When our job defines us, we risk losing our true selves. This is especially true when we are passionate about the work we do for an organization – or for ourselves. We are so easily absorbed by our role we become blinded to the truth: we have abandoned the creative work that truly lights us up. The projects that, when we think about them, fuels our energy even after a long day at the office. For many of us, there is no reason to not pursue our creative dreams — we have the resources to do so. The only thing holding us back is the belief that our work isn’t good enough. It’s our own self-doubt that convinces us we shouldn’t even try because it might not work.
Your Body of Work is More than Your Job
Does your job define who you are? Although I may not like to admit it, for most of my life I’d answer yes. However, I would not say that my career has defined me. Let me explain. I’ve never been good at drawing a line between personal and professional. Mostly because I’ve always done work I believe in, but also because I think it’s ridiculous to think we have two completely separate lives that aren’t interconnected. There’s something quite beautiful about the ability to float between two worlds, both filled with interesting ideas and fascinating people you enjoy collaborating and spending time with. I think of my work as more than a job: it is the collection of things I have created or contributed to over the years. While some of my efforts are in the form of what most consider work, others endeavors include volunteering with community organizations and other fulfilling projects. For me, work has never been, and hopefully will never be, a 9 to 5 job.
It is possible to be deeply committed to your job – and your work, while keeping your own voice and having the courage to pursue creative ideas. The two are compatible. Today, with so many people disengaged and unhappy with their employment, I know how lucky I am to have had some of the most incredible career opportunities that have undoubtedly shaped me into the person I am today.
Do the Work
Deep down, we all want to do work that matters. We want to know we’re contributing in a meaningful way. How then can we do our best, wherever we are, while at the same time strengthening our true voice to pursue a creative project that feeds our soul and fuels our purpose? We must simply start. Write the horrible first draft. Plan the epic debacle of an event. Post the video despite the zero likes. Create the business that may fail. It’s only by starting that we can uncover the potential of our ideas and see the unlimited opportunities that lie on the other side of our insecurities.
Whether you work for someone else or you’re building a business, never let your true passion die. Allow yourself the creative freedom to explore the things that interest you. Be bold enough to start projects even if only to enjoy the process of becoming the person you are meant to be. Build a body of work that isn’t defined solely by your job, but by everything you’ve contributed to the world, leaving it a better place than you found it.