April 27, 2022 · 2 min read

limiting identities

I should break free from identities. It is a mental cage that prevents me from jumping into new opportunities and solving the problems I need to solve.

A software engineer identity

I lived and observed the world from the software engineer identity for half of my life. Every time a new friend asked me what I do in my life? I answered that I am a software engineer. I did not answer that I code. I responded not by the verb but by the noun — by identity. It was an excellent identity only in the workspace and job interviews. Outside, who cares besides me? But the most critical point is that I was limited to software engineering. I could not think of myself doing design, marketing, and other activities not related to software engineering. It was limiting, and it is still hard to get rid of it.

An indie hacker identity

I needed a new identity to design, interact with people, market, and sell. So, when I jumped into the entrepreneurial journey, I put on a suit of the indie hacker. An individual who crafts small niche products independently without investments and works with partners. It is not necessary the narrowest definition of indie hacking, but that’s how I saw it. What’s the problem? I lowered my ambitions. Instead of focusing on solving problems and delivering value, I focused on how I do it. I limited myself to small niches, working only solo, without any investments.

It is not necessarily bad. Wearing identities has upsides:

  • Software engineers can easily connect;
  • Indie hackers show tremendous support to each other;
  • Identities help to jump into the community and be a part of it.

But use them cautiously.

We are more than our identities

It is hard to break free from all identities. But it is a crucial point in one’s success. I don’t know where my success waits for me. Does it lie at the intersection of identities or a new one crafted personally for me?