I stood there thinking I can’t believe things turned out this way. I am that guy, you know the one who takes great pride in getting it right the first time, and always exceeding expectations. At least I always thought I was that guy.

The week even hell rejected

Ever had one of those weeks where it seems like nothing went right? Well, that was this me this week. It’s annual review time at work and let’s just say that my performance appraisal didn’t go anything like I thought it would. I imagined going into my manager’s office to receive a shiny new bonus and accolades to boast about in the break room. Instead, I left thinking WTF just happened?

I could go into details. Like maybe my car tire went flat, the washing machine stopped working, or the kids got bad grades at school, but why bother. The fact is, no one really cares about my sob story or the tiny violin I’m playing my sad song on. By this point, the old me would be knee-deep in snack cake papers and empty hot Cheetos bags so since my fingertips are not red and my breath does not smell like warm Star Crunch I consider that a win.

Learning during the storm

This week did have a bonus. This is the part you care about. I discovered I am more than my job. Not only that but that my self-worth is and should be wholly independent of my career. You care because that means it’s true for you too.

Isn’t that groundbreaking! Ok, fine it’s not but it was news to me and I suspect it is news to some of you as well. I never realized how much my self-worth is tied to what I do for a living. It sucked to realize that many of the positive things I think and feel about who I am are directly connected to something that I have no control over, other people’s opinions. Why the hell did I think my VP title made me who I am? I wasn’t always one and I think I liked me before.

Have you felt this way before?  Do you wear a subtle smirk when you tell people your job title, or how long you have been in your profession? C’mon I know you do. I saw you talking a bit louder than normal on your mobile phone when you came into Starbucks, so we would all know just how important you were while you ordered your low-fat latte with skim-shenanigans. It’s ok. Look good feel good, I get it.

The why helps the how

Do we blur the delineation between professional performance and personal value because we spend more time at work than we do with our friends and families? Is there any wonder that somewhere along the way we misplaced our ability to separate our personal pride from out professional pride? It’s true, one side does drive the other, but one is representative of your being and the other only represents who you are in a particular capacity. You may lose your job someday, but you’ll still be you”

At work, you are a resource to a company, in life, you are an autonomous entity. How you drive your corporeal being is where you should center your self-esteem and pride.

For men, this is especially true. We feel our value is intrinsically connected to what we offer in the workplace which translates to how effective we are at handling our fiscal responsibilities. When we do poorly at work its traumatic. It affects the way we feel about who we are.

Take back your power

Don’t mistake what you do for a living for what you offer as a human being. We sometimes get busy making an impression we forget to be what want others to think we are.  Status is inconstant, just like wealth. When you are old and rocking a pissy diaper, people will remember how you treated them, and not what you filled your résumé with.

“The biggest reward in life isn’t financial benefits. Those things are great but they don’t fill up your life, only living a life of substance will. Maya Angelou taught me an incredible lesson. Your legacy is every life you touch.” O.… Click To Tweet

Today, I want you to know that you are more than your job too. Don’t wait until you are sucking wind in a performance review to figure out that you are still an awesome person regardless of what the management team thinks about you.

They say each one teaches one, so this is my contribution.