Your title doesn't matter.
Yep, I said it but please allow me to explain my bluntness.
I bet if I asked you could remember the last time a stranger or new acquaintance posed the question, "What do you do?" For such an open-ended question, everyone knows what’s implicitly being asked. This sort of inquiry is quite common in American society & almost immediately, as in without hesitation, follows an introduction.
The traditional path one is supposed to follow goes something like complete high school, graduate college, & land a decent paying job in a stable, yet growing field with all the benefits so you can begin to lay the foundation for the rest of your life.
This is both the norm and the popular route due in large part to its comfort & familiarity so it’s easy to understand where the emphasis (and insane amount of pressure) on your chosen career path comes from. Yet, despite the ease & security of a more traditional path, this decision may still leave you feeling a bit empty or like you’re missing out on something.
We are supposed to have our lives mapped out before we can figure out how it is we really want to spend our time. So what happens when you follow the rules to the so-called promised land of predictable schedules & employee benefits?
Let's take a look at a handful of scenarios.
You accept a good job with plenty of perks but it's not how you want to fill your days so you find yourself more excited to go home & work on a passion project than when you walk into work each morning.
You settle for a high-paying job with decent healthcare, a 401K, yada yada because at least then you'll be able to buy stuff & stuff makes us all happy, right?
You've been in the same mundane position for X years and you know you're unhappy but you think it would be downright stupid to up & leave said lousy position.
You say yes to what's supposed to be a temporary position & then find yourself in that same exact position a year later with no growth & little to no hope for a way out.
You commit to spending most of your time working towards your dream job because that's when you'll finally have it all, but you achieve that desired position & still feel unfulfilled.
The modern career debate boils down to two principal arguments. One side contends that you believe what you do for a living is vital to a point where you would feel lost without that block of time in your daily agenda. You are living your life for others if you happen to fall under this paradigm & therefore, you’re restricting your happiness & true potential.
Conversely, you understand the notion that your title is just that, and so you can easily rattle off other things, people, activities, etc. which bring you enjoyment. There is a good chance you are somewhere in the process of filling your days with more meaningful work if you associate yourself with this side of the career coin.
Granted, there is a lot of grey area here along with a ton of variables for both arguments, but for the sake of this post let’s stick to these two ideals & turn the focus to why you are more than a title.
Put simply, you cannot be defined by any one singular aspect of your life, let alone your job. It may comprise a solid chunk of your time, but I promise you there's a lot more to who you are than a 9-to-5.
YOU YOURSELF, FIRST & FOREMOST
You matter. It's as simple as that and you deserve to feel happiness & success in all areas of your life.
YOUR LOVED ONES/SQUAD/INNER CIRCLE
Whatever you call the group of people closest to you, they matter. And I highly doubt your title is the backbone of your relationship because they love the person you are underneath the stress & dress clothes.
YOUR PASSIONS & HOBBIES
Those unique insights to your soul, they matter. These are the things which light you up, keep you moving forward, & distinguish you as an individual.
YOUR DREAMS & LIFE PLANS
Those deep-seated desires of yours, they matter. There's something to be said about the thoughts that run on repeat in that mind of yours & it's about time to realign your focus.
If you need to put a label on who you are, then this is where I would start because these four areas are the heart & soul of it all.
If you're feeling confused or frustrated because you did everything you were supposed to & you've worked so freakin' hard to get where you are just to wake up unhappy more often than not, you are not alone.
Ask yourself these questions & make room for what surfaces because your ideas, thoughts, & longings have merit and may actually hold the answer to what’s missing from your life.
↠ AM I MAKING A LIVING OR MAKING A LIFE?
↠ WHAT DO I LOVE DOING ABOVE ALL ELSE?
↠ WHAT WOULD MY LIFE LOOK LIKE WITH MORE FUN, JOY, & LOVE?
↠ HOW WOULD I SPEND A DAY OFF WITH NO ONE TO ANSWER TO OTHER THAN MYSELF?
Ultimately, it comes down to this:
You either want to follow your heart & feel good about the decisions you make or you want to settle for safety & wrestle with what could have been.
I KNOW YOU ARE A MYRIAD OF feelings, desires, needs, wants, hobbies, interests, & circumstances at any given time.
I know you want more for yourself in the way of a meaningful career & existence.
I know you're curious about what things may look like if you were doing something you loved everyday.
Change is scary and that is a very real & true statement for just about every single one of us. It's the fear of the unknown combined with the fear of failure & who the heck wants to face those fears?
the good news?
THERE ARE PLENTY OF BACKROADS, UNMARKED PATHS, & new routes THAT ARE JUST WAITING TO BE EXPLORED.
You are more than a title, be that what’s on your business card or in the bio section of your Instagram profile. Reducing yourself to a word or even a phrase is really doing yourself & your soul a disservice.
So maybe the next time someone asks you what you do you can flip the question around & ask them, “What do you like to do?”
Are you unsure of your next step? Do you want to get a better look at your options? A coaching series may be just the thing you need to turn things around.