September 6, 2023

The Identity Shift that Creates Results

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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If you are doing all the right things and not getting results, this episode is for you. I’m talking about the identity shifts you need to make to get the growth you want. Whether it’s a better relationship, a new job, or feeling good about yourself (and silencing that inner critic), I’m sharing with you the specific shifts you need to make.

It is the tipping point that has allowed my clients to get the exceptional results you see and what has allowed me to create the career and life I always wanted.


  • The reason the best strategies and advice aren’t working
  • The beliefs you need to have to make big changes in your career and life
  • Specific ways that your identity can help you get results even when you have self-doubt





If you are loving the podcast, please consider rating and reviewing my podcast! This helps me support more people — just like you — to get happier in their career and their life by making the show more visible.

Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with stars, and then select “Write a Review.” Let me know what you loved most about the episode!


Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here. The one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo. So you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now. Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast.

I can’t believe that we are on episode 150 already. We have been going strong week after week for three years. If you’ve been listening for a while, thank you for tuning in. I also know that you do take the time to listen because you’re getting value from this podcast. Your time is precious, and I take that seriously. I love when you reach out to me and share your wins and new jobs and the changes you’re making because of what you’re hearing on this episode, on this podcast, and also what you are learning here. Whether you’re sharing with me on LinkedIn or you’re putting it in a podcast review, thank you so much. If this is your first episode, welcome. I’m so happy to have you as a part of the cheetah family. We are people who, despite our self-doubt and inner critic, make big moves. We don’t settle for good enough careers when we know we can make a bigger impact. We don’t let our past dictate our future. We believe in being our best and getting the best that this life has to offer. Today’s episode is tied to just that. We are going to talk about identity shifts.

What needs to change with you to have the career and life that you want to have? What shifts you need to make to be the person who achieves a career upgrade or even a life upgrade? I’ve had several of these shifts over the years, and I’m going to share a bit about that too. So stay tuned to the end where I’m going to share some of my bigger and more vulnerable identity shifts and what I believed about myself to make those happen. Let’s dig in. Now, in order to make a change, and I’m talking a big change like improving or changing your personal relationships, doing something you’ve never done before, changing roles or even industries, advancing to senior leadership, speaking at a conference, something that when you think of it, your red flags antenna goes up with hesitancy immediately when you start thinking about doing those things. To make the change, you have to stop seeing yourself as the way that you always have. It’s like an evolution of who you are. We all grow up with beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world around us. How we think about ourselves controls the actions that we take.

If, for example, you’re not happy in your marriage, but what you have now is better than maybe what you saw modeled growing up or what you used to have, and there aren’t any real problems like infidelity or a partner with a gambling habit or abuse, those things that you tell us that are the real problems, then you might tell yourself that what you have is a good marriage and that this is what you want. Whether you want something different, more love, affection, time for yourself, that you are just being extra and you are not being grateful. You struggle with a good enough marriage because you believe that’s all you should have. Instead of figuring out what you want to be different in your relationship, you keep things the same. But figuring out what you want and then being the person who has the loving marriage in the way that you define it, deciding you are someone that can have that will change how you approach your relationship in the smallest of ways, in the way that you communicate, in the way that you interact with the person, in the way that you prioritize them. Or let’s say you want to make a career change and you’re thinking of changing departments, but you’ve built your career in a specific area already.

You might want to make a change or be interested in exploring if it’s even an option. You might look for evidence, look for examples out there that you could do this, other people that have done it. But even if you find one, you might believe that they had a special circumstance that wouldn’t apply to you, that maybe they had a referral or they knew someone or they had a different skill set or the department change they made was easier for them or it wasn’t the same. It’s harder for you. You might have a belief that’s not possible for you deep down, even if you don’t know it. No matter how much evidence is out there, you have to shift your identity that you are someone who can achieve those goals in order to be able to achieve them, whether you see evidence or examples that it’s possible or you don’t. Think of how many new things that happen out there, the people that are the first people to do something. They didn’t have an example of it happening before. They had to believe that they could do it. They had to believe that they could be the person that could create that result.

