“Do you know where the most potential in the world is stored?”
“No dad, where?” I could feel another lecture coming on, hopefully it was more inspiring than annoying.
“What??” He had my full attention.
“Yes, the graveyard. It is unfortunate that while each of us on earth has incredible potential within them, most never have the tools or take the action needed to unleash their gifts upon the world. Their potential is left untapped and goes to the grave with them.”
Dad had many insightful and awe inspiring ideas to share with me. I didn’t realize the incredible value of him living out his identity as a leader and coach until he unexpectedly passed away in 2014.
The world in which our parents and elders mapped out their lives, is unlike ours. The paths our parents and previous generations took had MUCH more linear trajectories. There were fewer options, and simpler potential paths as a result. The more personalized and flexible our globalized community has become, the more options and overwhelm set in. Today, it takes a very different approach to navigate and win. I simply didn’t have the tools to navigate the million options. It became virtually impossible to attempt to map out what I wanted.
Then my paradigm completely shifted.
My mind loves a map because it seems so crystal clear. There isn't any uncertainty with a map. We depend on maps and people give advice based on a map of where they have been and where they think you want to go. With the amount of options available to us today, and the constantly changing landscape of technology, society, and opportunity, every map I picked up became useless and hopelessly outdated 10% into my “trip”.
The problem was, all these life maps handed down from previous generations are outdated. I needed a method to point to my true north so that I could receive guidance moment to moment, to consistently build upon my natural talents so they can become strengths that can adapt to any career I feel drawn to and where exciting opportunities pop up. I didn’t need a map. What I needed was a compass.
Life changes so often these days that shifting to a balance of goal setting and using a compass to move towards my identities true north has been a huge gift.
We have such impatience about the intangible stuff that is critical to cultivating purpose and focus that is truly aligned with our identity at its deepest most meaningful levels. We want to execute, and we want the results. But the anchors, the reflection, and the slow process of asking the right questions is key. I had to be patient through the states of "not knowing" in order to arrive at the answers I needed for my compass to be made.
My mind desperately needed a way to create clarity out of this chaos. Then, a friend shared the bullet journal method with me in 2017. All of a sudden, I had one adaptive spot for my mind to process things in a tangible way that brought peace and clarity. Over the years, a few of my personal “anchor pages” were formed and refined, reminding me of who I am and my purpose no matter what happened in my life.
One of the critical pages was the Identity Compass. It has produced such profound results for me that every journal includes this page. I saw improvements in my career, business, relationships, everywhere. And I am humbled and excited to share it with you.
I’ve come to define identity as the components of your body, mind, emotion, and spirit, that make up the vehicle that takes you through your life. Understanding each component, and recognizing that none of it is permanent, gave me the freedom to put it together as it felt most right in this moment. With it, I could adapt with the world and keep showing up 100%, as my most authentic self.
It felt like a powerful way to cut out the noise of the millions of options and be able to focus on the signal, the few things that lined up with my natural talents, my core values, and my life’s mission.
Let’s help you start yours now. Keep it simple, do what you can, and allow room for experimentation. You will get there, just as I did, I promise.
Five sections break down into 3 fundamental categories. When you have harmony within your body, mind, and spirit, anything is possible.
You can pick sections that feel most aligned for you, although I highly recommend you at least ensure to address body mind and spirit in some fashion.
The body items help you find your body's specific rhythms and needs so you can be in sync, healthy, energetic, and live with vitality physically. This is a critical first step as we all have experienced that lacking physical energy or being in DIS-EASE throws every other priority or plan out the window. We NEED to start with a stronger foundation in the body in order to better support the mind, emotions, and spirit.
I found it helpful to start with fundamentals of health and found ancient systems like Ayurveda (India) or Acupuncture (Traditional Chinese Medicine) to have both a dynamic and a specific approach that helped me understand the specific makeup of my body. Lastly I add
The Five Flames program, which I’m developing through my company.
Is your body getting in the way of doing what you want to do? If so, how?
Physically speaking, What nourishes you? what depletes you
What does self care look like here?
What 2-3 foundational ideas or actions have you noticed helps you stay your healthiest and best self physically?
This is a complex topic that is critical in helping you build on the rest. The “Five Flames method” was my way of starting to address this so stay tuned for more guidance here if you feel stuck.
