Your identity is not your career.
Let me say this again: Your identity is not your career.
I’ve encountered very ambitious young adults over the course of my time in school and in business owners who have a deep sense of guilt if they aren’t participating in something ‘productive’.
I’ve also encountered ambitious people who take the word ‘hustle’ to the next level – you always see them working on something. Taking breaks is not in their vocabulary. Their calendars are stacked with to-do lists to the minute.
This used to be me.
It’s a statistic that the majority of start-ups fail within their first three years of business. But consider this – just because a career move fails, doesn’t mean that you do. Moments are this is exactly where you thrive.
We are taught our entire lives that making mistakes is bad.
This is especially embedded in us through school, where we get rewarded when obeying authority without breaking the rules. There are many ways the school system teaches you subconscious lessons that translate into your life after you become a student. I could make a whole other blog post on this, but I want to break down 2 key items that I’ve learned.
- Looking for external answers: We’re taught this habit when completing assignments – whether you’re answering a question, completing a paper, or finishing an exam, to cite and research somebody else’s work. In real life, this translates to valuing other’s opinions above our own. Trust yourself. You don’t need somebody else’s opinion to validate your choices. You know yourself best. Believe in who you are and what you bring to the table. You already have it in you.
- Challenging authority: When was the last time you were rewarded for challenging your professor’s views, or the way they ran their classes? In real life, this translates to learning how to please authority figures, rather than questioning the rules. When creating the life of your dreams, you learn to improvise when problem solving. Speaking your mind and vocalizing your opinions is an asset.
What happens next? I stopped doubting the process, put my trust in myself to thrive, learned from my mistakes, and built a stronger business.
In fact, I even wanted to experiment outside my digital marketing comfort zone and branch into educational event planning and event production.
Becoming an event planner was never something that I considered until I jumped in full swing from early 2018 to the end of 2019.
At one point, I even told myself that I was going to stop being a digital marketer completely, and become a full-time event planner because of how diverse and challenging it was.
Fast forward a year and a half, I came back to my digital marketing roots. I wanted to try the e-commerce space for the first time. Event planning became overwhelming, and I made the decision to leave pursuing it full time. To this day, e-commerce is a platform that I’m still learning new things about while still taking on digital marketing clients.
Starting to build a career in your early 20s and hustling is important, but don’t lose yourself in it. You’re young, and you will change your mind a few times. That’s perfectly normal and okay.
Questions to ask yourself when choosing a career:
- Why did I choose my career? Would I still be doing this if it wasn’t for the money?
- Am I being true and authentic to myself? What does authentic look like to me?
- What is the short-term and long-term lifestyle that I want to build, and how will my career fit into it?
- Have I been feeling stressed, overworked, and overwhelmed in the career path I’ve chosen?
- Does the career that I’ve chosen bring me fun and joy?
Your lifestyle changes that create a better workflow.
- Integrating long breaks and rest days
- Opening up about stress and challenges
- Acting quick when inspiration hits
- Reading 1 book a week on entrepreneurship, personal growth, and finance
- Building a trusted network of specialized people for when client leads come in
- Cutting down on consuming social media, cutting down on screen time
- Creating more for myself, and creating for fun!
I started a business as a medium to achieve financial freedom, build generational wealth for my current and future family, and allow me to enjoy the luxury of my time. But that isn’t who I am.
Your identity isn’t your career or your education. Your identity isn’t the business you own or the amount of money you make. Your identity is in your values. It’s what you loved as a kid when you had no pressure to grow up. It’s the future version of yourself that you envision yourself becoming. It’s the calling you have every morning when you wake up. It’s what brings you joy and happiness.