You don’t have to know how. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to believe it’s possible. When you believe it’s possible, you take different actions. Now, the example I just gave was switching departments or areas of expertise. I’ve helped several people do this in their career, whether it’s bench work to office work or management, medical affairs to translational sciences, R&D to consulting, quality assurance to patient advocacy. There are countless examples. I’ve even had someone on the podcast share their experience in their words. The most recent is the episode of Swathy when she shared the impact of coaching one year after her career change. But I will say I still have people reach out to me and hear those episodes, see those examples, even know people that have done that, even hear my process from me, and they are still convinced it’s not possible for them. Now, the difference between those that are getting the results and those that aren’t is their belief that they can do it. When you shift your identity to this is for me. I deserve this. I am someone who does things that seem impossible. I’m someone who’s in control of her career, then you become the person who is.

In my client examples, it’s them taking the leap and investing in coaching because they didn’t know how. They just believed it was possible. They believe they can do it, but they’re not sure what the steps are. They hire someone who has a track record for making it happen. Then all they have to do is follow the process. It’s easy. In coaching, we’re shifting your beliefs and eliminating your self-doubt along the way. You become a different, better version of yourself with a different identity in small baby steps. One that has you running toward possibility and ideas instead of running away from it. One that speaks up in meetings and forgets that that was ever even a problem for you. That is one of my favorite things my clients tell me, is when they forget and then we talk about it and they’re like, Oh, my gosh, where did this self doubt go? I’m like, How was that even possible that I was this person? I’m so different now. It’s amazing. You are someone that has her ideas heard and is confident with executives, one that isn’t afraid to try new things and isn’t afraid to fail even publicly because you know you can handle it.

Now, let me share this concept with you. I’m going to be talking about this more in my free training that’s coming up, the career happiness formula. It’s happening on September 15th. If you’re not already registered, head there now. The link is in the show notes. Just go to and add your name. Now, the way that you think about yourself is so important. Again, before I get into this concept, I want to preface it by saying that you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to believe that you’re confident and amazing right now. We work on that together. It’s simple. It’s a simple process, but it is complex, right? We’re rewiring your brain patterns. We’re releasing things that you’re doing now that you might not even know you’re doing that aren’t helping you, and we’re replacing them with things that will get you results. But this is why my process is so effective. Now, here is a sneak peek of one small part that I’m going to be teaching you in the training coming up: The Career Happiness Formula. Imagine a flower planted in the ground. What you pour on that flower to help it grow is your strategy.

But if the roots of that flower, if you envision seeing the roots of this flower in the ground and the roots, the foundation, is self-doubt, shame, stress, fear. The strategy you pour on your flower won’t help your flower be healthy and grow. It won’t work. We have to address the root, your self-doubt, your inner critic, your perfectionism, the overthinking, the stress, the things that are happening with you right now and that you’re struggling with right now, we have to address those while we implement my strategy. This will get you different results. It helps you flourish now and in the future because we’re cleaning out those roots, the foundation of how you think about yourself. We’re changing that, which is changing how you approach problems at work. It’s changing the way that you see what’s possible for you. It’s changing how you talk about yourself and your skills. It’s changing you even seeing what skills you have that are transferable to the role you want to have. If you’re hearing this and feeling hopeful, well, that is amazing. I’m glad that this is resonating with you. But if you’re feeling like, Oh, my gosh, there’s really something wrong with you and that’s really hard to fix, know that it isn’t.

All of my clients have a healthy dose of self-doubt, overthinking, fear of making the wrong choice, and stress. It impacts their self-confidence and ability to see what’s possible for them. It makes it really confusing to know what you want. When you add that to our social conditioning that has been indoctrinated into us since we were born, it’s no wonder that it is hard to change. The good news is that I help my clients with this every day. I’ve been doing this for years. Same problems, applying my process and seeing them get results every time. It’s 100% fixable. The reward outweighs your wildest dreams and all of the discomfort in making that change. Imagine waking up feeling good about yourself, doing work you are energized by, having time to play with your kids or go to a movie even on a weeknight, to have time for your hobbies, to even find a hobby. You might not even have one because you’re just so consumed with everything in your life. To know you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, to be genuinely happy in all parts of your life. All you have to do to get started is to shift your identity to be the person that believes this is possible for you.

