#54 When Your Identity Shifts

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Music Courtesy of Irene Boggs http://affirmajams.com/

Hi! And welcome to the Dream Big & Bloom Podcast Episode #54

I’m Mardi Lynn, certified DreamBuilder Coach and author of Living Happy, Rich and Free After 60, the guidebook and scorecard for achieving your dreams and I help ladies create lives they absolutely love.   

The DreamBuilder Program that I teach is a proven, reliable system for overcoming any challenge and achieving any dream no matter how big it seems.

This podcast will introduce you to the powerful principles and practices of the DreamBuilder system and show you the mindsets that are growing or slowing your progress. 

I recently heard an amazing and inspiring story of a man who overcame extreme childhood trauma and has become a successful motivational speaker. 

His name is Anthony Trucks and he’s just published a book called Identity Shift: Upgrade How You Operate to Elevate Your Life.  It tells his amazing personal story and how he turned his life around to become the great success that he is today. 

I’ll put the link to his interview with Marie Forleo and his book on amazon in the blog post for this episode https://dreambigandbloom/54 

The Lessons

I was inspired to share this interview with you because Anthony’s story illustrates three important principles we use in the DreamBuilder Program. 

#1 Your history does not determine your destiny.

#2 Your personal transformation — who you become during the process of achieving your dreams, what he calls “your identity shift” is the greatest reward. 

#3 God (A Higher Power) supports us on our journey when we pay attention and are willing to change.

I think many people are confused as to whether they should visualize their new identity and then their behavior will change or whether they have to make all the changes in behavior in order to become the person they want to be. The reality is that it takes a combination of the two. This is what Anthony learned and implemented and how he created his success.

In DreamBuilding we visualize ourselves being the person we desire to be, and we take action steps every day — we live as if we are “that person” by doing what we can, with what we have from where we are.  And we have tools for managing the interference by our paradigms – our habitual ways of thinking and behaving, so that we can stay on track and accelerate our results. 

Our results provide proof, and the evidence of success builds our confidence and faith in the process. Life becomes more peaceful and more fulfilling and then, one day, you realize that you have experienced an internal, personal transformation — an “Identity Shift.”

Anthony made a decision. Remember the DreamBuilder program we call it “the power of decision.” He decided to start acting like the person he wanted to be, to make changes in his behavior and develop new habits. 

And finally, one day, it dawned on him that he had a new identity.  He had experienced an “identity shift.” He had become the person he had envisioned being. The new way of living had become effortless because it was now a part of who he was. 

And, much to his surprise, he had become a hero and inspiration to others.

He described it this way, “When you think, “What was it like to be the way I was, and you can’t put yourself back in that headspace?” You notice that you can’t go back to that headspace, it’s apparent you’ve made that shift.”

He didn’t accomplish all of this on his own. He had mentors (dare I say Angels from heaven?) along the way — people who cared about him and told him some things that were hard for him to hear; but he was tired of living the same old, same old, and wanted to earn the respect of his children, so he was willing to do the work. If you love inspiring stories about personal transformation you will love Anthonys book. 

In any case I hope what I share here will inspire you. And if you should have any excuses about why you can’t have a life you absolutely love, that you will give them up and get into action to make YOUR “Identity Shift.”

Anthony started his life by being abandoned by his mother and he lived in six foster homes in six years.

75% of prison inmates in America are former foster kids

Did you know that 75% of prison inmates in America are former foster kids?! When Anthony shared that statistic, it blew my mind!  I was aware that many prisoners were abused as children but 75% from the foster care system?  And only 1% of foster children graduate from college.

Someone very dear to me was orphaned when he was 12 and he lived in more than 30 foster homes by the time he was 18. He also experienced much trauma in his life and has overcome huge obstacles to become a successful Psychotherapist. He says that orphanages are far better for children than the foster homes.  

I remember Wayne Dyer shared that he lived in an orphanage for some years and how he preferred the independence if afforded him.

I wonder if Anthony’s book will motivate someone to fix this situation. Any of you listeners feeling the call?

Not only did Anthony live in six foster homes by the time he was six but he was often abused. As he explained:

I was given away by the person who was supposed to love me and care for me the most. I was put into these situations where I’m a paycheck, which means as long as I don’t die in this home, they get a paycheck for me. And there’s no social media, there’s no videos.

And as foster kids, we want to go home to our parents. So we’ll create these stories typically, to be able to think like, “Oh, if I’m not here, they’ll send me home.” They won’t. 

