Giving up your identity to gain professional blissWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Should a woman give up her last name when she gets married? As I watched this heated debate unfold in a discussion on Facebook a few weeks ago, I could not help but notice the two opposing viewpoints shared a common, unhealthy flaw.
One group of people argued a woman should not have to lose her identity when she married. The other group argued the psychological health of a family required a common name. Both opposing groups passionately argued their case, but both groups felt their name created their identity. Does a name create your identity, or is it something else?
Losing a job can sometimes feel like a loss of identity. A man who was in-between jobs told me he struggled in conversations with people unaware of his unemployed status. Should he tell them he was unemployed, or should he tell them what he was going to be doing next? Does a job status create your identity, or is it something else?
Business professionals articulate their identity in terms of the responsibilities they hold, the brand of products they sell, and the competitive advantages they represent professionally. What would happen if the company changed your responsibilities, stopped selling a particular brand of products, or lost its competitive advantages? Would your professional identity be lost?
In all contexts, the desire to articulate your personal or professional identity is a natural feeling. Identity, or our understanding of it, is the foundation we use to build our talking points, create our sales presentations, and prioritize our professional tasks. This foundation is flawed; our identity is not something easily recorded on a census questionnaire.
Name, occupation, and employer are not the building blocks of who we are as business professionals. These ephemeral line-items have little value to us, and they have even less value to those we serve both personally and professionally.
In fact, no description can be written, printed in a brochure, or explained on the telephone that sufficiently describes who you are and how you help clients. Even though true identities cannot be read aloud, they can be felt by others.
Yes, some people just have that “something special” about them. We’re not sure what it is, but we can certainly feel it when it is present. This unquantifiable feeling can be felt when you hear a third-shift convenience store employee explain how they make sure the coolers are stocked, the floors are mopped, and the store is ready for a new day. This feeling can be felt when you watch a young man demonstrating his line of business machines, and it can be felt as you sit and experience a business consultant passionately simplify your financial statements.
Everywhere you look, you can find these unique, passionate individuals loving life. The passion seeps from their pores uncontrollably, and we smile proudly when we feel its presence in the room. This passion does not come from their name, their occupation, or their employer.
This passion comes naturally for those individuals savvy enough to enjoy serving others, regardless of what that service looks like. These passionate people understand something that we can all learn from. They understand that by doing their absolute best work, no matter what that work is, they are improving the lives of other people. Their passion is not manufactured; they do not give to enhance their identity.
By letting go of our need to protect and understand our identity, we are letting go of the one thing holding us back. Every businessperson is designed to give something to another person, and when we give, we tap into our passions.
Let your passions come out in everything you do. Your passions create “something special;” they fill a room. Your passions, not your identity, will allow you to soar above changes in your name, your occupation, or your company.
To read an opinion about why some people resist discovering professional passion go to www.boltfromtheblue.com and enter the word IDENTITY in the blue print box.