November 10, 2014

Professional Development

To Be More Than Your Work, Try Being Your Work

By: Isaac Morehouse


There is an ongoing discussion about whether and to what extent the work you do should consume your thoughts and energies.  I think it’s healthy to remind yourself that you are more than your work or the projects or business you’re building.  It helps you keep valuable perspective, and will prepare you to handle possible the failure of the enterprise without the catastrophic feeling that you have failed as a person.

Doubtless what you’re working on now will not be the only thing you ever do, so it’s a good idea to continue cultivating other aspects of yourself that fall outside the aegis of your current work.  You want to build skills, habits of mind, and emotional intelligence to do more than what you’re currently engaged in.  But here’s the surprising part: the best way to prep yourself for other things is to dive fully in to what you’re currently doing.

I’m of the opinion that if you go at it 100% and hold nothing back; if you live and breath your work, you are more, not less likely to cultivate the attributes you need to succeed in life beyond it.  Whatever you’re currently doing, do it all the way.

A little test you can use is to ask yourself what your friends would think if you made a career change.  If you switched jobs or projects, would your friends be surprised?  Would they say, “I never thought you’d do anything else, because that was your life!”  If so, you’re on the right track.  Buy in.  Live it.  When the time comes, you’ll have far more human capital to bring to the table for the next project or phase of life than if you hold something in reserve.

Isaac Morehouse is president of Praxis.