker.
Tiffany: When we think about defining our identity is that actually. Like kind of braided with core values in some way.
BrianK: Yeah. Core values who you are as a character and what your purpose is.
Tiffany: Those are the ingredients to like, this is my identity. Yes. If you're working with a client in your, like your, I R theory is like a rack right now, what are the practical steps that somebody takes to begin bringing this into consciousness and like, Changing their relationship with IRA theory.
BrianK: The first thing is to have to realize what's causing the problem. So if I said, rate yourself on a scale of zero to 10 and they say a seven, the question you ask is, is not, why are you not a 10? It's why didn't you give yourself an eight? And the answer to that question helps them realize. This is what I'm dealing with.
And this is what's causing me to get there. Cause that, that answer's the same as what? Why aren't you a 10 it's one notch up, but that's easier to conceptualize. And once they see that, then what in your roles are you allowing to push you down that direction? And why are you allowing that? And how can that be fixed versus this is why.
But it's, it's knowing that that doesn't affect me as a human being. What
Tiffany: are the things that you hear when somebody says, like the difference between what it takes to be an eight from a seven?
BrianK: Um, because of my past and the things that have I've gone through and what's happened to me because. I'm not supposed to be better than that.
So it's a record in their head that says I don't deserve to be more. I have to stay in my place or you shouldn't have that. They correlate good things with bad things, because I thought. This was how things were playing out. And I found out I was surprised and it didn't work out. It's when they've been shocked in some way, like divorce or, uh, an issue in their life cancer though.
That'll lower them because of the surprise. And the biggest one. And the most often is that they've listened to people for too long. Tell them who they were or what they were supposed to be. We have a culture that informs you of who you're supposed to be, how you're supposed to think, how you're supposed to act, how you're supposed to show up.
And people are susceptible to questioning who they are because of that all the time. And at some point, people just cave and say, this is what I'm supposed to be.
Tiffany: I think there's something culturally to where we are uncomfortable saying out loud that we're a 10. It's like, yeah, you're too audacious or you're not humble enough.
Or, you know, by Midwestern standards, we're supposed to be curious of other people and the self perception that you're a 10, I think has culturally uncomfortable.
BrianK: It's actually easy for somebody to get around though. So the question of convince me why you're not attacking. You have to really wrap your head.
And when you start thinking through those reasons why you're not, those are really dumb reasons that have nothing to do with it. But yeah, if somebody says I'm uncomfortable getting gifts, I'm uncomfortable getting praise. I'm uncomfortable with this. They're uncomfortable because it has so much meaning.
So somebody that's uncomfortable getting praise, likes words of affirmation. And when they get them, it hits them hard with meaning. So it's not that they're really uncomfortable it's that it has meaning. So when somebody gets a feedback that hits their identity, it's somebody that's usually focusing at the time on who they are as a person.
And it hits harder because of that.
Tiffany: One of the things I did mentally in these strings between my role performance and my identity is kind of mentally burying everything.
If element three totally went away. Could I be okay? And there would be, there was a long period of time where the real answer was. No, I wouldn't be okay. I wouldn't know how to introduce myself. I wouldn't know how to talk about who I am. I wouldn't know what to do with my time. I don't know who I would go talk to.
I don't know. I don't know. I don't know who would know me without that tribe of people and there's other like, roles like that. That was the most acute one. Like I had to get to a place where it's like, it could go away and I am fine. And I would kind of mentally go through the exercise of like it crashing or it knee or suddenly realizing it's gotten to a place where.
I am not what it needs anymore. And so I have to like hand all that over it's somebody else in the front of the room, it's somebody else being the hero in the client meeting, it's somebody like it's somebody else in all of those roles where I knew my whole being would light up and I would be like, whoa, I am great.
And part of it was bearing them in my head. Part of it was putting people in each of those places and letting them go perform and me kind of sitting in the green room, so to speak. And I think also figure out I wasn't spending time to make myself more well-rounded and so realizing I needed to invest in different relationships in different places.
So that those roles I was playing were such an acute part of my time in relationships that I needed to find other places and people who were loved me because it was. And not because of the role I was playing.
BrianK: So when you're really good at that, you can glide from one situation to the next effortlessly.
Like you can just like go, you go down that path of I'm going to go to the. The next thing, or I'm going to explore getting better at this, or I'm going to meet a new group of people. If your identity solid, you just move into that effortlessly. And so if you know that, that's what it's supposed to look like.
When you're, when you're going through that, and you're realizing that it's taking efforts, it's something to note and pay attention to is why do I feel like I can't be me here? What is the stimulus I'm getting that says I have to be different or I have to compromise in some way and pay attention to that because that's, that's where it's hidden.
