Who you are matters more than what you are.
I never really got to know my father until he died.
To me, he had always been a workaholic. A distant, cheerful figure who sneaked into the house at dinnertime, filling the room with his booming voice as he cracked a joke about something funny that had happened at work that day, and then quickly retired for the night as my mum put the dishes away.
My sister and I always joked that his business was his third child. He certainly spent more time in his office than at home. He took great pride in being a self-made man, building a successful, multi-million business that provided for his family, and offering a five star service to his clients.
When he died, he was one of the town’s best know men. Literally everyone in Senigallia turned up at his funeral. The crowd was so large, it spilled well into the church’s courtyard.
Yet, no one I talked to that day mentioned his work. All the stories I heard were about his infectious sense of humour, the pranks he pulled on his unsuspecting victims, his love for football, the generous help he offered to his friends in need, the pride he felt in raising me and my sister…
It’s insane, isn’t it?
We spend so much time worrying about our career, when all that really matters in the end is who we are as a person.
Being before doing.
When you reverse the equation and switch the focus from achieving money, fame, and prestige, to leaving a legacy that touches people’s lives, you discover your true life’s work, what you’re meant to do on this planet.
Why Being Comes Before Doing
Hands up if you tie your identity to your job.
Whenever you meet a stranger for the first time, be it at a cocktail party or at the bus stop, the first question you ask them after their name is, “What do you do?”
When you’re still in high school and have no idea what to do with your life, all everyone wants to know is “What career are you going to pursue?”
When you finally get a job and you’re happy just to start working and making your way in the world, the pressure is on to get a promotion and climb up ever higher on the ladder: “You don’t want to be stuck in this role forever, do you?”
Society teaches you that you are what you do. And you’d better be someone important. Rich. Famous.
Have you ever felt resistance towards pursuing what should be the job of your dreams, go after that promotion, climb higher on that ladder?
Deep down you know the truth… A “better” job, more money, or a fancier title isn’t going to make everything better.
The only way to make everything better is to become the person you want to be. Once you start on that journey, you can find a job that perfectly suits you.
A job that truly fulfills you – without causing burnout and resentment in the process.
Have no idea what to do with your life? Subscribe to the newsletter below to download the Purpose Finder Worksheet and find out now:
How To Become The Person You Want To Be
Step 1: Decide Who You Want To Be
If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t get there. So, let’s decide the destination now.
Ask yourself: what kind of person do you want to be?
Here are a few examples:
- I want to be the kind of person who always has a kind word for everyone and puts a smile on people’s faces.
- I want to be the kind of person who listens attentively without judgement.
- I want to be the kind of person who confidently enters any room and lights it up.
- I want to be the kind of person who takes care of her body and finds time for self-care.
- I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t quit when the going gets tough.
- I want to be the kind of person who’s good at public speaking, whether it’s in a small room or in front of a huge crowd.
- I want to be the kind of person who always dresses her best and takes care of her appearance.
Take your time with this. Don’t pick something just because it sounds good. Pick something you genuinely want to be.
A powerful (if a little morbid!) exercise to help you with this is to think about your eulogy. How would you like people to remember you? What would you like them to say about you at your funeral?
Jot down everything that comes to mind. Then, pick one or two things that stand out to you the most now. You don’t want to get overwhelmed trying to be all the things!
Step 2: Take Action Towards Your Goal
Now you know what kind of person you want to become, it’s time to take action. What can you do to become that person?
You don’t have to make any drastic changes. The best approach is to start small.
For example, if you want to be healthier and take better care of your body, going for a 2 mile run will leave you feeling exhausted for days. Instead, can you go for a short walk every day, bicycle your way to work, or substitute your mid-afternoon chocolate snack with an apple?
If you want to become a better listener, every time you’re talking to someone, practice being more present instead than thinking about a reply in your mind.
If you want to become more confident, try starting a conversation with a stranger on an elevator or record short Instagram videos.
These are all small, sustainable changes you can implement every day without getting overwhelmed. Little by little, they all add up and transform you into the person you want to be.
Step 3: Say Yes To Opportunities
As you become the person you want to be, you’ll notice that opportunities start falling into your lap.
For example, if you’ve been flexing your public speaking muscles in order to become a better communicator, you may be asked to speak at conferences or to give important presentations at work.
Or, if you’ve been getting back into shape and eating healthier in order to take better care of yourself, you’ll find random people coming to you for nutrition and fitness advice. Could you create a nutrition plan for them, too?
Don’t ignore these opportunities. They’re usually the first seeds of a new career, signs that point you in the direction of your life purpose.
If you heed the whispers and take action, you could turn these unexepected opportunities into a soul-aligned business or leverage them to get a job at your dream company.
When you figure out who you want to be, the what will naturally follow.
Because in the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do for a living. It matters who you are as a person, how many lives you’ve touched, and how you’ve made people feel.
When you focus on that, everything else starts falling into place.
Over to you, now. Who do you need to become to get the career and life you dream of? Let me know in the comments below.