So they don’t know what’s truth or being made up by the kid. And so when I tell them like, “Hey, I’m being forced to chase chickens and to earn meals.” They think I’m lying, but I really had to do that to earn meals, and if I didn’t catch one, I didn’t eat. If I stole food in the middle of the night, I got beat.

There’s a house where I was put in shopping carts and pushed down hills, forced to lick the bottom of people’s shoes till my tongue bled. And that’s just heinous stuff that if you tell a social worker, they’re like, “That can’t be real.” But it was real. 

And so like that was my upbringing. I believe that feeling and experience and emotion that I had, all of us that have that experience have, and we desire to have retribution and we don’t want people in. So I think it creates a really bad recipe for individuals who end up doing criminal acts because, well, nobody cares about me, not even the person who’s supposed to love me, and I want the rest of the world to feel the pain I do, so I’m going to go do X, Y, and Z.

“A smooth sea makes not a skilled sailor.”

Anthony goes on to say:

“A smooth sea makes not a skilled sailor.” I think later on in life, I’ve come to this realization that I did not like what happened, but I have a great appreciation for it. 

I love that expression, “A smooth sea makes not a skilled sailor.” I hadn’t heard that one before. 

This is what DreamBuilders call shifting our perspective. There is always some good that comes out of every experience, but often we can’t appreciate it until much later.  As we look at our past and see those benefits, we learn to trust that there is good for us in the current circumstances that we may not prefer. We learn to focus on the positive and that keeps us moving forward with good energy.

Another part of Anthonys story that really made an impression on me was that when he was teased at school, (he was the only black kid in his school and the only black person in his adoptive family. He was adopted when he was 12) his mom told him to consider that the offending kid was just having bad stuff going on at home.  She never suggested that race had anything to do with it.  As Anthony said, “I didn’t frame it as that entire group of white people are all bad, it was the ability for me to see a human for a human. 

What a gift she gave to him!

And then Anthony shares another experience that helped turn his life around.  

He was 15 years old, he had tried football with no success and had quit, his adoptive mother had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the family was focused on that and Anthony was checking out.  He said he was probably headed down a path towards those statistics mentioned earlier.  And he overheard a conversation between two girls in class and one said to the other, “Well, the reason I’m so bad is because I’m in foster care.”  

“Well, the reason I’m so bad is because I’m in foster care.”  

When Anthony heard that, it really “unsettled him.”  When he went home he looked in a mirror and said to himself, “I don’t want to have that be the excuse 20 years from now as to why I’m a bad dad or a bad husband, or whatever it is.” 

And that was a catalyst to him waking up. An incentive, what he called a “repurposing of some experience” where he could say, “No, I don’t want that to be my path. I want to be great.”

He realized that it was such a gift for him to realize that when you verbalize your excuse for not taking the leap, not launching that business, not making the ask, not asking that person out — when you hear the excuse out loud, and you can see that it’s really an “ asinine, dumb excuse.” We don’t usually do that. And so he was so thankful she gave him that gift because it turned him into a whole different human. It drove him to do more.”  

I find it so interesting that he chose to see it that way. He might have chosen to agree with her and his life would have turned out very differently.

So, he had tried football and he had proof at that time that he was no good at the game. He had thought, “I’m going to try football, it’s going to be amazing.” And then he went to do it and he sucked at it. Which is always the case when we try something new.  And we don’t want to feel that way and so we stop. 

But when he heard that girl’s comment, and he was looking in the mirror, he thought, 

I want to be great.” I don’t know exactly what I want to be great at.” And he remembers looking himself in the pupils at 15 years old, and saying, “You’re going to be great.” It was what he described as an “anchoring decision.”

“You are going to be great!”

It was what he described as an “anchoring decision.”

And then, he thought, “What does a great football player do?” And that was the catalyst, the very first proactive identity shift he’d ever made. And so he “leaned in” and started doing the things that a great football player does. But it’s a difficult journey when you try to be something that you don’t feel like you are at the moment.

Belief, comes from proof. Right? What proof did he have to believe  — to create the confidence? 

Well, he started playing football, practicing running routines to be better next year. Teammates made fun of him, “You’re slow. Trucks, why you running, man? You can’t catch a football, butter fingers.” 

But he stayed the course, he kept doing the things, and he “leaned back in”. 

And here’s a really interesting point. I’d never thought of it this way before. He said it “felt out of character.” And we always think its bad to be “out of character.” We’re told not to act out of character. To be ourselves. But if you’re going to change, you have to act out of character. 

He used the example of someone who is a mean guy and all of a sudden he’s nice to his neighbors.  It’s out of character, but it’s good.”  

