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Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Work Define You

balance success Oct 15, 2022
Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Work Define You | Hey Mickey Anderson

When our business or our work becomes our identity, we can be in for a lot of trouble. If work is who we are, what happens when the job isn't right for us anymore? Or when something happens to our ability to work? When our business isn't performing the way we think it should? We would lose a big part of ourselves. That's why it's essential to have a strong sense of self outside work. Work should not define us but be one aspect of our lives.

I struggled with this for many years–I was a competitive athlete, and I felt worthless when I wasn't performing at the level I thought I should. Then, when I retired from sports, I struggled to know who I was beyond my title of "athlete."

When we have a strong sense of self, we're more likely to be successful in business and life. We're more likely to achieve work-life balance and be happy and fulfilled. So if you're an entrepreneur or business professional, don't let work become your identity. You're so much more than that!

There's nothing wrong with being passionate about your work. But it's important to remember that work is not the be-all and end-all of our lives. We need to have a strong sense of self outside of work to be truly successful and fulfilled.

Work is an essential and unavoidable part of life, but it should not be the only defining aspect of our identity. We can all benefit from taking time to contemplate how we contribute to our communities and families outside of work. Here are three realizations that helped me build a strong sense of self.

1. You're not your job.

Your job is not who you are as a person. It's what you do, not who you are. You are not your job title, your salary, or your office. Your work does not define you. I made a list of the different aspects of my life, including my hobbies, interests, and roles. Seeing all those pieces of who I am helped me realize how small my sport and work were compared to everything that makes me, me. 

2. Your work is not your worth.

Your worth as a person is not based on your job or your career. I used to hate being asked, "What do you do?" I always felt worthless when I wasn't proud of my title. What I learned was my passion and purpose are far more critical. When a person expresses passion in whatever they are doing, it is far more powerful. You are not more or less valuable based on what you do for a living. Your work does not determine your worth.

3. You're more than your accomplishments.

Your resume is a list of your accomplishments, but it's not all of who you are. There's more to you than your work history, achievements and education. You are a complex and unique individual with much more to offer than just your resume.

When we take the time to reflect on our non-work related accomplishments and values, we can begin to see ourselves as more than just a job title or set of skills. This shift in perspective can help us feel more content and satisfied with our lives, regardless of how busy things may get at work. When I clearly defined my values and uncovered the type of person I wanted to be (not the accomplishments I wanted to have), I felt a massive shift in my self-confidence and esteem.

What other activities do you enjoy that make you feel fulfilled? 

How do these activities contribute to your sense of self?

- Hey Mickey Anderson

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