Many times we come up against a tough obstacle, problem, or issue that we know we need to tackle, but mentally, we’re not there. We’re stuck on who we think we are, or what limits we have on what we can do. A great way to beat this mental roadblock is to simply get a new name.
About a decade ago when I was still at William Morris Agency, an artist told me about his decision to change his first name while on stage from ‘Andy’ to ‘Andrew’. Although he was a very talented musician, he was a cerebral guy at heart. He’d grown up wanting to be an English teacher, but had somehow become a successful singer, songwriter, and front-man for a band. The issue was that even though he didn’t naturally have this big, outgoing personality, he really needed to have one on-stage. Andy had read this article about Bono, who, it turns out, is only ‘Bono’ when he’s ‘Bono’. Otherwise, he’s just Paul Hewson. Andy adopted this idea, and said it greatly helped him grow and develop a great stage presence as ‘Andrew’.
God is famous for doing the name change with his people.
Abram was just a common man until God breathed into him, changed his name to Abraham, and made him into the father of nations that are still around 4,000 years later- he’s considered a founding father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. However, Abraham didn’t immediately become the father of nations after his name change. He went several decades from the time of his new name to the time when he had his children, all along trusting that God would make him the man He’d promised when he’d given him the new name.
Paul is probably the most famous name changer. He’d grown up as Saul, a student in the law, and a zealous persecutor of Christians. God knocked him over on the road to Damascus, gave him the new name of Paul. The new Paul became the chief writer of the New Testament, and one of the most influential people in the history of the world.
I have to think God knew that these people needed to look at themselves in new way in order to get done what they needed to get done, and a new name was the way to do it.
I’m not saying you have to have a Damascus road experience. It can be much more subtle. I even used this idea myself in late 2007. I’d just recovered from massive abdominal surgery (kind of a second apendectomy, long story), and knew I needed to make some hard changes. So I went with ‘Brian 2.0’. I’d tell myself, “The old Brian would get five chicken fingers, but Brian 2.0 is only going to get two. The old Brian would get a Big Mac, Brian 2.0 gets the turkey sandwich.” It helped, and I’ve enjoyed living life in the 180s much more than in the 200s. Plus, its fun to refer to yourself in the third person.
Is there something you feel you should do but are having a tough time getting it done as the old you? Why not try a new name? It has worked before.