Who Are You Without Your Career?

Peter Bregman has written a book called: 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. In the book he offers thoughts about focusing your life and your time so that you are moving forward in a focused direction, doing the things that are the most important in your life.

One of the questions he asks, in the process of finding that “right” direction is this:  “If you took away your job – who are you?”

So often we define ourselves by our career. Who are you? A professional speaker, an accountant, a school teacher, a police officer, etc. 

As women, we will not only define ourselves by our career but also by our family status. “I’m Susie’s Mom, I am a grandmother of six, a mother of four, etc.”

Our health can also define who we are; “a cancer survivor, a stroke victim, a diabetic.”

Certainly all of these important areas of our life are defining, but do they represent our true being? If we take away health, family and work…what is left? Who are we?

Peter says this:

“Who am I if you take away my work? That’s a question to which we’d better have a solid answer. And yet many of us don’t. Fortunately, once we realize this we can do something about it. We can diversify.

I don’t mean diversifying your money, though that’s a good idea, too. I mean diversifying your self. So that when one identity fails, the other ones keep you vibrant. If you lose your job but you identify passionately as a mother or a father, you’ll be fine. If you have a strong religious identity or view yourself as an artist, you’ll be fine. If you see yourself as an athlete, or even simply as a good, loyal friend, you’ll be fine.”


So what are some of the ways you view yourself? Take a moment and write down five personal identities:


Besides your family role and your career, what did you put? Were there any surprises? Are you nurturing those other roles?

If you had to put the roles in order – which one comes out on top? Which role do you enjoy the most? Are there any roles you wish were on the list but you gave up years ago? Singing career, tennis player, computer programmer, painter?

Is there something you can do to change how you view yourself to create a more fulfilling life?

All great questions to concern on this middle of the week day. Visit us on Facebook and join in the discussion.