Discover Your Internal Identity Drivers

In the previous post Discover and Design Your True Identity, I laid out the components of the Identity Framework and the progression towards fully owning and embodying your new identity in business and in life; the know, do, be progression. Now let’s dive deeper and look at each piece of the framework one by one, starting with your internal identity drivers: 

Internal Identity Drivers Diagram

    1. Mental Identity Drivers
    2. Emotional Identity Drivers
    3. Physical Identity Drivers

Understanding and ultimately influencing the composition of your internal identity drivers is all about becoming self aware and understanding the different factors and forces that comprise your character, whether you’ve been conscious of them recently or not. These drivers influence and impact who you are, how you appear to others, and how you’re perceived in a business and lifestyle context.

So let’s delve into how each of these drivers shapes your identity.It’s similar to when we talked about overcoming limiting beliefs—that beliefs are your operating system, whether or not you’re aware they’re running, they’re influencing your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Your Mental Identity Drivers

The mental is all about your logical reasoning abilities, your thought processes, how you approach different problems, how you think specifically about what you’re doing, what you want to become, where you want to go in business and with life from a very logical, rational mind-based perspective.

To get an idea of where you stand now in relation to your mental identity drivers, just simply complete a few sentences like:

  • The challenges I enjoy most are…
  • My approach to planning and problem solving is…
  • When I think about my life a year from now, the first thing I think is…

If you just complete those sentences, it starts to shed light on how you approach problems, how you approach life and business from that intellectual, logically-oriented perspective.

Here are a few examples of how I complete those sentences, which I expand on in the forthcoming US-version of Lifestyle Entrepreneur. From my own experience finishing these sentences, informs me that I embrace a culture of lifelong learning—that’s one of the mental aspects of my identity.  I’m always eager to gain new knowledge, tactics, strategies and so forth.

My approach to planning is to get an idea of the outcome I want, then reverse-engineer the sequence of events that need to take place to realize it. Then I plot that out and schedule them, and when problems arise, I think of solving them systematically so the same issue doesn’t come up over and over again.

When I think about my life a year from now, the first thing I think is that Lifestyle Entrepreneur has become a bestseller and that I’ve impacted and inspired thousands of people through the book, my training programs, writing and publishing.

Your Emotional Identity Drivers

The next internal identity driver is the emotional driver.  This is all about your intuition, your feelings.  It’s when you have a gut reaction about something. My definition of emotion is literally energy in motion, so when you get that feeling biologically, it’s actually different chemicals coursing through your brain and your blood that create the feelings that you have. And then how you react to them speaks to the emotional aspects of your character, your identity, and how your emotions impact your actions and decision making.

One or two questions or sentences that you can complete for yourself to shed light on how you show up from an emotional perspective in your identity are these:

  • When a new opportunity presents itself I immediately feel…
  • The activities that give me the greatest feeling of joy are…
  • The emotional environment I grew up in could be described as…

The way that you answer these questions, the way that they show up in your life starts to speak to the emotional experience that you have day to day.

One of my big emotional drivers is to feel the fear and do it anyway. If I’m starting a new business, a new relationship, going to a new place, I’ll have my own hesitations, fears, and doubts, but I’ve trained myself to feel those things and just “hold the sensation”, not to recoil or shy away from it. In truth, that feeling of hesitation is one of the indicators I look for when choosing the next thing to focus on. If it’s not a challenge, or causes growth by facing down fears, then it likely wouldn’t be that rewarding to accomplish it.

I look at it as a healthy nervousness.  I know I’m doing something right if I feel a little bit nervous or a little bit of butterflies in my stomach.  If everything feels like green lights all the way, then there’s not as much of a challenge, and I may not have a growth opportunity there.

As for the activities that give me the greatest feeling of joy, it varies from cycling and exercising to working on entrepreneurial projects I’m excited about, to international travel and being able to communicate in foreign languages. I’ve focused on institutionalizing the things that give me joy as part and parcel of my lifestyle and business pursuits. That way, even when things get tough or I end up working harder than I thought, I’m never far from the things that make me happy.

Emotional Internal Identity Drivers

So many emotions competing for your attention

Your Physical Identity Drivers

The Physical identity drivers are all about how you experience the physical world through your five senses.