And if you’re thinking, oh, I believe it’s possible, you don’t unless you’re taking that action, right? You’re not completely warmed up in true belief of that. When you believe you can have something different, you will take the action to create it, even with the doubt and fear, right? You will never be 100 % confident to do something new. Now, let me let you in on another secret. Now, I believe this is a belief that I have that if your brain offers a possibility to you that it is possible. Your brain is wired to avoid change and discomfort. It doesn’t want you to make changes. So if your brain is telling you that maybe there is a better career for you, that maybe you could feel better about yourself, that maybe your relationship could be better, that maybe there’s a bigger difference that you could make, that maybe you should go after that job. It’s because you are meant to explore it, otherwise your brain wouldn’t offer it to you. You wouldn’t even have that thought. The discomfort and pain comes from your intuition, having the thought that you want something, and the reality of how you’ve grown up your whole life and the beliefs you have about yourself that tell you that you can’t have it.

Your true self and your conditioned self are at odds. You have to go against the grain and explore what your true self wants. Your true self wants a change. You just have to make the identity shift to have that ounce of belief that you can have whatever you want, that you can explore it, and that whatever happens, you’ll be able to handle it. Most people stay in that gap between their true self and their conditioned self. They stay stuck between that nudge they want something, and the fear that’s masked in logic of all of the reasons that they can’t have it. They tell themselves things like, Now isn’t the right time. I’m a busy person. That’s not a smart decision. What if our car breaks down and I need money? I’m not naturally good at that. Those results aren’t available to me. This isn’t realistic. This isn’t something I can put on my resume. I don’t have the it factor. This is a special circumstance that’s for other people. What I have is fine. Now I know these thoughts because I have had them too. I hate to break it to you, but these thoughts aren’t just keeping you stuck.

But they’re signs of a fixed mindset, not a growth mindset. Fixed mindsets will think that they can’t have things, that it’s not for them, that they aren’t naturally good at something, and it’s all going to be masked in logic, really good reasons that you come up with why you shouldn’t have it or can’t have it. Growth mindsets will think that they can learn that they aren’t good at something yet, that they can figure it out. Dr. Carol Dweck wrote a fantastic book called Mindset. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it. It digs deep into growth versus fixed mindset through research you conducted. Now, most people stay in that gap. Most people are stuck trying to control outcomes, and if they can’t control it, they can’t see the future and guarantee it, they do nothing. But this is such a disservice and it’s such a waste of potential, but it’s not your fault. Our brains are wired this way. Our experiences, trauma, what we’re taught sets us up to stay stuck, to not do things other people aren’t doing, to not see possibilities, to not have our own backs no matter what. But guess what?

We are cheetahs here. We go against that norm. You listening to this tells me that you want more, that you believe you can overcome whatever beliefs you have that might hold you back. That is what it takes, just a small step in that direction. Our beliefs that hold us back become habits. They become things we think over and over again without even realizing it. I will sometimes have my clients do an exercise where we identify a belief or thought that they have that isn’t so nice, and then they keep track of how much it comes up in a week. Then we explore how that thought is actually controlling their actions and the results they have. One example was when a client found herself saying to herself, I’m such an idiot. I caught it when we were coaching, and she had no idea that she was saying that to herself. When she tracked it, she noticed that she was saying it several times a week, even daily, sometimes multiple times a day. We were able to change that. Imagine the impact of that on her belief in herself and how she shows up in meetings, how she treats herself when she makes mistakes, how she goes after her career, how she is with her kids, when she’s no longer telling herself she’s an idiot.

When you shift your identity to someone who is worthy of having what you want, when you’re worthy of exploring the options, when you believe that you are worthy of just exploring the options, that you’re worthy of an investment that you can create the reality for yourself, then you become someone who sees obstacles as problems to solve. You don’t live in the gap anymore between wanting and negativity. You just want and go. You make decisions easily. You feel good about yourself. You trust yourself. You know that anything that your brain offers is a possibility is one you get to choose to explore. And because you do that, your life and your career are limitless. Now, I think I’ve shared some personal examples of how I’ve shifted my identity and beliefs about myself in order to achieve the things that I have. Now, I have to think about how far back I want to go on this because to me, if I really get deep into this, there are so many little beliefs that I have had, little microbeliefs and thoughts that I’ve had that have kept me safe and have also allowed me to create something that I have in my life now that is different from how I grew up.

