So, what do you do? This is one of my most-fielded inquiries. As a society, we use “what we do” as a way of defining ourselves… and for 15 years, I worked in the loss prevention field.
I was roughly 22-years old when my cousin called me one morning. “Wassup foo, you like to fight right?” I replied, “Bro, you know me!” Then he told me to come up to Rite Aid the next day. Actually, what he said was, “If you want a job where you’re going to fight, I can get you in.” I went to that Rite Aid and started the career that I allowed to define me for the next 15 years.
Loss prevention is undercover, plain clothes security – and I was good. I didn’t take any crap from anyone, and I took it personally when someone stole from the store I was working in. I began to define myself as the tough guy, the guy who doesn’t take any crap and I started to harden my shell.
The process of thickening my skin really changed me and I became more and more callous to who I was and who I grew up as. I had always been a caring kid, wanting to be accepted along with wanting to be respected. Loss prevention validated the “respect” half of this for me, which led me down a path where it was more important to be respected than accepted.
I enjoyed how I felt when people feared me, making what I said law! It gave me a sense of power and control that legitimately reinforced some negative personality archetypes of the job. This is why it is imperative to understand what your human is doing because it will totally affect your human being.
Our jobs tend to define us truthfully, in fact, we almost invite this idea. A doctor is considered a high-level person in our society because he/she/they help people feel better. We blatantly treat some careers with prestige without checking the person for who they actually are, let alone their intention. For instance, that same doctor could be over-prescribing medications or having inappropriate relationships with patients.
We hold “what you do” in our society in such a high regard that we let that define the individual. Humans categorically love categories (see what I did there?). We love to group people based on what they do, what they believe, their sexual orientation, gender… I could go on.
We love to make people a part of a group. One of the reasons we do this is because it takes a lot of brain power for us to look at everyone as an individual. When we can categorize, we attain a sort of predisposed understanding of that type of person. We do this to be able to judge people by their tribe. We are, and always will be, extremely tribal. Problems arise because your tribe is not who you are. Your tribe may be a representative of certain characteristics you exhibit or of the things you do, but it is not you are. What is your human, being?
Strip down, emotionally naked vulnerable and bare. At the essence of you, what is your human, being? We need to start spending more time validating ourselves by what we are, and not by what we do. Putting time into what makes our human thrive, feel rich and satisfied from the inside out.
For example, I like how morning sun feels on my skin. I like how I feel when I serve, I like when I am trusted and valued. I like to be appreciated and held in high regard. I like to be touched and complimented. Minimizing me to “what I do” does not give you a full scope of what I am or what actually makes me happy. I don’t think we cherish happiness; I feel that we cherish success.
What’s scary about that is we don’t cherish our true beliefs of success but more what society deems as successful. We are literally walking around each day trying to compile Instagram likes… in real life. We are in so much pain, doing things daily that we don’t enjoy. We end up needing to medicate or ignore the nagging desires we have inside us to just be. Human being, human be.
“Being” is an interesting word literally meaning existence and be; meaning to exist. Before we grade ourselves on “what we do,” we need to learn how to just be. Learn how to just exist and do that with love and gratitude. I know being doesn’t pay the bills, but when you start feeling free enough to exist in positivity and gratitude, being will be your work. You will work as you are. Just your mere existence, when understanding what that is, will provide all the inner success and gratification you’ll ever need.
You are in existence as well as having skills allowing you to execute and validate to connect to the purpose of your existence. Once you understand your purpose, you can create ways to execute that purpose, furthermore, executing in so many creative ways. Our state of existence will bring the success.
If you are a problem-solver and you execute that problem solving with gratitude, positivity, hope and creativity, the opportunities to execute that skill will find you. When you are a being with purpose, what you are looking for is looking for you.
We have to stop searching outside of ourselves for ourselves. The answers you are looking for are not in the work, they are inside of you and anything you have ever needed, to be whatever you wanted to be is already inside of you. Look in the mirror, vulnerable, stripped down, naked and ask yourself, “What is my human, being?”