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Blog post by: Edward Maggard

What is one of the first questions you are asked when someone meets you for the first time? “What do you do” right?

That and about a million other things in our life have made us feel, at times, that what we do for work defines us. Even though we know the importance of family, friends, and faith, we still catch ourselves thinking that our worth is based on what we do rather than who we are.

Especially during these times when most people are working at home, our self-worth can take a beating. Because we aren’t necessarily going through the rituals of shaving or putting on makeup, dressing for work and driving to an office, we may be thrown off a bit. For those of us who travel for a living, staying home can put us even more off-kilter. In my younger days as a leader in a large non-profit, I remember catching myself thinking, you must really be important or they wouldn’t fly you around the world to do it.

If you find yourself struggling with motivation and trying to find the energy to bring yourself up to your full potential, this is a good time to reflect on why you do what you do. Making money and providing for your family are good and noble motivators. Of course, many people take the money thing to an extreme. Usually, those people are revered from afar, but if we get to know them too well we truly wouldn’t want to work for them.

So, on what should our worth be based? Think of the roles you have in life. You are perhaps spouse, parent, boss, associate, neighbor, friend, sports fan etc. (OK, I threw that last one in to see if you’re paying attention). These things all contribute to our identity, but our worth is really based on who we are at a character level. To borrow a phrase from economics, let’s call that our “real net worth”. Here’s a quick exercise for you. Make a list of what you consider to be your best character qualities. You might want to start with honesty, loyalty, courage, and go from there. Take heart, as you look at this list, that you are more than your job.

LeaderImpact has some great group discussion materials based on popular leadership books. This material, called Integrated Life Studies, can be found here. You may want to check these out, and consider getting a small group of your peers to join you, virtually for now, in discussing how to grow together, and increase your “real net worth”.

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