Becoming for Individuals

Are you on the cusp of a transformation? Ask yourself, “Who am I becoming?” What emerges for you?

“Who are you becoming?” is my favorite question for coaching clients. This powerful question doesn’t have just one answer. We can ask ourselves this question over and over again. It is dynamic and not static. It calls us to imagine our near future selves, both in terms of our identity and our actions.

The Process of Becoming emerged from my research on men’s identity. I’m finding it applies across identities. The process of becoming includes putting our identity and integrity in conversation with each other. Who we are and aspire to be informs our actions and our actions (in alignment or not) inform our sense of self.


Exploring our identity includes asking ourselves, “Who am I?” and “Who do I aspire to be?” This is a process of self-awareness. I think of self-awareness as having two components: self-discovery and self-creation. Self-discovery is reflecting on what experiences have shaped us and how. These might be terrible, wonderful, troubling, significant, or seemingly inconsequential things from our past. We cannot move forward on a solid foundation if we do not understand what has shaped us. Self-creation is looking forward and choosing with agency how we want to live our lives. If we do not move forward with agency, we can become victims of our circumstances. This identity exploration is about coming to know ourselves through both learning and unlearning. The process requires vulnerability to clearly see ourselves, including the parts we may not be so proud of.


Exploring our integrity includes asking ourselves, “What am I doing?” Are my actions in alignment or out of alignment with who I aspire to be? This is a process of self-management. I think of self-management as having two components: accepting accountability and self-leadership. Looking back, we can accept accountability for our actions to learn. We can also look forward to leading ourselves closer to our aspirational selves. This requires practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find a gap between who you aspire to be and what you do. We should always be working toward narrowing that gap, and it should always exist; otherwise, our aspirations are not aspirational enough.


The Process of Becoming puts identity and integrity into conversation toward an aspirational place where our identity and actions are integrated and internalized. We move from effortful knowing and doing toward a more effortless being.

Want to work more closely with Keith?

Leaders and organizations turn to Keith as an authentic educator, trusted leader, and unconventional scholar helping them advance leadership, learning, and equity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *