We are in danger of becoming a self-less society. Not a selfless society, but a self-less society – one in which no one can identify who they are or even want to be. More and more of us drown ourselves in other people’s values and judgments, and under that influence individuals are surrendering the sacred sovereignty over their own identity, integrity, purpose, originality, and truth… and most aren’t even aware.
Nonstop social media, a pervasive and invasive consumer culture, and a dire lack of education on self-reflection – this has disconnected millions of people from themselves. Individually, this leads to confusion, detachment, bitterness, and inner conflict – and this bleeds into society. It’s epidemic, harmful, and tragic.
I used to think there was little I could do about it.
And then I had a life-changing experience.
But let me back up… Who am I anyway? … Fair question – and certainly one a Professional Identity Coach should be able to answer. Understand: Identity is multi-layered, and I could tell you who I am at my core, beneath all the layers of Ego (yes, it’s possible to go that deep with Identity Work), but that’s not what this ‘Start Here‘ page is for – so I’ll answer at the level of Gabriel Sean Wallace the man and coach.
I’m half-American, half-English… live in China, regular traveler of the world… know what it means to feel like an alien – trust me. Hindsight has revealed to me just how valuable my childhood-of-two-lands was… Bullied and told to “go back to your own country” – no matter which country I happened to be in at the time – this was my first ‘identity crisis‘, and it helped build my character and my selfdom.
I grew up with OCD. It was bad – real bad. There were nights I couldn’t sleep because I refused to close my eyes until I’d cemented in my mind an explanation for why the universe existed. Yeah… OCD is not just about cleaning dusty windows… From the age of 9 to my mid-20s I would torment myself with unrelenting, neurotic questions about the nature of reality. Its grip would come and go in waves and weeks, but when it turned on, it was an existential ride I couldn’t get off.
I can’t even guess how many identity crises I faced because of my OCD… But I’m grateful for all of them. I wouldn’t wish OCD on anyone – but it taught me more about identity than any book ever has (and I’ve read shelves of them for that very purpose). In my darkest, most desperate months of OCD, it forced me to think in new ways, experience life differently… if I wanted out, the only way was in.
Because of all the deep inner work I did to solve everything that OCD challenged me with, I connected to myself and answered questions about my own identity that most people never even think to ask. It wasn’t so much of a ‘crisis’ as it was an opportunity.
I cured myself of OCD in December 2011.
A month later, I wrote my life philosophy. The month after that, I moved to China.
From inner chaos, I created outer order.
I started out in China as an English Teacher, and was promoted four times. I directed a school and even wrote textbooks for tens of thousands of kids in three countries.
But even with all this success, in 2017… I knew something was off. I had an amazing girlfriend, a great job in central Shanghai, the fancy apartment, the friends, the life… I should have been happy, right? On the outside, I acted that role, sure… But inside, I was suffocating. I knew this feeling. I’d felt it before, just as I was completing my postgrad Legal Practice Course (which is why after passing I never pursued my career as a lawyer).
My life was an empty shell, and I was about to crack.
It was another dark time, another ‘identity crisis’. And again I went into myself… One long and solitary weekend, I shut out all communication with the world, and I did the Identity Work I knew I had to do. And I did new work, integrating everything I’d learned in China, everything I’d learned as a teacher, as a man… I used it all, all to investigate my deepest self. And sometimes, when you do the work, when you do the right work… the universe rewards you in ways no one can explain…
A sudden change in Chinese visa law meant I could no longer keep my job as a writer in Shanghai. Freedom. … But I had to act fast. Financially, I didn’t have long. Long story short: I started my own online business making English Language Courses (Learning English Path).
I was finally on the right track. I was being more authentic to myself. And most importantly, once I was financially sound… I learned how to coach.
I fell in love with coaching. Not only did I take several courses and trainings on life coaching, but I also took them on transformation coaching, life purpose coaching, life story coaching, mindfulness coaching, coaching with therapeutic art, and even more… I got professionally certified in NLP… I rekindled my love of books on psychology, philosophy, spirituality, and personal development… and when I was ready, I finally began taking clients.
And when I started helping people, really helping people… people who were lost, stuck, confused… people who felt hollow, detached, disconnected… and I saw these people completely transform from the inside out… just as I had done… I knew, deep down… I’d found a calling I could never turn my back on.
I became an Identity Coach.