Forming an Identity Outside of Work

connectivity identity inspiring others personal development personal growth Apr 30, 2024
Jody Holland Training & Speaking | Leadership
Forming an Identity Outside of Work

Forming an identity outside of work can be just as important as investing in your professional development. Work may take up a large portion of your life, but it should not be your whole life. We often associate who we are as individuals with the success we have achieved, but we are so much more than our accomplishments or lack thereof. We are not defined by what we can or cannot do. We have the power to become whoever we want to be.

When someone asks you to tell them about yourself, what is your go-to response? Most people start explaining what they do for a living, but that’s not really who we are; that’s just a role we play. Our job is important, but so is our life outside of work. What brings you joy? How do you relax and recharge? Who are you as a person?

Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Remember to take some time for yourself, do something you love every day, connect with people, and focus on growing personally. You contribute more to the world by being a good human than you do by merely showing up to your job. What is the identity that you want to form outside of work?

For a long time, my identity was rooted in my education, the grades I made, and how far I could advance myself. When I finished my master’s degree, it was the first time in my entire life that I was no longer going to school. I felt a bit lost at first, and I had more free time than I knew what to do with, especially because I was working full time while in school. All of a sudden, I could go to work, go home, and actually do what I wanted to do. But that was precisely the problem. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my free time or what I wanted to be known for.

I started looking for new hobbies and new ways to develop myself outside of school. I started taking pottery classes with a friend, I reignited my love for reading, and I channeled my energy into becoming the best human I could be. I did not have to prove myself with my grades, but I did have to prove myself as an individual. I surprised myself with how much I could accomplish outside of work or school, and it gave new meaning to my life. I am not tied to just one thing. I am whoever I want to be, and sometimes that means being a friend, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a reader, a learner, or something new each day.

So how will you prioritize yourself outside of work? Your personal development is just as important as making a living, and in many cases, it can aid in that as well. Just remember, you are more than what you do, so who will you choose to be?


-Meghan Slaughter

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