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Your identity and your practice

Your Practice is Not Your Identity, and Your Identity is Not Your Practice

It’s all too easy to confuse what we do with who we are. But here’s a thought: your practice, whether it’s your profession, sport, or any other pursuit, is not your entire identity. And vice versa.

The Trap

It’s a common scene: people introducing themselves, “Hi, I’m [Name], I’m a [Job Title].” It’s as if their existence boils down to their job. But this implies that our self-worth is handcuffed to our career success (or lack thereof). Why? Because when your practice hits a rough patch – and it might – should your identity take a nosedive along with it? I don’t think it should.

Identity Beyond Practice

Who are you beyond your job title, your athleticism, or your artistic skills? That’s the question I want you to ask. Your identity encompasses your quirks, your passions, your values, and your relationships. It’s the stuff that’s left when you strip away the business card and the badges. It’s what you laugh about, cry over, and dream of. So, if you’re only nurturing your professional identity, you’re neglecting a whole territory of personal growth.

Finding Balance

I’m not saying, “Quit your job and go find yourself.” But there’s great value in striking a balance. Start small. Cultivate hobbies unrelated to your work. Spend time with people who know nothing about your profession. And, most importantly, learn to value yourself not just for your achievements but for your human qualities – kindness, humour, resilience.

Redefining Success

Here’s a radical thought: success isn’t just about climbing a career ladder or getting the hallowed initialled team kit. It’s about personal fulfilment, joy, and contributing to something bigger than yourself. When you start measuring success in these terms, you realise that your practice is just one piece of the puzzle – an important piece, but not the whole picture.

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