I was at a dinner with friends in NYC recently, it was a social activity and my seat mate was someone I’d never met before. As we chatted over a lovely meal I attempted to get to know them, asking polite questions about their world. Most of their conversation centered around their job, coworkers and work schedule. I tried asking what they do for fun, about their family, what are they passionate about, and the conversation always came back to their job.

Their identity was linked to their career.mynameis

The challenge can be that when you tie your identity to one area of your life, it becomes natural to judge your worth and value by your success in that one area of life. My seat mate was pretty down on themselves because they weren’t getting promoted at work and weren’t making ‘enough’ money and they’d allowed this to impact their overall self-confidence, their thought life, and their conversations. I got all of this over casual conversation over sushi and sake.
You are more than any one area of your life.
When you disappear into one area (like work) and allow that one thing (like your business) to measure your worth there are several dangerous things happening:
You’re not nurturing the other areas of your life.

If you identify (and measure your worth) by your career, and hence pour all of your energy into that – every other area of your life is likely not well attended to. Most entrepreneurs I work with share that they aren’t getting enough sleep, haven’t been prioritizing healthy eating or exercise habits. Many note that they either don’t have time to date or their spouse feels that they work too much.

You’re not fostering other ways of being.

You likely pull on a set of skills, strong suits, when focused on your work. Those skills serve you at work. However, when you’re with your lover, family or friends, those same skills may be a detriment. For example, at work, I’m a leader and the boss. It serves me to be decisive and more in my masculine. However, that same attitude and way of being doesn’t go over so well in my romantic relationships where partnership and a balanced masculine/feminine energy serves. If you’re hyper focused on work and giving it the majority of your energy it becomes easy to allow those work ways of being to dominate and loose touch with the other elements of your Self.

You lose perspective.

When you focus all of your energy on one area of life it becomes your barometer for success and ease in your whole world. This means that if something goes awry in that area it can feel like it’s destroying your entire life because you’ve allowed that one thing to become your life.

Specifically for entrepreneurs, this can be dangerous because your business needs to evolve and grow. When you become hyper attached to it as it is, you can start to unintentionally stifle your businesses growth.

You risk burn out.

It is inevitable that you will burn out on that one thing. Whether it’s because of the over investment or simply that you need to grow beyond that label.

You can lose touch with your Why.

It’s easy to disappear into it and forget why you allowed it to become your identity in the first place. What were you originally committed to that started it all?

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I find the last one especially dangerous because this leads to living in Survival mode, where you feel obligated to do things and are doing them because you’re supposed to which, long term, leads to feelings of overwhelm, loss of control, being lost and overall disempowerment.

If you notice that you’re starting to allow one are of your world dominate your identity, it’s okay. The first step is the noticing!

Does Your Business Define You?