Brené Brown's words always seem to hit me like a two-by-four to the head. She cuts right through my B.S., and her question -- "how can we embrace rest and play if we've tied our self-worth to what we produce?" -- is no exception.
Up until three years ago, I was the poster child for this concept of work. What I produced absolutely informed my self-worth. My identity was all wrapped up in what I did. I couldn't even imagine who I'd be without my work as one of my key definers. "Wife" and "Mother" weren't enough. I also needed "technology startup co-founder," "writer," "blogger," "academic," "consultant," "scientist," and all the other career-related labels I've carried along my way.
My life ebbed and flowed with my work. I felt great when my work was awesome; crappy when work was anything less than awesome. No surprise, I didn't thrive with that mindset. There was little room for playing, resting, and nourishing myself.
It took the breakdown of my body and then the failure of my tech startup for me to see my truth with a lot more clarity -- my worth was not tied to what I produced. I was so much more.
In that face down moment, I found my self-worth could stand completely on its own. I didn't need my profession as a crutch. I didn't need to be defined by what I did.
And that's when I started having a lot more fun. I was able to see how my work could become my play. I could take myself less seriously. And I could finally get the rest and nourishment that my body desperately needed.
And by the way, that's when I started producing the best work of my life. Funny what happens when I get out of my own way.
Thoughts to Noodle On and Share
Does what I produce or accomplish determine how I feel about myself?
What's hindering my ability to rest and play?
Who would I be if I could trust in my own "enough-ness?"