How are you likely to respond if I ask you the question “Who are you”?
“My name is Stephanie.” That’s your name. Who are you?
“I’m a project manager at Acme Design.” That’s what you do. Who are you?
Do you see where I’m going with this? Those are descriptors of you, but they tell me no more about who you are than the other project manager named Stephanie at Acme Warehouse in Toledo, Ohio.
In his book Victory Over the Darkness, author Neil Anderson posed a great question that I’m going to steal here: “Is who you are determined by what you do? Or is what you do determined by who you are?” While Anderson posed this as part of a book on Christianity, I’m going to use it a bit differently.
Let me rephrase it: Do you define yourself by the work you do (that I know so many of you hate) rather than choosing work that is an extension of who you are at your core?
Too often we let things outside of ourselves define us. We go to jobs that suck the life out of us so that we can keep up with the mortgage payment on the house we bought next to the Joneses. And when people ask us who we are, we use that miserable existence as the definition.
News Flash: The Joneses are miserable. I don’t want to keep up with them and you shouldn’t either.
I wonder how much more fulfilling life would be if we looked deep inside of ourselves and asked the question “Who am I?” then followed it up with “And what would I be great at?”
Don’t let what you do define who you are. Instead, figure out who you are and let that revolutionize what you do.
Question: Who are you?