The most intrinsic part of your identity is your personality: the ingredient you bring into this world. It comes out in the way you do life with people and ultimately, gives its flavor to whatever it is you choose to do with your life.
It would be a shame if what we do robs us of our identity. Yet, as you might have heard, it’s important to specifically be first, and to do second. What does this mean? To put it simply, you are first, and the outflow of that is doing. Yes, what you do should be an extension of your being, not the foundation of your identity.
Tragic is the moment we come to the realization that we’ve managed to hide all that we are behind what we do. The tragedy is in that without having the focus on who you are, you might end up wandering aimlessly or worse yet, spending your valuable life doing something that isn’t in accordance with who you are. As an example, this might look like being an acclaimed lawyer in order to please others, at the expense of one's dreams.
Yet again, purpose trumps status, and it’s no wonder why one of the top regrets of people during their final moments is that they wasted too much of their lives thinking about what other people thought of them.
The good news is that purpose is attractive! We’ve all seen them haven’t we? People who seem to live such exciting lives pursuing what they believe in and fighting for good causes in their respective spheres of life. These people are usually secure in their identity, full of life, influential and energetic.
Why is that? Could it be that we all share a common characteristic? I believe that like cars run on fuel, we run on purpose. When we do, we see life with more clarity, we feel better and the overflow of our joy can’t help but affect the people we interact with.
Maybe you have been one of those people. You once lead a life full of purpose and excitement but somehow it slipped away. I’d like to encourage you by saying that it’s normal. Our nature is to be forgetful. We need to constantly make decisions and use our energy resources to stay close to the things that remind us, refuel us and grow us. I hope this post can be one of those reminders for you!
The late Thomas J. Watson Sr., chairman and CEO of IBM famously stated that ‘you cannot stay in one place: you either go forward or go backward’.1 As a new year is approaching, let's make a commitment to move forward by embracing who we are holistically. Stop hiding behind doing and start being.
YOU are important, unique and well able to be a blessing to someone - just the way you are.