As we say in DreamBuilders, feeling uncomfortable is a good sign that you’re living on the green growing edge of your new becoming.”

Doing Things That Are Out of Character

And so Anthony was doing things that were out of character, but they were positive. And the more he did these things, the better he got and it satisfied the human desire to see a return on your investment.  AND the return was more than on the physical level, it was internal as well.  

The internal benefit was, “I am this guy now.” And as he says, “we all want to have that level of belief in ourselves but I achieved it because I did the work. He got the belief from the time he had spent — the investment, and his return was his confidence and belief. 

In DreamBuilder terms, he had a powerful longing and discontent. He made a decision.  He created a vision of being a great football player. He started acting as if by doing what a great football player does and he created the confidence and belief by the proof…the results of his work.  

Next, he got a college scholarship, to play at Oregon and then, as he says it, “I got a chance to “knock on the door of the greatest level in the world for his sport — the NFL. Its a really big door, and the knocker’s heavy. It’s not easy to get in. And I got in. And I remember I had some of those same feelings of like, “Do I belong here?” 

In DreamBuilder terms, that’s his old paradigm, his old habits of thinking, his old self-concept trying to drag him back to his comfort zone. 

At one point, he told all the coaches he was going to quit and go home. He had called his wife, his agent, and his college coach, to see if his scholarship was still there because he was quitting.

And they’re all saying, “What are you talking about? This is not Anthony.” 

He says, “but I felt so out of sorts, I was thinking, “I don’t want to do this.” Even in the NFL, having done well in college, I still had this lack of, ‘I belong here.’

And then he happened to have a serendipitous conversation with a guy who happened to wander across his path that sparked a whole new perspective. 

Anthony had lost a special necklace that was like a dog tag with a lasered sketch of his son on it, that he’d bought at a mall in Oregon where he went to college; and he was saying, “Man, I miss my wife, I miss my son.” It feels like there’s a pulling separation because I’ve always had this family in college, you know? 

And so they sat down to talk and the guy says, “Hey, tell me your story, man.” So Anthony tells him a lot of his story and the guy says, “You’ve gone through so much to get here. This is nothing compared to that.” 

And then he says, “So what are you going to tell your son in 20 years when he asks why you quit football?”  And Anthony said, “Ooh, “I don’t know.” 

And the guy says, “If you want your son to listen to anything you have to say at any point, you can’t go home.” “You have to lean in and realize you’re not leaning in just to get through it, but you could possibly make this team and do well.” Right?

So Anthony thought it over and decided, “All right, what have I got to lose? I’m not going to die. I’ve gone through a lot.” 

And then this crazy thing happened. After he went back to practice the next day, he walked into the locker room, and hanging on his locker was the dog tag with his son’s picture. The groundskeeper had found it and said “Hey who’s is this?” and somebody who had seen Anthony wearing it, had taken it from the Groundskeeper and had put it on Anthony’s locker. Anthony said, “if I had left, I never would have gotten it back. It was like God saying, “Good choice.”

It was like God saying, “Good choice.”

But his saga doesn’t end here.  As Anthony said, “NFL stands for ‘Not For Long.’ I had a rough few years. I got cut in the first season game for the Buccaneers, went home and did a bunch of workouts. Got picked up in week 13 by the Redskins, and then was there until the next year. Got cut at the very first season game too, which was horrible. And then I had an opportunity to go with the Steelers, and I go there and I’m finally making it. I’m second string behind starters, you know? Which tells you, you’re about to be playing this season. I was on special teams at least.

And the first pre-season game, I’m in there, second half I want to say, I can’t recall 100%, but I remember a play starts and I trip over a teammate and I go down and as I’m getting up, the guy who’s supposed to block me jumps on my back and tears my left shoulder. Now, I didn’t know at the time I was hurt because the adrenaline’s going, it’s a football game, everything hurts, you know? But the next morning, I couldn’t lift my arm. Go on to eventually, the season’s over, I have surgery and eventually, the career’s over. And it’s a heavy moment when it hits you that you can’t do that anymore.

So he had a “gaping hole” and he was trying to fill it. He said “Viktor Frankl calls it the existential vacuum, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. We try to fill the void and, unfortunately, most of us put the wrong things in there. We put demands on our partners in there, we put drugs in there, we put drinking in there, we take trips. All the stuff that distracts us. It’s a noisy life.” And Anthony didn’t like being alone because “he didn’t like who he was alone with.” And so he focused on a gym business. 

At this point, he had two more kids with his wife, so they now have three children. His wife’s at home with two brand new babies, twins, and a four-year-old.

