When you ask people about themselves they will very often answer by telling you what they do rather than who they are. Our sense of identity is coloured by what we do. We are all lots of versions of ourselves: I’m a father or mother, a sister or brother, a son or daughter, a friend or an enemy, a doctor, lawyer, business person, entrepreneur, a sales person or teacher…. There is an endless variety to the roles we undertake.
Our sense of identity is really important to us. It colours the way in which we feel about ourselves and how we act with others. When our sense of identity – our sense of being of value becomes dependent on the work we do rather than the person we are, work can begin to take control and take up a disproportionate amount of our time, energy and emotion.
Work can provide an incredibly strong sense of empowerment, of worth reinforced by the feedback given by others who say how valuable our contribution has been and how it has made a positive difference to them. Work can also be a diversion, creating a distraction from painful feelings of loneliness, rejection or a sense of worthlessness.
But who are you really? Who do you face in the bathroom mirror every morning as you get ready for the day? Where do you feel most secure or useful? When do you feel most valued and recognised? What makes you feel successful? Understanding this can help us manage our lives more effectively.
Ask yourself the questions:
“If I stopped work today and was stripped of my title, my status and the sense of worth it gives me what would be left?”
“How do I feel about the me who is separate to my work?”
“Do I feel good about being me – the non worker?”
“What do I have of value in my life outside work?”
“What is the quality of my relationships outside work like?”
“Do I love or even like myself, when I am just being me?”
“If work stopped tomorrow how would I spend my time?
If you don’t like any of the answers to the questions above it is probably time to take stock of your life and to make some changes. Having a well rounded sense of self worth and creating a life which exists out side your work life can add enormously to the quality of your life and to those around you.
Paradoxically it can add value to your professional life too.
If you’d like some help auditing your life or creating the changes you want, I can help you