Want to “find yourself?” Focus on who you are, not what you do.

Cindy JobsADHD In The Workplace, Health and Well-Being, Productivity

We often find ourselves preoccupied with accomplishments and achievements in our fast-paced world. We proudly declare, “I climbed Mt. Rainier” or “I stopped smoking,” attributing our self-worth to our actions. However, a profound distinction exists between these actions and the essence of who we are as individuals. Understanding the difference between being and doing can transform our perception of self and lead us to a more profound sense of authenticity and fulfillment.

At its core, “doing” refers to our daily actions and activities. These can be monumental achievements like scaling mountains or personal milestones like overcoming an addiction. While these accomplishments deserve recognition, they do not encompass the entirety of our being. “Being,” on the other hand, reflects our inherent qualities, values, and identity. The essence defines us, independent of our actions and accomplishments.

Saying “I climbed Mt. Rainier” acknowledges a specific event. This remarkable feat undoubtedly requires dedication, skill, and perseverance. However, it remains confined to a particular moment in time. In contrast, “I am a mountain climber” embodies a more profound self-understanding. It reflects a passion for exploration, a love for challenging oneself, and an enduring spirit that extends beyond a single accomplishment.

Similarly, “I stopped smoking” marks a significant behavior change that can significantly impact one’s health and well-being. But identifying as a “non-smoker” goes beyond a mere action – it signifies a transformation of one’s identity and lifestyle. Embracing the label of a non-smoker reflects a commitment to health and self-care, reinforcing the idea that this identity is now an integral part of who they are.

By recognizing the distinction between being and doing, we free ourselves from the limitations of external validation. Society often encourages us to define our worth through accomplishments and productivity. However, when we rely solely on external achievements to shape our identity, we risk losing sight of our authentic selves.

Focusing on being rather than doing allows us to embrace imperfection and growth. We are not defined by the mistakes we’ve made or the failures we’ve experienced but by our resilience in the face of challenges. By understanding that being is an ongoing process, we grant ourselves the freedom to evolve and improve continuously.

Moreover, being rooted in our essence enables us to navigate life with greater purpose and meaning. When we identify as something more profound than a series of accomplishments, we connect with our values and passions on a fundamental level. This deeper self-awareness empowers us to make decisions that align with our authentic desires and aspirations.

Embracing the essence of being over the allure of constant doing also fosters self-compassion. In a society that celebrates productivity and success, we often neglect the importance of self-care and mental well-being. Acknowledging our intrinsic value beyond achievements allows us to be kinder to ourselves, recognizing that our worth is not contingent on external recognition.

While accomplishments are worth celebrating, they represent moments in time rather than the totality of our identity. By embracing the essence of being, we connect with our authentic selves, cultivating self-awareness, self-compassion, and a sense of purpose that transcends external validation.

How can you find balance by appreciating both the journey of doing and the depth of being? Recognizing that it is in this equilibrium that we can truly flourish.


Cindy Jobs, PCAC, PCC

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