Diversifying Identities

Finding Resilience Beyond Your Career

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“What do you do?“, as we meet new friends, we ask about what they do for a living. When we catch up with old friends, we desperately want to know what they are going on in their careers. But what about other aspects of life?

What do you do when you have free time? What do you do other than your work?

If we take our work aspect of self away, what do we have left? Many people suffered after retirement, no matter business person, an athlete, or parents. We mostly identify ourselves in one aspect of life, being a world-class sports player, a multi-million business owner, or a mother/father. We built our life around the aspects that we cared about the most, so when that goes away, our sense of self slipped away as well.

Placing your entire identity on a single aspect can be incredibly harmful

When talking about wealth management, we all know that it’s better not to put all eggs in one basket. Diversifying investment is essential, no matter what approach you carry out, the idea is simple: whenever one aspect is failed, you’ve got another one, so you won’t end up losing everything. And to better diversification, paying attention to correlation is also imperative. When one goes down, the others should stand strong.

And so does our identity. Diversifying identities allows us to become more resilient and less afraid of changes and defeats.

Throwing yourself on one aspect of life can only work for a while, but not in long term, since you never know when life can throw you a curve ball. For example, if students failed the test, workers lost jobs, or parents can’t handle kids leaving home for college, the list can go on and on.

How making work as a whole-self causes me to lose my identity

I’ve been in this identity crisis before. I put a lot of focus on my career, and the way how I invested in myself and other areas around me is all related to my career. I have no hobbies or interests other than performing well at my jobs. I was determined to be successful because I’d already given up my high-paying occupation as a clinician, I couldn’t bear to not have recognition here, otherwise, who am I and what am I doing? I saw career success as of utmost importance. This eventually resulted in self-harming thoughts occurring when things don’t go well at work. I considered myself a total failure.

Thanks to this event, I started to prioritize self-care. Now I consider myself, not only a product designer, and clinician, but also a writer, a creator, a mindfulness practitioner, a mentor, a plant parent, an animal lover, a philanthropist, a partner, a good friend, and a growing person.

Invest in hobbies and cultivate other identities to increase resilience

You can be anything you want as you want to be. I love that the best part of myself is being a person who values growth because there won’t be failures, only lessons to learn. I feel I became more resilient to changes and setbacks.

I recently failed to get an offer for an internship role in a large tech company. Even though I felt I am overqualified for the position, I still didn’t get it. Do I feel sad? Yes, part of me feels disappointed about being turned down for an internship position, and part of me doubts my professional abilities.

But it didn’t defeat me like 2 years ago anymore. Because I know I am more than just a corporate worker. My validation of my sense of self comes from multiple sources, I get joy and confidence by writing and sharing content online, and I made an impact by contributing to the mentors’ community. I bring smiles to people around me, whether my family or friends. I am more than a rejected role.

And you are, too.

What do you like to do and truly care about? Invest in there, and be present with the activities you are in, finding and developing other aspects of you, those independent and beautiful you.

That’s all for this week, until then, take care!

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