Will the Real You…Step Forward

Who are You? Do you even know the Real You?

Do you ever feel like you are just another number at the deli counter?

Do you really matter?

Everything we do is tied to a number, but does that mean you are just…A NUMBER?

Do you really know yourself or someone else?

When you meet a new person, often the second question out of your mouth, after ‘What’s your name?’, is ‘What do you do?’. Our jobs are one of the main things we use to create our self-identity. It is no wonder. We work forty hours or more a week. Apart from sleeping, it is the activity we spend the most time on. But tying your identity to your career can be problematic. When things go badly at the office, it can leave you in a crisis. Being able to create a strong understanding of yourself outside of your career and employee number is vital if you want to become more resilient and be able to thrive, not just professionally, but in all aspects of your life.

1.      Identify Core Values

 Principles are the beliefs we carry with us throughout life. They form the foundation for how we act. Often, we can’t even name what they are. But we all have them. Honesty, integrity, loyalty, dedication are all principles, but we prioritize them in different ways. Being able to name those principles you value above all others will help you gain perspective of yourself as an individual outside of work. Looking back on experiences that have forced you to choose between two competing virtues can help you see what your core values are.

Talking to friends and family about how they see you will also help make this clear. Once you know what your most important principles are, you can start living in a way that exemplifies them – a way that is consistent with your beliefs. Creating a list of values set against a list of things you spend most of your time doing will help make it clear whether you’re living in a manner compatible with your beliefs. Knowing is half the battle here, so don’t be disheartened if the lists don’t synch up. You can change that – starting today.

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 2.      Make Time to Celebrate the Things you Love

 After bills and all the essentials are paid for, I spend my disposable income on things I like doing. Going out to restaurants, bars, movies, theatre, buying things for my hobbies, going on adventures, and traveling. Everyone does these things. But we are all different. Don’t be afraid to embrace those differences and identify how you enjoy spending your free time and money. Then indulge in them. Be mindful, present, about what you enjoy, and be unafraid to form opinions and to express them. Talk about your passions. Celebrate them.

 3.      Grow Outside of Work

 Work is fulfilling when you feel you are growing as a professional. Your personal life should echo that. If there are skills you want to learn or improve – a new language, an instrument, woodworking, knitting, it could be anything – just go for it. Learning new skills is fun. But you sometimes let work take over instead of living life.  Plan and budget your time and find room in your schedule to grow as a person outside of the office. This will help develop your identity and interests.

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 4.      Focus on Goals Outside of Work

 Milestones are easy to identify at work. A promotion, a raise, a successful new project are points to celebrate. It is less easy to identify milestones in our personal lives. We can all recognize that having a child, marrying someone, or moving to another city is a big deal. But that happens only occasionally. Don’t just celebrate getting older every year. Identify accomplishments in your life you are proud of. Did you finish a book recently? Did you run longer than you had before? Mastered a new recipe? Finished a passion project? Use these moments to celebrate yourself and who you are. Allowing yourself moments of indulgence will also motivate you to achieve new milestones. 

5.      Create Time Away from Work

 Work can invade all parts of your life. The constant beeping of the company smartphone, the late-night emails or urgent tasks that need to be completed right now will create the impression that you are just there to serve your corporate leaders. Create a clear divide between your work and your personal life. Shut down the laptop, turn off the phone, and be yourself. If you get anxious about things at work, give yourself time to worry. Check your work phone at 10 pm, say, but not before that. Take time for yourself and your identity will become clear.

 Your life is your own. You have to be yourself. Don’t let a Number determine your fate. Recognizing who you are will help you live in harmony, making life more fun and more fulfilling. Finding out who you truly are will enable you to be the person you want to be. And it will help you determine the things you want to share with the world. You will be the AUTHENTIC YOU!


  • Mark Danaher

    Career, Life and Leadership Coach, Virtual Speaker and Trainer

    Careers by Design LLC

    Mark Danaher is a career/life/leadership coach and certified career counselor who helps leaders elevate their careers and life to one they will love.  He helps his clients make the best of tough situations so they can be their best professionally and personally.   Mark uses coaching along with his extensive career development knowledge and expertise to offer his clients a uniquely holistic approach to making career and life pivots.  He helps his clients manage burnout, stress, and anxiety, integrate balance into their lives so they can make a meaningful change in their lives. He uses a holistic narrative career approach to help people tell their stories and learn from their careers and life.  Mark completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut in Economics and History and went on to earn his Masters at the University of Connecticut in Counseling Psychology.   Mark was the President of the National Career Development Association in 2014-2015 and continues to volunteer for the organization.   He is certified as a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Career Counselor, Holistic Narrative Career Professional, Retirement Options Coach, 2 Young to Retire Coach, Job, and Career Development Coach, Job and Career Transition Coach, and a Certified Career Service Provider.  Mark is a Master Trainer for the Facilitating Career Development Certificate and School Career Development Advisor certificate is actively coaching training, and teaching throughout the year.  He is now a Master Practioner of the Energy Leadership Index which is a great assessment to understand how you use your energy in your everyday life and under stress.  It gives you a great insight into how you can improve your everyday interactions and connections with colleagues, employees, family, and beyond.