You Are More Than Your Work

This critical thought on leadership from my old friend Jack Taggart could help you go home happy today and feel about ten pounds lighter:

Your identity CAN’T be defined by your status as a leader, a career person, or your title. You are more than your work.

Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I’ll never say that title doesn’t matter. I find that easier to say when you already have a strong title. But at the end of the day it’s not as powerful as you need it to be, it’s a horrible position to lead from and if your whole identity is wrapped up in the EXTERNAL characteristics that you hold, especially matters that include other people’s choices, when you hit a roadblock, or when you fail, when things aren’t moving forward you will end up feeling like an INTERNAL failure.

That is game ending.

Instead, great leaders cultivate a sense of self outside of their work accomplishments, and even their personal relationships. Great leaders feel confident about themselves even when they are at home alone, not achieving anything.

Being ok with yourself and recognizing that you are more than your work, helps you remember that those you work with and those you lead are ALSO more than their work. Their worth is more than their output.

That helps you treat them like human beings with hearts and souls and dreams.

This was my favorite line from our conversation, “Take the work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously”. A quote Jack remembered from one of our mutual mentors.

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