As he describes it, “I’m at this gym trying to fill the hole with a gym business, “I’m going to be amazing at this thing. Right? And next thing I know I’m at this place where I’m not doing good in business because I have no business sense. I’ve just come out of the NFL, I don’t know anything. Right? I have a wife I’m not present with and neglecting, and she’s feeling that. And so she ends up, you know, stepping out on me. I have this situation where I’m not a good father because I’m at the gym all day long. I’m getting out of shape and I’m eating my stress away. And I have no anchoring to a sense of strength because the football thing is gone. I’ve been doing it for so long, that was me, and it’s gone.

So the way I explain it is, everything that made me ‘me,’ was no longer present. So you ask the question, “Well, if nothing is here, why am I here? If this is life after the game, I don’t want any part of this.” And so I quite literally got to a moment of, it just hit all of a sudden. I think you go through this foggy moment when you start having these things compile, and all of a sudden, the fog clears and you realize there’s a cliff right here. And I remember my buddy had said something, he’d say he noticed me in a fog and he goes, “Hey, this is your reality.”

“Please tell my kids who their father was.”

And those words, like it hit me. And one night, I put a text out to my friends and family that said, “Please tell my kids who their father was.” And I was off. And the goal was to go and find a store and drink rat poison, but it was like 10 o’clock at night, so thankfully, no stores were open. 

I ended up stopping an hour out of my town at a gas station and just sitting there. And I’m thankful that nothing was open, obviously, but I’m also thankful that the emotion was able to subside. The cops found me by GPS. And I can obviously talk, so I was like, “Oh, I’m fine.” I talked it off. “Well, I’ll head home.”

So I headed home. And that was, man, that was the first step of the climb out of the bottom. Because what most people don’t know is I drove up to the house with 30 people, friends and family standing there. So not only did I have like this dark feeling, but now I got this overwhelming shame of like, these people are out looking for me and it was just heavy. I just remember like it was a long weekend — a very long weekend. 

The Hard Part Turned Into A Beautiful Blessing

The hard part turned into a beautiful blessing because a seed got planted on Monday

Here’s how Anthony tells it in the interview:

“It was the day for the gym. I’ve got to go back to work. Right? And now, there’s no playbook for how you go back to life after you’ve told people that you don’t want to be in life. You know? So, I just go back to work. And I remember going back to work and one of my former high school teammates, a good buddy of mine still, worked for me at the gym. He takes me to the back office, he says, “Hey, I’ve got two things to tell you. One,” he says, “Don’t ever do it again in your life. I don’t know what you were thinking.” I was like, “Yeah man, I’m sorry, man. I apologize.”

He says, “Two, when I found out what was going on,” he said, “I threw up in the toilet.” I said, “Why would you throw up in a toilet?” He says, “Well, I thought I’d lost a hero.” 

And it was so heavy — this thing of like a hero. Because you don’t hear your friends tell you that. 

What are you talking about? 

He goes, “At the end of the day, in this community, we know what you have gone through, we know what you’ve accomplished and what you’re still doing, man.” He says, “You are probably accidentally an inspiration to more people than you know.”

“You are probably accidentally an inspiration

to more people than you know.”

And that was a seed. It was a seed that maybe something good can come out of all the crazy of my life. Now, it was not time for me to water that seed, because I shouldn’t be telling you how to live your life when I don’t want to live mine, but it was a good seed.

Unfortunately I went back into a fog of just letting it stay around for a lot of years, and it took three more years. Three more years and then actually the seed got watered. 

And so I was coaching kids and you know, adults that I was training. I’d get happier over the years, you know, and so I’d say stuff, but it wasn’t this thing where I wanted to go broader to the world with this story until April 15th, 2014, which is when I was sitting in a hospital room with my mom, my dad and my grandma, and my mom took her final breaths. And it’s very, very morbid because it’s final. Life is done. She passed at 47.

Seriously, so young. 

And I remember thinking, “I was 30 and it seems like it’s been so fast.” And so in my head I’m like, “Well, this woman was the reason why I’m not a statistic, and she loved on me.” And I remember I’d made two promises prior to her passing. Like an hour before, I had my private time, and I said, “Mom, I will fix my life because I know that you didn’t do what you did to let me be in this kind of fog of life.” I said, “Two, when I do, I’ll find a way to give it back to the world, genuinely.”

All I knew at the time was fitness, I’m like, “I’m going to do it in fitness.” And wouldn’t you know it, man, God has weird things happening because 2014 is when I happened to cross Brendon Burchard and Marie Forleo.” (For those of you who don’t know, Brenden and Marie are two well known motivational speakers.