At a high level, I’ll share that, I didn’t grow up in a very healthy household, and as a result, the children in my family and extended family really haven’t left the small town we grew up in, in Wisconsin. They didn’t go to college. Many of them struggled with substance abuse or violence. I believe that I made a different outcome for myself because I had a thought that I could have a different life. That was a belief that I have. I believed that I was in control of my decisions, regardless of my circumstances. I believed that I always had a choice. Now, I always believed that things were harder for me, but I didn’t let that stop me from making different decisions. That belief saved me from a lot of unsafe situations. It stopped me from making worse decisions, and I definitely made some bad ones. As a result, I’m the only person in my family to have moved out of the small town to get a four-year degree, let alone a masters degree to make over six figures in my career and so on. I share this not to say, look at me, but to show you that if I had different beliefs, it is what it is.

Something different isn’t possible for me. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I don’t have a choice. Then I wouldn’t have made the small decisions that I made every day to create a different reality for me from the time that I was a teenager. With getting my masters, again, I thought I didn’t need it. It’s extra. It’s a lot to invest for and nice to have. But I also had the thought, I want to do this. I want to learn. This will help me. Life is for living. This is helping me see what’s possible. Those thoughts and beliefs guided me to go to school while having two kids and working full-time and graduating with the 4.0. Now, when I felt like something was off in my first marriage, I believed it was in my head that I had no reason to be unhappy. But I also believed that you could be so head-over-heels in love with someone that you had butterflies, like in the romantic comedy movies, that 10 years into your relationship that you could still love to hold hands, that you could not get enough of someone and have that fairy tale.

Then when my wife, Ellen, yelled on a street corner that she was in love with me like it was out of a movie. I have that relationship now. Then I had to go through a whole identity shift when I fell in love with a woman because that was unexpected. That is for another episode. Maybe. Now, when I started my business, I had all sorts of doubts. I’m not an entrepreneur. I need stability. I don’t know if I can handle it. I can make it work where I am. This is good. I have a good job. But I knew it was a possibility that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I hired a coach to help me clear up my brain to see what really was possible and what it would look like if I wanted to go that route and to stop me from letting fear and fool the logic keep me from wondering what if. I’m so glad I did or I wouldn’t have the business I’ve had the last several years. I wouldn’t have had the impact I have on countless people who now have an upgraded career in life because I made that decision.

I have a client who tells me often after our sessions that she’s just so grateful for me that I made the decision to step into my zone of genius so I could be in the position to help her step into hers. Think about what could be possible for you if you shifted your identity to be someone who explores possibilities and weren’t afraid of an undesirable outcome. With these examples, it doesn’t mean my earlier decisions were bad ones. I fully believe that everything I did in my life led me to where I am now. Earlier jobs, my first marriage, all of it was right for me at that time in my life, which brings me to a core belief I have, which is that I’m allowed to change. I’m deciding every day what I want my life to look like and what I want to have in my life. I don’t live my life thinking I made a mistake. This was a regret. I think I trust myself more that I’m making the best decision at that time with the information that I have. Now, I crave security and stability. It’s very important to me. But I also allow myself to learn and grow and evolve.

It’s what led me down my career path and to the various pivots that I’ve had. Within my career, even though I’ve had times of struggle, I always had a belief that if I thought something, it was worth exploring. Even with all of my doubt, I had a level of confidence that didn’t allow me to completely silence myself. You don’t either or you wouldn’t be listening to this episode. If you notice these examples, you’ll see I had identity beliefs that were negative or full of doubt. This isn’t for me. What I want isn’t needed. What I have is good enough. I’m not one of those people. Things are hard. I’m too busy. But with those beliefs, I had countering ones like, if I’m thinking this matters, if I want this, it’s possible. I can do this. I’m in control of my decisions. I get to decide. Even though those are conflicting, that’s okay because that’s how the brain works. It’s normal if you have those conflicting thoughts. I was able to create the life and career I wanted every step of the way because I let those beliefs of what is possible, that identity that I’m in control of my results, win out over the doubt.

