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Hope you enjoy!
Time for a personal story.
I (Whitney) spent 20 consecutive years in school. For the better part of that time, I was taught that my academic achievements were more important than anything else I accomplished. School was the biggest thing I had going on, and it ruled my life.
Genuinely, I have no idea how I worked full time and went to grad school. The number of hours in the day just don't add up right.
Then I dove into work and that was the most important thing happening in my life. For years!
As a professional do-gooder it was entirely too easy to associate most of my identify with being a humanitarian and development professional. With wanting to make a difference. With whether or not I felt like I was succeeding in my professional goals.
After all, I'd been on a one-way road to being a "success."
But somewhere - close to burnout, close to 30, close to exhaustion - a feeling crept in that something about my value system was... wonky. There was something going on that I needed to correct.
What did success look like if there was no one way to "win" my career?
Fortunately, I was in the company of some absolutely incredible people who helped me navigate the confusion. Sure, I burned out, but I rose from those ashes with an infinitely clearer understanding of what I valued and how I identified success.
A core component? I will no longer associate the primary aspect of my identity with my work.
My work is just one part of who I am. It's important to me - I love my current work - but it's not all of me.
We've adopted this as one of the fundamental values of Bid Boss.
Since then, I've figured out a bit more of who I am, if I'm not defining myself just by my work. I'm an auntie, a business owner, a hobby artist, a great friend, a person with chronic pain, and a development professional. And I get to be all of those things (and quite a few more, tbh) all at the same time.
If you also needed this reminder, hop over to our Instagram let me know how in the comments this sits for you.
Part of growing a new identity beyond work is about figuring out what else you want to be! For me, a lot of that meant trying things on for size. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Unsure who you are without work? Explore what your sense of self could look like and how to get there. (article)
What happens when your career does become your identity? Nothing great . (video)
OMG get a hobby. No, hobbies are just as important as work. (article)
Allow your identity crisis to play out. Fighting it won't help , unfortunately. (video)
Need fodder to justify time off? Send this article to your boss as a cheeky reminder. (article)
Want to feel more connected? Consider joining one of our Boss-to-Boss cohorts. These peer networks are designed to foster community in our inherently competitive world.