For example, I’m a very auditory person.  Some people are visual learners. Some people thrive through the experience of human touch. If you get an idea of where you sit in relation to the senses that have the most resonance with you, and which ones you feel may be underutilized, then you start to shed more light on yourself and your current identity. You develop a game plan for where you can go with this once you’ve shed some light on your blind spots.

Another part of physical is how do you treat your body as an organism, as a support system for what you’re trying to accomplish?  That’s speaking to your health and fitness regiment. If you’re pushing the limits with your own body, exercising, breaking down muscles, having them rebuild stronger, it’s an analogy to how you challenge yourself mentally and emotionally as well.

Here are a few prompts that, when completed, can  shed some light on the physical aspects of your identity:

  • In order to stay healthy and in shape, every week I…
  • The traits I was born with that influence how I interact with the world are…
  • To be even more healthy and fit and have more energy, I could…

What do these sentences and questions bring up for you? Does it start to re-frame your experience in life and hint at the possibility of being more consciously involved with how you experience life through your physiology?

For me, right now I’m 4 weeks into the 12-Week Gethin Transformation and it’s totally rocking my world. It’s an intense program, but surprisingly the body adapts pretty quickly to a new status quo of physical exertion and now I actually have more energy after intense workouts. Crazy, but true.

As another example from my answer to the second sentence is that I’m really tall.  I’m 6’4” so I get sore more easily.  I can’t do a pull up, but I’m great at cycling.  Hence, there are different things that come along with the body that we were given in this life and they can heavily impact our experience in day-to-day life.

The whole point of taking inventory of your internal identity drivers is to get clarity on how you gravitate towards certain activities, interests, and experiences, and shedding light on why you may steer clear of others. This allows you to adjust and optimize your lifestyle, your business and how you show up and participate in both to be more in-line with your strengths and takes advantage of your best attributes.

How Your Internal Identity Drivers Work Together

If you change one aspect of your internal identity drivers, you affect them all. For example, if you go on a health regime and do a 12 week fitness transformation, that will have carryovers to the other aspects of your life. It will impact your mental acuity, as well as your emotional experience.

So these three drivers tie together in that changing one carries through to the others. Truly all the identity drivers are interrelated and fractal in the sense that changes, improvements or alterations in one area will impact your experience with relation to the others.

Becoming aware of them is a good baseline to decide what and how to take your lifestyle and business forward from here.

Hope you’re enjoying this 3-part blog series on Discovering and Designing Your True Identity in Business and Life – This is foundational material that helps you quickly build a business you love to fund the lifestyle you dream of. We go deep on these topics in my signature training program, Business In a Weekend and then cover a front-to-back strategy for getting your next business up and running. Click here for more information on Business In a Weekend

Business In a Weekend Banner

Click to learn more about Business In a Weekend

Stay tuned for the next post in this series on the External Identity Drivers.

You can catch the first post on how to Discover and Design Your True Identity here.

Take Action: Choose one of the internal identity drivers and complete the accompanying sentences in the comment thread, let’s talk about how these tendencies are supporting your growth, or holding you back.

To your success,

Jesse Krieger

Author of Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Creator of Business In a Weekend

About Jesse Krieger

Jesse Krieger is the founder and publisher for Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press. International best selling author of Lifestyle Entrepreneur and Host of Bestseller Summit Live. Connect on Facebook, Google+, and YouTube


  1. Hey Jesse,

    I like the article! My emotional drivers seem to pull in opposite directions. I am excited by oportunity and overjoyed to connect with new people as well as learn about other cultures…but the emotional environment I grew up in was negative a fair amount of the time. What do you make of that? Cheers!

    • Hey Chris – good to see you here, how you doing? As a starting point, simply identifying this “base case” gets you moving towards making positive, impactful change. It’s SO important to have your internal identity drivers aligned towards your goals and aspirations.

      Try to resolve or change one of the aspects that feels like you’re being pulled “in opposite directions” so that you release or relax one of the tensions, which will help you move quickly in the other direction.

      Being pulled in opposite directions is like pressing the gas and break at the same time, you may move forward but there is a lot of friction, and ultimately a lot of unnecessary energy expenditure taking place.

      Does that help?

  2. When you stop to think about it, it seems pretty obvious that your mental, emotional, and physical drivers all work together and affect each other, but I think many people don’t realize that is the case. They think that these drivers operate independently of one another. However, when your mental, emotional, and physical drivers are not operating in unison, then it can lead to internal conflict and turmoil. It is important to ask yourself the questions that Jesse suggests in each section just to gain clarity into your current state for each identity driver and to ensure that your identity drivers are aligned and your whole self is driving in unison toward your goals!