“And so I think what ended up happening was God had this happening. He gave me this lesson and that was the water for that seed that had happened so many years earlier. And it opened up this perspective of, “Well, maybe I can talk about these emotions.”

I want you to notice how many of these synchronicities and messages from other people happen in this story.  This is one of the promises of the DreamBuilder program. There is a Higher Power, guiding and supporting you. You just have to be willing to notice and follow it’s direction.

As Anthony said, “I think there was something there of a seed. And I think at the same time, all the stuff that God had put in my life was now meaningful to the rest of the world. 

And so I’ve spent my time, first I had to fix my life which didn’t happen smooth. I wish it would’ve happened smooth because it took me getting to a point in 2016 where I finally woke up and look at myself again and go, “I hate this guy, to be honest to you.” That’s like, “I hate this guy.”  And that was the biggest internal personal shift, but that one led to me being able to do what I do now.

And so the first focus was business, “I’m going to get better at business.” And I did well. We started building up, doing great financially, doing a lot of stuff, but I didn’t have my heart-life done.

I had slept with multiple partners. To be honest, as a man of faith, it was not in line with my faith. And I woke up one day just like, “I would not want my daughter to be with a guy like me. I wouldn’t have my boys aspire to be like me. My mom would not approve, my God ain’t letting me into heaven like this.” And so that was like, “Something’s got to change.” 

And it took a good 10 months of me digging deep and actually making the real like the first calculated shift of who I was — to ask the question again of, “Well, what does a good husband do? What does a good coach do? What does a good dad do? What does a good follower of Christ do? What does he do?” And try to lean into those things like I did when I was 15.

And that’s how my marriage came back together, and the business started blossoming, I started doing TV stuff and I could share the story more often. And it’s turned into where I finally made good on promise two, or promise one actually, because promise one was fix my life, but I could not have been good on promise two unless promise one was met, because I don’t think you should be telling people how to run the race if you haven’t crossed the finish line yet. 

I had to get through that. And once I did, it’s like now I can come from a place of grace and power and honesty, where I don’t think I could have prior to it.

I had to get through that. And once I did, it’s like now I can come from a place of grace and power and honesty where I don’t think I could have prior to it.

So there you have it. A bit of Anthony Trucks inspiring story and how he found his way past incredible hardship and disappointments to the life of success, contribution and fulfillment that he’s living today.

If you’re going through a rough time right now, or if you’re longing for more out of life — more fulfillment, more prosperity, more joy, then I hope Anthony’s story will motivate you to get started.

Share in the Comments

Let me know what insights you are taking away from this episode, how you’re going to take action, and if you have any questions. Post in the comments at dreambigandbloom.com/54 and I will resp

Here are the next steps for taking your life to the next level.

1. Get The Book

If you haven’t already, get your free copy of Living Happy, Rich and Free After 60. It explains the mindsets for creating a life you’d love and has a scorecard to show you how you are growing or slowing your progress. It’s at dreambigandbloom.com/guidebook

2. Listen to the “Power of Vision” Workshop

Listen at your own pace to this free, three-part series where you’ll learn the foundational principles of DreamBuilding, and create your personal vision for a life that makes you feel happy, rich and free. It’s at DreamBigandBloom.com/workshop

3. Be a guest on the Podcast

This is a great way to get a feel for the process in a friendly environment. Coaching women just like you, to use the DreamBuilder principles and practices to overcome any challenge and achieve any dream is one of my favorite things to do. To be a guest just visit DreamBigandBloom.com/guest

4. Join the Dream Builder Program

Imagine having me as your personal coach to believe in your vision, even when you have doubts, to keep you moving forward. And imagine being a member of an exclusive group of enthusiastic, like-minded ladies who understand the DreamBuilder process and cheer each other on.  

Let’s get together for a complementary Strategy Call. You’ll get clarity on exactly where you are now, where you would love to be, how the DreamBuilder Program works and the results you can expect. Go to dreambigandbloom.com/get-started 

Now as you go remember…

  • The Power within you is far more powerful than any circumstance or condition you are facing.
  • Your past does not determine your future. Your ‘story’ does not define you or your Infinite potential.
  • The dream in your heart is Life seeking to be expressed and realized in the world through you.
  • You are here to fulfill your heart’s desire and live a life you “absolutely LOVE living!”
  • The dream in your heart really can become the life you absolutely LOVE living!

Here’s to Your “Identity Shift” — to becoming the person you are longing to be!

Much love to you,


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