I recently joined a closed Facebook group for female writers called Creative Central, run by Debbie Burns, a writing coach. Recently, she did a series of Facebook Live writing workshops, all gearing towards her upcoming six-month long writing course called Fiction Expedition. Planning and paying for a wedding and honeymoon don’t leave wiggle room to join Fiction Expedition this cycle, but I’d really love to do it in the future. At any rate, the first Facebook Live workshop was Courage Clinic. Debbie asked us to list ten things about ourselves and, off to the side – should they come to us, things that we do. She reminded us that the things we do are not who we are, they don’t belong in the same list.
This got me thinking of another topic for the Creative & Professional Rebirth Series: Identity.
Careers can be consuming. We work 40+ hours a week at the same desk. We see our coworkers often more than we see our family. We do work that makes other people very wealthy, leaving little time to put towards our own fulfilling projects. At some point, it becomes very hard to separate who we are from what we do. We become the job.
But, the job isn’t who you are. Don’t make your identity the thing that you do, the job that you have. Once that is stripped away, once you’ve lost that job or moved from that position… Who are you without it?
Things that you do are hats on your head. Your job, and all the facets of that job, are all hats. Who you are, your true unique identity, is what you carry when the hat falls off.
Who you are: Empathetic, creative, rational, fierce, imaginative…
What you do: marketing, writing, teacher, coach, astrology, speaking…
Ask yourself: Who are you when what you do is stripped away? Who are you when you remove your identity from the job that leaves you unfulfilled, even if you also happen to be exceptionally good at it?
Then, ask: How can you cultivate and own that identity? How can you use it to grow your purpose and fill your soul? How can you harness it to set you on the path to a more fulfilling career? How can you use it to inspire change in your life?
As Debbie said, “Love who you are. Own your story.”