The 4th of July is my favorite holiday, for reasons that relate directly to you even if you’re not American.
It’s my favorite because it’s called Independence Day, and that reminds me of the entire reason I do what I do.
My coaching and training business exists to help you, the hard-working PR professional, achieve independence in where, when and how you work. At an even higher level, it’s to help you separate your own sense of meaning and value from your work. That’s being truly independent.
Remember when you were in junior high and you would walk into the cafeteria and look for your place, where you thought you fit in? Maybe you gauged your worthiness by the perceived status of the other kids who were nearby, whether they fully accepted you or not. I certainly did.
To be entirely candid with you, I see many (most?) PR pros doing the same thing as fully grown adults. Except instead of striving for a sense of belonging among adolescent peers, they are allowing bosses and coworkers’ (very subjective) opinions of them dictate their sense of self-worth.
Think hard and be honest with yourself. Do you do this?
This faulty measure of self-worth plagues even successful people. Their whole lives have been spent striving to meet the standards others set – how to get into a good college, then a sorority/fraternity, then a good job, then a promotion . . .
After a while, they don’t even realize that the choices they’re making are being driven more by other people than their own instincts for what’s best for them and the people closest to them.
Earlier this week I was talking with a man who has been laid low by a health crisis that hit him in between jobs. He confessed that he had viewed his ever-increasing salary as a “scoreboard” from which he drew his identity. He didn’t realize how fake his worldview was until it all came crashing down around him.
I told him that this health problem will be one of the best things that ever happened to him. Because as he climbs out of it, he’s got his sights set squarely on what means the most to him and his wife. Not his perception of what it means to be a success among his peer group.
That’s what Ken Li did, and that’s why his story I shared on a previous Independence Day is the all-time most popular post I’ve ever written.
If you find yourself stuck in a trap similar to those I’ve described above, let July 5th, 2018, be the day you declare your independence from others’ measures of your individual value. Seek personal development and career progress because it gets you where YOU want to go, not what some vaguely defined “they” think you should do.
Wherever that destination is for you, I look forward to helping as much as I can.
This article was originally published on July 5, 2018
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