“I’d like to you to meet my friend Sandy. She’s the head of health services at a private boarding school in London.”
“Joe, this is my cousin Tara. She’s a software engineer who left big corporate work to start her own company. Joe’s a Lieutenant in the city’s police department.”
“Trina works for a non-profit that delivers health care to underserved people in rural areas.”
I suspect none of those statements strikes you as worthy of much consideration or even a second thought. It’s simply how we introduce ourselves and others – by what we do, our resumes. For many of us, our resume is the biggest contributor to our measure of self worth.
But is that all, or the core, of who we are “Does what we do, our professional status, the level we achieve in the company, the amount of money we make, equate to our self worth?” This does seem to be the case in western cultures and developed countries.
What if, instead, we introduced ourselves, and each other, based on how people really know and value us? What if we measured our self worth differently? What if kindness, character, and other important qualities came first, or mattered more?
“Meet my friend Nancy. She’s one of the most empathic people I know.”
“Steve makes me laugh at myself, and I love him for it.”
“Carolyn is the person I call when I’m stuck in the half-glass empty zone and need a new perspective.”
“Harold is the guy who’ll be there in a pinch to help a friend.”
What would it be like to be introduced this way? How would it affect your self worth?
We Are Not our Resumes
Hopefully our work is meaningful and taps into our best selves. But the workplace is a fickle lover. Layoffs happen. Organization changes abound. Bad days occur. So do bad managers. If work plays too big a role in our measure of self worth, we might find ourselves near the top of the scale one day and plummeting downward the next.
At work we’re valued for our what we do and our achievements. But there’s more to who we are. We have character. We have qualities that make us a good friend, a valued neighbor and co-worker; a terrific mother, father, sister, or brother; a stand up member of the community in which we live, worship or hang out; an honorable per
Take the Self Worth Challenge
If you’re intrigued, or at least willing, to set your self worth by other measures, in addition to who you are professionally, try this.
- Write the names of 2 friends
- Identify what you value most about each and/or complete the sentences below.
- _____ is my go to person, when/for _____.
Complete the following sentences about yourself.
- Friends (and/or family and/or co-workers) value (your name) for ________
- (Your name) is people’s go to person for ____________.
- I like myself (your name) when she’s __________.
Ask friends, co-workers, family, members of a community in which you participate what they value most about you and when they’re most likely to consider you their go-to person.
Finally, next time you introduce two people, consider including who they are for you.