When it comes to having a job, being part of a team, running a business, and being a leader, it can be easy to lose our identities. Think about the last time you attended a networking event or a conference. How did you answer when someone asked you who you are or to tell them about yourself?
“I am a ____ .”
Your answer was probably somehow tied to what it says on your business card or your LinkedIn profile. You likely responded with something that connected your identity to your work. Don’t feel bad. Most of us do the same thing. Over time, we get trained to hitch our identity to what we do from nine to five or eight to six.
In a world of hustlers, high-achievers, and driven go-getters, it’s easy to slip into this. People like us when we’re performing and making things happen. They appreciate us for our activity and results, so let’s focus on that.
Here’s the problem with that…
When you’re dead, is that how you want to be remembered? Is that what you want inscribed on your tombstone?
“Here lies John Gamades. Founder, designer, author, and podcaster.”
No. Honestly, when you’re dead, no one is going to care.
It can be so easy to let our work define us and to get conned into believing what we do defines who we are. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. When that happens, we fall prey to a trap where we associate our value as a person with what we deliver through our work. Even worse, if what we do begins to change or evolve, we can resist it and try to grip our old identities tight.
Here’s our challenge for you today… Answer the question “Who are you?” without talking about your work. I’ll go first.
I’m a husband and dad who loves his family, tries to live out his faith, enjoys being outside, and gets excited about helping others reach their full potential.
That’s where my identity comes from. How about you?
Answer the question for yourself. “I am a ____ .” Don’t settle for your title or what it says on your company website. You are more than that. Go take back your identity and figure out what that means.