When you first meet someone, what is the first thing they ask you…especially if you live in a society that is very work-oriented, e.g., the U.S.?
That’s right. The question that just about everyone asks is “What do you do?”.
And, that question hands down is one of the most dangerous because its implications go very deep.
Effectively, what one does becomes who they are.
But, what happens when the person no longer is those things?
Without that identity of — “I am the CEO; I am the consultant; I am the engineer, etc… at xyz company” — who are you, really?
Most people can’t really say…and that’s usually when a great deal of internal crisis arises and inevitably manifests externally.
The importance of separating our identity from our work
So that our movement forward isn’t hindered by our old identity (who we were, thought we were, others think we are), it’s important to have a constant but fluid way of defining our identities.
Rather than being caged by the identity something external to us helped us form, this new identity is one that is intrinsic to us and evolves as we go through life.
Here is a simple idea on how to develop an identity that leads to a fulfilled life.
Start by redefining what a high performing life looks like for you…and no, it’s not about putting in 60 hour workweeks and going through the motions in the other areas of your life.
Redefining what it means to live a high performing life
<so you can have as good a life in reality as you do on paper!>
- Define what “health & wellbeing” means to you. Set your goals such that it reflects the things that you enjoy. The more you do the things that feel good to you around this, the more likely it’ll become a lifestyle.
- Define what success in your “career” means to you. How far up the ladder do you feel like you have to climb? How much money do you have to earn in order to give the rest of the important things in your life the time and attention they need?
- Define what deep, connected “relationships” mean to you. How much time do you need for your relationship with yourself, your partner, your family, friends, community in order for them to thrive?
Imagine what a kaleidoscopic life you’d have if you lived life on your own terms. It all starts with knowing who you truly are…and remembering that what you do is only one aspect at any given time.
P.s., Just do you!