Admit it; you are in the middle of an identity crisis. I know I am. Sadly, I’ve grown so accustomed to my “typically stated” identity that I sometimes forget who I truly am. Oh, sure, you’re the same way.
Let’s try a little exercise:
Imagine that you and I are meeting for the first time. The typical greeting is exchanged and what’s the first question that will be asked?
“So, what do you do?” Without even thinking, we choose to share our work identity.
Come on, admit it, this is a crisis.
Margot Fonteyn shared some great insight when she said, “Take your work seriously, but never yourself.” I wonder how she identified herself. Dame Fonteyn was a world famous ballerina, but this quote would suggest she was so much more.
Shouldn’t we all believe that we are so much more than what our J-O-B may suggest? For instance, my official title is Accounting Manager. After hearing this, most would assume that I lack personality and creativity. Maybe you would think that I’m a linear thinker and prefer spreadsheets over books or art.
I was recently told that, in fact, I’m not an Accounting Manager. Please, don’t misunderstand, that’s my title, but it’s not who I am. My skills and strengths drive this fact home (but that’s for another post).
I take my job very seriously. I understand that there is a greater purpose to the work that I am tasked with. I further understand that I’m part of something greater than those tasks and ultimately our organizations purpose will not be fulfilled if I’m unable or resistant to completing my job to the best of my ability.
More importantly, I take my role as a husband and a father very seriously. I’d much rather share that answer and the excitement and passion those roles bring. I choose to fight for my family and ensure that they feel loved and their needs are met.
I’m learning what it means to live the Ballerina’s quote. I fail miserably at it, but I’m now conscience of removing myself from my work when I’m not at work. I’m learning to relax and search for balance. It’s hard not to focus on work 24/7 in our modern world. We’re constantly connected to our work through smartphones and tablets.
So the question is what do you do? Who are you? Which identity do you choose to take seriously?