How to Figure Out Who You Are Outside of Work - Deepstash

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Our identity outside of work

Our identity outside of work

If you love what you do, it’s all too easy for it to consume your identity—especially if your career is demanding and fast-paced. You find yourself checking email after hours, and thinking about work all the time.

For many people work—and overwork—is comfortable. What isn’t comfortable is what resides outside the office walls. Because inside there are clear-cut steps, structures, systems, and goals, while other areas of life don’t adhere to a rulebook.

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Wander your city

If you can’t find anything they’re interested in outside of work, explore your city without any agenda. The only rule is to pay attention to what piques your interest. Because that’ll likely point you in the right direction.

After you’ve gathered some data on what you might be curious about, give yourself several months to explore these interests.

Don’t be surprised if you feel some discomfort. You might be used to being in charge and being seasoned at work. Try to embrace the unfamiliar, and focus on the process.

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Set boundaries

  • Many people don’t have strict boundaries between work and home. In other words, our home is no longer the place we exclusively relax and leave work behind.
  • Boundaries are critical when you’re just starting your career, too. You might be tempted to work long hours and be available to your clients all the time. However, it’s best to set boundaries right away.
  • Other examples of boundaries include: not responding to work-related matters on weekends, and requesting another team member if you’re feeling overworked or overburdened.

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Revisit old hobbies and relationships

  • Reflect on the activities and hobbies that you loved as a child, teen, or young adult. Then carve out time to practice them.
  • When someone’s work-life takes precedence, their personal relationships often start to suffer. This is why is recommended to refocus on your relationships with a partner, kids, friends, and family. Spend quality time with them. Have real conversations without interruption.

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Create space to just be

We have to intentionally create space for our true selves to emerge, which means holding time for ourselves to just be. This is also a helpful way to practice tolerating discomfort.

You might spend 20 minutes in the morning drinking your coffee or tea, without any digital devices, or spend Sunday afternoons by yourself. Notice what thoughts and feelings arise. Where does your mind go when there’s no task or structure?

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Meet like-minded people

Check out local meet-up groups, spiritual centers, or adult sports teams.

Think about other places around potential passions, such as book clubs, art clubs, and non-profit organizations. Experiment with new experiences.

Even if you end up not enjoying an experience, that’s still important information.

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