You Are Not What You Do

…Although what you do can be an extension of who you are. Anna Quindlen said it best, “Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work.”

Ask someone about who they are and they’ll rattle off jobs, titles, company names, etc. I’ve been guilty of this too. My “aha moment” came when I realized that there is no job, no matter how perfect I am at it or valuable to it, that will ever feel that I am irreplaceable. The system just wasn’t built that way.

If you move on from a job, that job will find someone else —there is work to be done after all. If you pass away while at said job, you will be mourned and then you’ll have to be replaced because the work continues. We have had great men and women, leaders, and geniuses, they have come and gone and the worlds they’ve built have moved on without them. I’m not trying to be morbid, my point is to show that you cannot tie your identity to what you do. What you do was never meant to define you. No job has the power to do that.

There is nothing wrong with having a job that you find fulfilling and if you’re in a less than fulfilling job, take comfort in the fact that nothing lasts forever. Everything is flux. The important thing is not to forget to show up for everything else. I often say that we’re here because Life wants to know itself through us. Our work experiences are just a small portion of that.

Don’t miss out on the story your child is excited to share with you —no matter how mundane. Don’t miss out on bath time or story time. Don’t miss out on picnics at the park, or Jazz night. Don’t miss out on the silly but shared experience with the stranger behind you at the coffee shop. Don’t miss out the kind word that could be spoken at the perfect time to your co-worker while at the elevator.

We all rush to work. We live to work. We have responsibilities, we say. It usually takes suffering and tragedy to wake us out of our self-imposed slumber. The loss of a loved one, the loss of the job we cherish so much, the loss of our health and our comfort. Loss, any kind of loss. Then we wake up. It’s never too late to wake up.

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