This is an excerpt from the book I am writing called, “Living Your Purposeful Life”.

Have you ever taken a moment and thought about who you are? If you do, what do you start with? I know that I start by explaining the roles that I play; father, husband, employee, friend. That is a good place to start, but you need to go deeper. What does it mean to you to be a father? Does it mean that you have to be home every night to tuck your kids into bed? If it does, does that limit what you can be in your employee role? How could you travel or work late? Maybe you do not want to travel or work late, so being home every night is where you want to be. Maybe you want to be home every night and you travel a lot. Does something need to give? Does your definition of being a father need to change?

What if instead of tucking your kids in every night, you shifted that definition to telling your kids how much you love them every night before they go to bed. Ok, now you can travel or work late and still keep that commitment.

Looking at how we define ourselves can help us understand how we are limiting ourselves. Take some time and look at how you define yourself and go deeper. Ask yourself what does that mean a few times. Back to the example of being a father. What does it mean to be a father? It means I will tell my kids how much I love them every night. What does that mean? It means that I will love my kids unconditionally. What does that mean? It means no matter what my kids do, I will love them.

What else does it mean to be a father? I am sure there are more definitions that you have for being a father. Break it down until you get to the underlying meanings that you have. You may be surprised at what you find along the way. You first definition could really be just how you express the meaning that you have versus the real intent for what you wanted. If that is the case, maybe you need to change your current definition and go with the underlying meaning and find other ways to show what you really want.

For example, when my daughter was young. I used to read to her every night before she went to bed. It was a way for us to connect and it did not matter how many times I read the same book to her over and again. My job would sometimes take me on the road and prevent me from reading to her and we both missed our time together. So, we found another way. As I was getting ready to leave, my daughter would give me a book to take with me and I would Skype her in the evening and read to her. Was it as good as being with her? No, but it was the next best thing.

As you break down your definitions for each role that you play, I am sure that you will find some underlying definitions that overlap and some that will not. Once you look at the definitions, you might want to consider that you bring some of how you define yourself as a father into the role of an employee. For example, maybe one of your definitions for being a father is to make your children laugh. Maybe you should bring that into your role of an employee and make your fellow employees laugh. Ok, if that is too far of a stretch, what about making your fellow employees smile.

Have fun and enjoy what you discover about yourself. I am sure you will find a few surprises, especially as you look at what you do and then understand why you are doing it.