You don’t have to be defined by your professional status

Article provided by life coach, Carole Ann Rice

It gets to that part in a conversation with a stranger when you are itching to ask what they do and either anticipating with glee or dread the same enquiry. 

You don't have to be defined by your professional statusWe can then define the person from their employment status; their power, cleverness, income and social currency.

No wonder then that when we retire, have children or lose our jobs the “what do you do?” moment can be about as comfortable a question as “how much do you earn?”  What we do gives us meaning and purpose and a framework to our lives.  We develop self esteem via our skills, authority or people’s dependence on our time, energy and expertise.

It’s good to feel relevant and of use, but equally it is vital we learn to develop a new kind of prophylactic to powerlessness and that is to develop the state of irrelevancy.  It’s who we are not what we do that matters and busyness, duty and a sense of being irreplaceable means we are dependent on status to provide our sense of self and wellbeing.  As we age and in a time of employment insecurity these pillars of self cannot be relied on.  So what can we have in place to support us?

Most of us will retire and some of us will find ourselves unemployed but withdrawal from relevancy can be painful.  We hear or know of people who find themselves depressed after giving up work whether by choice or circumstance.  We don’t feel connected any more. We don’t seem to matter.  Who are we without our roles?

Having a purpose whether through employment or of being service to others is hugely rewarding, but why not try to make it your new job to be happy being irrelevant?  There is freedom when you aren’t dependent on outcomes or impact.  There is joyfulness in not needing to fix, organise, respond or prove anything in order to feel valued.

Here are a few coaching exercises to help you to become the number one self supporting employee of your own workforce.

Develop a love of small activities instead of where they lead.

Relish moments of peace and solitude. Sitting in cafes, on park benches or reading with no agenda.

Try not to “fix” others as they share their issues.  Just listening with intent is a healing act of love.

Develop a saunter instead of rushing here and there.

Empower others to make their own decisions. Avoid rescuing or taking control “because someone has to do it”.

Just by letting it be.

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