Another one is. Understanding why it's difficult for you in your own head to give yourself that 10 and be okay with it because that goes. Something called the devil's tongue where you basically tell yourself, well, I don't deserve to be, I can't be, I shouldn't be that. It's not real, but taking the time to process, like, why am I not okay with that?
Where's that coming from? And why am I accepted? Why can't I accept that? Because in general, people are pretty happy with themselves and think, you know, Inwardly. I'm good with who I am. It's only when they're put on the spot of, are you a 10 that they tend to go? Well, I don't know, but that's not. That's notable is what caused that shift.
Tiffany: You talked about. I think you used the word attention. I've found when my attention is on myself. My identity is low. And one of my, when my attention is naturally on the outside world, the environment, the people, my identity is higher. Like I'm compensating when I'm feeling insecure. And like, my identity is on quicksand.
I'm like, I'm super aware of myself. I'm super aware of like moving through a room or meeting new people, or what am I going to say? What am I going to wear? Where am I going to park? Like, everything just feels really acute when my identity. Is low. And when it's high, like you said, you moved through it more seamlessly.
It's like the outside world is the thing that gives me energy, but it kind of bounces off. Everything can go poorly and it's fine. It's like, oh, that was kind of around. Oh, well, like we'll find, we know we'll figure something else out.
BrianK: I get that. But if you're, if you're looking to your identity or you're looking to yourself and you're describing that as a low it's, usually by the self-talk and the self-talk always comes from the role.
So when you start talking to yourself, the question that you ask is what would I be doing if someone was talking to themselves, the way that I'm talking to myself right now, how would I intervene with that? Cause that's usually what you have to do to fix it. Like, what if my friend sat there and said what I'm saying, what would I do?
What would I think, how would I act? That's the fix to get yourself out of it. I mean, you said you had the same problem, is that on your highs, you didn't look at your identity, but you actually were looking at your identity because you were looking at your role as propelling the identity. So it's still always
Tiffany: is the IRR theory thing.
You have to figure out like that you have to have self-awareness about, or can you. Productively introduced to someone else like, Hey, I'm observing that your I, our theory kind of sucks and let's have a conversation about that.
BrianK: The label and the concept can be hard for people. The, the, the lesson I actually do is I'll pull out a $10 bill and I'll say, well, how much is this worth?
And they say $10 and then I crumble it up. I spit on it. I step on it. I tell it at Sox, I tell them it's horrible at their job. And I said, now what's this $10 worth. And they go $10. And I say, well, why are you beating yourself up or changing who you are when your worth hasn't changed? What what's allowing you to do that they can get that pretty quick without.
You know, the separation and stuff is, it's more of the outward. The quick of like somebody that says to me, you know, I'm having a tough time with this person. I don't like being around them. I just wish they were here. The question is, why are you allowing that person? Affect you that way, it's still identity role, but it's getting them to think w how come I'm opening up to that to say that you affect me in a way as a person, when really you just don't like the situation and you just need to not let that happen.
Tiffany: Is there a relationship between IRR theory and fear?
BrianK: I think there is because when you go to that place of. I'm maybe I'm wrong about myself. You know, I, I thought I was better than this or my core values and tact. Why did this happen to me? I think, I think that element of surprise causes that fear of what just happened.
Why did this happen? What did I do to cause it, and is it because of who I am as a person, not how I handled the situation. I think that's a natural shift for people.
Tiffany: I think there's a patience too, that comes with really, as you grow up and mature in kind of capturing into your identity bag, who you are, and like what belongs in there and the easiest kind of quick carbs to chase when it comes to.
Figuring out your identity is to take the signals. Your role is giving you to say like, oh, this must be who I am, because I'm successful in these roles. And then you get so globbed onto that, that you never really stop and patiently understand and assess and define who am I, if all of those things are stripped away, like who am I?
And to me, that was, that was a journey for me because the sparkle and the accolade. Of the role performance was a much more comfortable side to stay on.
BrianK: And I don't think many people have ever sat down and answer that question for themselves. Who am I? And if, if you do it quick in your head, you're going to start with roles.
I'm a mom, I'm a, this which has roles instead of who am I as a person that that is not something we're taught to do. That's not something we think about. We don't go to core values. It's just a hard question to answer,
Tiffany: feel listened to. And you're finding that. This idea of your identity and your role, like they're two twisted together, and that you're finding your days and weeks feel like a roller coaster ride because on the days you performed, you felt good about yourself and on the days that you didn't, you don't, that's maybe a great starting point is to sit with some quiet time and begin to really externalize for yourself.
What is my identity, your purpose, your values, and your character, that Venn diagram together. That's, that's your idea? And the rest of it is how those things perform and the choices you've made in your life.
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