Detaching your sense of worth from your productivity and work is a big topic and one I see a lot of people struggling with, whether you work for someone else or for yourself.
If you love what you do and give it 100%, it’s easy to link the work you produce with your sense of worth. For business owners, this can be even more pronounced. You started your business for a reason, right? You have a passion for something and you want to see it do well.
Separating who you are with what you do in these scenarios is… tough. And I’m certainly no exception here. I’ve often fallen into the trap of thinking the amount of content I create and the impact that content has makes me worthy. But this kind of thinking isn’t sustainable.
We’re humans, not robots and we simply can’t be productive all the time. When anxiety first came up for me in 2017, it had a lot to do with the amount I was pushing myself at work. I was trying to give 100% to everything work-related, my day-job, my blog and my coaching.
Being forced into therapy made me see that this couldn’t go on. I learned that giving less than 100% is OK. I learned that rest is essential if I want to do the work I love.
I still have days where I forget this (nobody’s perfect) but there are a few key things I come back to time and time again to help me separate my worth from my productivity.
Stop seeing worthiness as a condition
This is the first thing I’d love you to get your head around. Many of us see worthiness as something we can only feel ‘if’ something else happens. ‘If’ we do well at work. ‘If’ we have a happy relationship. ‘If’ we’re financially successful. ‘If’ everyone likes us.
Instead, we need to understand that our worthiness is inherent. It’s always there, we do not have to do anything to deserve it. We might not always be able to see it, but it is always there. If you find yourself treating worthiness as a condition, try creating a mantra you can repeat such as “I am always worthy” and use this to challenge your thinking.
See rest as part of the work
This is something Ruth Poundwhite talks about and I couldn’t agree more. Try to reframe rest as part of the work, because without resting and taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to do your best work.
Remind yourself that you deserve relaxation and moments of rest, regardless of how much work you’ve done. Get in tune with your energy levels using meditation, journaling or mood tracking. This will help you see that we all have ebbs and flows when it comes to energy and that some times simply require more rest than others.
Enjoy the process
When it comes to work we can get so fixated with the end result that we forget to just… enjoy the process. Try and be more mindful while working and recognise where moments of joy show up in the process.
For me, there’s nothing quite like feeling in the flow of writing. When I’ve got good music playing, the words are coming easily and I’m excited about what I’m writing. Sure, I still feel a sense of pride at the end result, but it’s also nice to just bask in the joy of doing, regardless of the result.
Remind yourself who you are outside of work
Our society loves to pin our identity to our work. It’s one of the first things we ask when we meet someone, “So, what do you do?”, it’s no wonder we see ourselves as nothing but our job. And I don’t want to pretend that our work doesn’t have a lot to do with our identity and worth, but it’s important to remind ourselves of the other things we are.
For example, being a writer and a coach is a huge part of who I am, but if I lost my ability to do both tomorrow, I would still be me. I would still have the same values, passions and beliefs. I would still be a daughter, sister, girlfriend. Try writing a list of all the things you ‘are’ that aren’t related to your work, I think you’ll be surprised at how much there is.
Invest in play
Switching off from work and the seriousness of life now and then is so important. I write and talk about heavy subjects a lot and it can get a bit much sometimes. I need my moments of fun to take myself away from it all at times and find this really helps me connect to non-work Kat.
So, invest in play. Make sure you have hobbies and pastimes that get you away from work, make you smile and bring an air of lightness and joy into your life.
Reconnect with your human-ness
I’ve used the word ‘human’ a few times in this post already and that’s because we need to remind ourselves that we are human. We are fallible. We make mistakes, we make the wrong decisions, we do things that aren’t good for us. None of this makes us any less worthy.
Try to reconnect with your human side when you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Allow yourself the space you need to learn and grow. Try journaling about what it means to be human and ask yourself if you would judge a friend if they were in the same boat.
This article only really scratches the surface here. Our worth can get tied up with lots of different things and have a big impact on how we move through life. This is why I decided to refresh my coaching packages with this in mind.
The new packages are on my coaching page now, so do take a look if you think you would benefit from support in this area. It’s a tricky topic that often benefits from having someone objective to support you.
I’ll be back next week with an interview on the podcast and a blog to help you deal with uncertainty. Until then, take care.
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