Someone asked me if I needed help with my work. I cringed at the thought. I need to prove myself here so I can get a better position. I need to rise to the top and I can’t do that if I work with someone else or have to delegate my work. Of course I didn’t say this, but the realization that I thought it was enough. It was enough to wake me up and see that another day at work was going by and I was getting sucked into the trap of thinking that this was my life. That’s what I must think in order to take my work so personal.
I sensed my defensiveness at a meeting today. Someone made a slight comment about an idea of mine and I jumped all over it. How dare they. This was my idea. It’s been approved. Don’t question it!
I sensed my focus had shifted from home, family, hobbies and interests to only work. Had my family walked in my office this morning I am not sure I could utter their names. If my son called and asked me to call the school I would have been annoyed. If my husband dare message me to just connect I would have presumed he “wanted” something and right now is simply not a good time for someone to want more of me. I’m working!
I fell in this trap several years ago. I had the dream job. Well sort of. I was passionate about the work and the mission of the nonprofit I led. I hopped out of bed every morning and drove to work as fast as I could so I could get started. I hated to leave at night because there was always so many things to get done. We were helping people. I needed to get work done so that could happen. Over the seven years I had that job I let it take over my life and let everything else take a back seat. When I left that job I lost my identity and my direction. I didn’t know who I was, where I was going, and the people in my life. I had the dream job. What else is there?
Today I sensed that feeling coming back into my life. That feeling of being needed and appreciated drives me. The feeling that there is important work to do and you are the one that needs to do it propels me to work tirelessly. I noticed I want to come in early and stay late. Not because it pays more, but because I need to. If I continue on this path I will be right back where I was. I will be consumed with work and begin to let everything else go.
It has taken me two years to learn about who I am and where I want to go. It has taken me two years to figure out what I like to do and what I want to do. It just got back to connecting with family and making new friends. I am just starting to yearn to spend time doing hobbies and what interests me. I am much more than my work and to let my identity be defined by work is to sell myself very short. It would be a travesty to limit my being to the tasks that I do between 9-5. When I notice that I am defensive and protective over my work then that should be a signal that I am headed down the wrong path.
I am not my work and so I should be able to share it with others. I should be willing to team up with others so that we can do things together.
I am not my work and my daily life should encompass all parts of who I am.
I am not my work and my life should be filled with those whom I love.
I am not my work and my hobbies and interests should be a priority in my life and a way to ensure that I am growing, learning, and sharing my gifts and talents in various ways.
We are not our work. We are much more. Who you are is not defined by what you do from 9-5. It’s defined by what makes you the whole person you are. If you aren’t sure what makes you whole then it’s time to figure it out. You were made for more than the sum of tasks that you do at work. You were made to share with the rest of us your talents, dreams, gifts and abilities. We need you. We need each other.
What have you given up in the name of money, work, or career?
On a cool calm Wednesday night I stared at my father as he left this world. He watched me enter this world and I watched him leave it. In that moment who he was and how he impacted our lives was the most important aspect of knowing him. The jobs he held were a part of his journey, but they didn’t define him. He impacted my life as a teacher, visionary, dreamer, idea generator, entrepreneur and as a man that adored me. The years he spent giving me a vision for life have done more to shape me than anything else. The time he poured into teaching me big ideas and the overall picture of life impacted me greatly and is something I strive to do with my children. It wasn’t about dad’s job it was about who he was.
His legacy includes a book written, but never published. A golf course designed and built, but closed down. Many businesses started then failed. He was always dreaming and always trying. He would have achieved more success if he would have committed to the process of development. When the excitement of the idea passed he always struggled with things for the long haul. He was a great starter of things, but not a great manager of things. I know. I am like him.
In the end though life wasn’t about his job. It was about who he was and the impact he had on the lives of people around him. It’s the same for us. In the end I want it said that I made an impact on the lives of people around me. I want people to say that I was a well developed person and worked 100% at everything I did. I want them to talk about the career I had, the people that I loved, the hobbies that I was dedicated to, and the interests that I developed outside of work and family.
In the end I want my children to look at me and say mom impacted my life with hers. She was a whole person and lived as a whole person. She was an example of how to truly live. That example won’t be defined by my 9-5 job. It will be defined by living as a whole and balanced person. I am not my work. I am much much more.