“What do you do for a living?” is probably the most common question asked when you meet someone for the first time. The real question we should be asking is, “Who are you?” The reality is, that doesn’t get asked, and if it does it’s usually met with, “What do you mean?” The problem is the more we get asked about what we do as though that job is who we are, the more we associate the two in our minds. One of the biggest problems with this (and there are many) is that job or title becomes our identity or who we think we are. Thus, when the job goes away, so does the perceived identity. Some of the most common career fields where loss of identity is prevalent is with professional athletes, retired firefighters or police officers, and military veterans. This loss of identity however is far more reaching than just being limited to one’s career. What happens when a person’s identity is completely wrapped around being a wife and mother, and now finds herself divorced and the kids move away from home?
When who you are is defined by what you do or anything external, we run the risk of losing ourselves when that title goes away. The tighter that identity is woven around that label, the greater the risk of depression, turning to drugs or alcohol, or completely drifting away from family and friends we once had – not knowing how to even have a conversation any longer when it’s not about that career or identity.
In the next Game Changer Podcast episode on Monday October 26th, this is one of the topics of discussion William Rodriquez and I cover. As a follow up to my conversation with Richard Miller last week, where we discussed PTSD and its healing through iRest/Yoga Nidra, William and I take that conversation further with limiting beliefs – where they are established and how to remove them. William is a highly decorated Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom Combat veteran. Upon returning and leaving the military he found himself struggling with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and an overall loss of identity. Through some amazing mentors he now has his Master’s Degree in social work from USC, and has dedicated his life to helping those struggling with PTSD, depression, and addiction. He is also featured in the soon to be released documentary, Thank you for your service. In next week’s podcast I will be talking with the producer of that film, Ilan Arboleda, rounding out the last of this three part series.
If you are not sure how you would answer the question, “Who are you?” this is an episode you won’t want to miss. And if you know someone who is struggling in any way with a career change or a life circumstance change please have them listen, as I think they will find this conversation and William’s story a great start in the right direction.
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