BE Set aside the to-do list for a moment. All those tasks waiting for you, they can wait a bit longer. Any concerns you may have about the perceived importance of the work you do, let it go. Pause and ask yourself a couple questions – Who am I? Who do I want to be?
Dig a little deeper: What are my values? Beliefs? My vision? My perspective on the world around me? My gifts and talents? What are the key experiences and memories that have shaped me? In what areas am I particularly knowledgeable? What relationships are most important to me?
While the world focuses on what we do, as discussed in the previous post, everything really hinges on who we are. This is the starting point. Before you can effectively assess what you want to do, you need to have a clear understanding of who you are and who you want to be.
The doing is indeed important, of course. If we didn’t do anything the world would quickly come to a screeching halt and we would be rather bored. However, what we do needs to flow from who we are. Doing needs to spring from being. Our actions should build on our gifts and talents. Our decisions need to be in alignment with our beliefs and our values.
What we do should also be an expression of who we are. What we do does not define us, but it should reveal us. If what we do does not paint an accurate picture of who we are then we are not being authentic. It’s an indication that our doing is not in alignment with our being. This is not sustainable, and it will eventually reveal something else about who we are.
Connecting this all together in a powerful way, what we do should in turn enrich who we are. What we do should reinforce or refine our values, increase our knowledge, improve our abilities. The primary purpose of doing is that we become more from it. When all this is in place it creates a cycle of growth.
Unfortunately, this can also become a cycle of decline. When what we do is not true to our values, or when our doing only drains us and pulls us away from what is important to us, then it becomes a downward spiral. We become less from it, and in turn are able to do less. We don’t become all that we are meant to be.
Once you have a clear understanding of who you are and who you can be, then pick up that task list again. For each item on the list ask yourself, is what I’m doing and how I do it true to who I am? Is it in alignment with who I am and express who I am? Does what I do and how I do it enrich who I am? Does it affirm my values and lead me towards my vision? Do I learn from it? Does it challenge me to become even more than I am now?
I am not who I am because of what I do.
I do what I do because of who I am.
Photo courtesy of AESThetic Photography