    • Hey Greg, good to hear from you and thanks! As one of my mentors likes to say “Common sense is rarely common practice” – Many truths in life can seem so obvious in hindsight, not to mention conceptually very simple, but it’s been my experience that we must go through a lot of learning experiences and trial and error to get the requisite knowledge to see this clearly.

      I’ve experienced being out of alignment in a few forms, often very subtle ways, like not having a lot of energy later in the day and losing focus on work stuff (Mental drivers). Then I’ll zoom-out and realize that I haven’t been exercising and giving my body the tools and support to give me focus.

      Now that I’m 26-days into a 12-week fitness transformation, my focus and work ethic has increased…even after 1.5-2 hours of heavy exercise each morning.

      How have you experienced going in and out of alignment?

      Cheers – Jesse

  3. This reminds me a lot of the HBR article “Corporate Athlete.” As a coach, I relate more with personal trainers than therapists because I see more of a connection between mind and body. In terms of “drivers” in ways they push off each other. For example, I workout in the morning to give me energy and focus, which in terms gets my endorphines going (making me feel good) and then I can produce more. I wouldn’t say one is always the base or foundation, but I will say they all influence each other heavily. The best case study is an elite athlete, they have to have all 3 areas in syne or else they’re in trouble.

    • Hey Scott – I appreciate you dropping knowledge on my blog posts! Yes, I’d agree that it isn’t so much as one is the “foundation” for the others, although in truth I think that our Belief Systems are the overarching influential factor in how Mental, Emotional and Physical characteristics play out.

      To your point, yes they impact and influence each other and I find that I’m always trying to optimize my day and activities to best support whichever one needs the most focus. So, if I’m in “work mode” for a few weeks, I’ll make sure to do heavy exercise in the morning (like you) to give me mental clarity and focus through the day.

      But on the other hand, in the holidays or vacation, I’ll let exercise and work take a back seat to being present and enjoying the company, sights and sounds; so the Emotional drivers are more forward.

      Cheers – Jesse

  4. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  5. It’s so true that the body can adapt to any new changes quite quickly. I went though an emotional intelligence training course in LA earlier this year, it totally redefined the way I approached the world, relationships, work and decisions.

    The traits I was born with that influence how I interact with the world are my positivity, laziness and love.

    I’ve always been an optimist. The best is yet to come, the world is awesome etc. However, this also goes hand in hand with a laziness that I’m combating where I think that everything will work out, without me doing much about it. Not very supportive of me hitting my goals.

    Love is the answer, as cliche as that sounds. I wrote a blog post about this a little while ago, about how when I feel love, then I can overcome my laziness and give more. I just put myself out there and allow my heart to show. I am currently working on making that my base state, loving and passionate. Thanks for the post Jesse! It got me thinking.

  6. Thank you for the breakdown on this one Jesse! It seems mental/emotional/physical are all super connected. I know in my own case, it’s answering the emotional questions that get me motivated to knock out the other two. I’ve often asked myself, “I’m happiest when…” and almost always it’s something physical or mental (which is what makes travel great!).

    I love your definition of ‘energy in motion’. It’s perfect. Thanks again!

    • Sure thing Sean – The way I see it, these three pieces need to be activated through the work we do and lifestyle we pursue. Not necessarily at the same time however, but for example, I start my day with a big workout and healthy food (Physical) then I dive into my most high-leverage work (Mental) and later after the work is done either a date or dinner with friends satisfies the Emotional piece.

      And of course you can drill down on each of these components and get specific when generating business ideas

      All the best ~ Jesse

  7. He had heard something of these drivers but really had not delved much until now that I am conducting my research for the race.

    Thanks Jesse for the illustrations and greetings from Spain;)


  1. […] Check out the next post in this 3-part series on Discovering Your Internal Identity Drivers […]

  2. […] Learn what creates your identity from the inside out, by discovering how your 3 internal identity drivers operate – the mental, emotional and physical.  […]

  3. […] Part 2 – Discover Your Internal Identity Drivers we looked at the internally-oriented aspects of the Identity Framework, how your Mental, Emotional […]

Speak Your Mind


Read previous post:
Design and Discover Your True Identity
Discover and Design Your True Identity

When you want to make a transformational change—say you want to start a business or become a lifestyle entrepreneur and...