I let the belief of possibility be my identity. I am someone that is open to possibilities. I’m putting that doubt in the passenger seat and not letting it run my life. My identity has shifted multiple times and it continues to grow. My capacity for discomfort has grown. My belief in what is possible is so much bigger than me now. I didn’t wake up like this, though. I wasn’t naturally like this. It was an intentional decision to be the person who could create whatever I wanted and wasn’t going to have a life where I settled and silenced myself. Because if I can’t stick up for myself and advocate for myself, who can? If I’m not going to do the work to be who I want to be, it’s not fair to expect others to promote me, to see my potential, to drag me into who I can be. I do that work, and you can do that work too. It just starts with your belief, with changing your belief into curiosity and possibility. You don’t have to have it all figured out. To being someone who can handle whatever decision you make. Finally, I’ll leave you with this.

Decisions are neutral. If you make a decision to go after something and it doesn’t work out, you won’t know right now if it was worth it. We are in the present. We are not in the future. If a decision doesn’t work out, it’s either a lesson and it’s growth for you, or you would have made that same decision again. But either way, you win. That is the worst-case scenario. The best-case scenario is you see what you’re really made of, that you change your career and life for the better, that you become a better version of yourself. That has a ripple effect to your family and your friends and every decision that you make the rest of your life. You win no matter what if you want to choose to believe that. Now, the thought that I have right now, the belief that I have right now that I’ve adapted and taken on over the last couple of years is that life is a playground and everything is for me. 

Now, I want you to let that sink in and sit with it for a second. Imagine if when you approached work, if you approached problems, if you approached your career, the way you approached your family, the way you approached purchases, buying a house, to travel, anything in your life, if you looked at it as it’s all a playground and it’s all for you, the mindset of being on a playground, trying out different things, maybe you fall off and you get back up, that is such a different belief and a different identity to think that the world is a playground for you, that everything is for you, than to think that things aren’t for you, that’s not going to happen for you, that you somehow don’t have what it takes. Having that belief that everything is a playground, everything is for me, it’s so empowering because no matter what happens, ups and downs in my business, if I try something and it doesn’t work or if I ever feel embarrassed, if I want, I’ll get invited to speak on things and I’ll get a little bit of, Oh, I don’t know. Then I’m just like, This is the playground. This is fun. 

This is my opportunity to show what I know. That’s the same for you. When you’re delivering presentations. It’s an opportunity for you to show what you know. It’s fun, right? You built this expertise for a reason. You have the possibility if you’re connected with someone that can help you get different results and build the life that you always wanted. How fun is that? It doesn’t have to be scary. But it’s all in how you think about it. It’s all in your identity and what’s possible for you and how you think about yourself. Sit with that this week that everything is possible for you. World is a playground. It’s all for you. All right. Now, have an amazing week.

I will talk to you next week here on the podcast, and I will see you on September 15th at The Career Happiness Formula training. Register now at the link, and if you’re looking to upgrade your current role or get into a new one, then this training is for you. I’m going to walk you through how to think. I’m going to walk you through the actions to take as well as the strategy to get a career upgrade.

I’m also going to share with you all of the details about Beyond The Ceiling. This is my new group coaching program. It’s opening up on the same day. You heard me talk earlier about the types of clients that I work with and the results that they get. Now, for the first time, I’m going to bring all of them together into one space, and we’re going to do this work together, which is just going to be amazing because imagine getting that career upgrade with other women in pharma biotech like you, where you can learn from them. You get exposure to a lot of different roles and different companies. It’s going to build your network. You’re going to build relationships while you are going through these massive identity shifts and upgrades in your career. It’s going to be incredible. You can get all of the details at the link in the show notes. It’s going to be so fun, and I will see you there. Have an amazing, amazing week. 

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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