The mind has many components we can't get into here, but the important part for your identity compass is how YOUR mind is uniquely wired to communicate, make decisions, manage self care, think, and handle relationships. This HEAVILY dictates a secret driver of success or suffering in us all, the ways our mind compulsively moves towards suffering or consciously towards success.
Is your mind getting in the way of you doing what you want to do? If so, how?
Mentally speaking, what nourishes you? What depletes you?
What does self care look like for your mind and emotions?
What 2-3 foundational ideas or actions have you noticed help you stay your healthiest and best self mentally? emotionally?
How does your mind's wiring need to be worked with in order to make life easier? Do you need space to think more? space to take more action? space to connect with people?
Be careful of just getting stuck seeking assessment after assessment. There are tons out there and there is a danger of the assessments limiting you with labels instead of offering a powerful framework for your identity and purpose to flourish. Start where you feel excited and compelled to do so, but be sure to check in and ensure it’s being helpful and not limiting you.
And finally, we have the spirit. Simply put, I choose to operate under the belief that when we say "wow that resonates with me", it is our spirit communicating with us. This gives me a tangible way to depend upon my selection of mission and core values based on the strong signal of resonance in the body.
When exploring possible selections of a mission and core values, look for a feeling of a resounding yes. It is an experiential choice, not a methodically logical one, so get started experimenting and you will learn what the “resounding yes” means for you soon enough.
While your mission can take time to become clear, your core values can help guide you starting today.
A significant benefit of doing this is the immediate positive impact of increased willpower. Research shows that clear values can help increase willpower, which we all could greatly benefit from in the pursuit of making our purpose a reality.
What are your core values?
What is the purpose of your bullet journal? Of your life? Where do you enjoy spending time doing things important to you that you both enjoy, and find it impacts something bigger than you?
What does it look like to live your core values in a way that brings you the most fulfillment?
What has happened that felt completely the opposite to your values?
What 2-3 foundational ideas or actions have you noticed bring you the most joy/fulfillment/meaning
Here is a brief breakdown of each category.
Over the years, it became a ritual that I use as part of transitioning to my new journal, as a reminder to stay grounded in my identity and take bold actions that align with my “true north”.
It became a tool that helped me with the very difficult action of saying “No” more often when it was needed.
To have clarity around what was truly important, I could more quickly see where I was excited to say “YES” and where I needed to politely decline so I could stay focused on my top priorities and stick to my most meaningful path forward.
Over the years my Identity Compass became more advanced and I wanted to add a little flair to it because of how much it meant to me. Feel free to get creative later on. But to start, it's not about being perfect, it's about getting it clear.
[Latest version of it all coming together, my 2020 version]
In honor of the bullet journal spirit, what if you wanted to take this spread idea as inspiration but make it completely your own? After years of playing with this concept, I believe the important components are:
These tools represent so much stability for me now that I have felt I could go out and take more risks in the name of my dreams and it would be okay.
Like my dad, we can live out our identities in the best ways and inspire many others to unleash their potential. And together, each bringing our strengths and the best of us forth, we can serve our community and the world.
This journey is continuously evolving and growing so I am planning to provide further support to share this method in more detail and help you create your identity compass. If you would like to be a part of that and get further resources, stay tuned at BuJo U and connect with me on LinkedIn and on IG @key.on.harmony
Instead of falling down a path of least resistance, forge up your path of greatest resonance!
Kian Mokhbery has been a bullet journalist since 2017, grew up in San Diego, and got a B.S. in International Studies at UCI and graduated in 2012 . His family comprises of business owners as well as wellness and leadership coaches so most of his life he has been around demanding individuals who also had to find ways to strike a balance between the demanding needs of a business and their own well being. Seeing burnout affect CEOs and friends around them, the interest in Kian and his family to set a strong foundation became urgent early on and this influenced his entire career. He has over a decades experience in coaching for wellness, leadership, productivity, and business and currently runs Key On Harmony.
His fathers passing in 2014 tested the lessons he had been taught and he rose to the challenge, working full time while helping his mother run her business and handling grief with grace while supporting his two younger brothers. The last 5 years he has seen the huge benefit of learning how to balance ambition, helping others, and self care, and seeks every opportunity to teach people who want to help make the world a better place.