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Does your job Define you?

The decision is totally up to you. It is completely up to us as individuals as to what we allow to define us. Another good question is “should” you let it define you? When we examine Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it becomes easy to see why so many people allow their job to define who they are as a person. 

How you think, how you act and how you react are the things that actually define who you are. It just so happens that those things shine through as you go about doing what you chose to do for a living. Although your job may be a great accomplishment that many others aspire to, it should not be something you let define who you are.

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

Physiological Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has five different levels. It is pyramid-shaped. At the very base, is our physiological needs such as food and sleep. We all must have these in order to survive. 

Safety

The next level up is safety. This includes the safety and security of our physical and financial well-being. 

Love and Belonging

The third level up is love and belonging. This is where we start getting into the reasons people begin to identify with who they are by what they do for a living.

Although some personalities are harder to see it in than others, every single one of us wants to be loved and feel like we belong. Ol’ Zig used to say everyone’s favorite word is their first name. Zig Ziglar was a very intelligent man.

As a person moves up the food chain with their employment or is selected for a position that holds some type of authority over others, it is common for their sense of belonging to increase.

Esteem

Esteem is the next level up in the Hierarchy of Needs. When examining reasons people self-identify by what their job is through the lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this level has many intersections with the third level we just discussed.

Many people who are new to various positions that include new authorities, get boosts in their esteem from their newly found authority. This results in them beginning to see their self-identity as one in the same with what their job is.

Sometimes, people with low self-esteem seek out positions like these in an effort to build their personal view of themselves. Those individuals end up creating additional stress for themselves and those they hold new authorities over.

The terms manager and leader are oftentimes used interchangeably but their differences are vast. Oftentimes, new managers assume they are automatically leaders because of the position they were placed in. This couldn’t be further from the truth. All leaders are good at management. Just because someone has filled a management position does not make them a leader by any stretch. Leadership skills are learned through education and experience. 

Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.
Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.

Great leaders read. A lot. Why? Because they understand they don’t know it all. They have a solid grasp of the concept that they don’t know what they don’t know. Oftentimes, newly appointed managers assume they already know what it takes to be a good leader. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been selected for the position, right? Wrong. They are just getting started. 

Sadly, many managers go through their entire career like this. Leaders are readers and readers are leaders. Never forget that and never stop sharpening your saw. I don’t know it all. And, you don’t know it all. Those who continue to quench the thirst of knowledge continue to make great strides of advancement. Those who don’t, scratch their heads and wonder how the other group got so lucky. The harder I work, the luckier I get.

If you work for a manager who refuses to work at becoming a leader, that is just one more reason you should get really serious about building your online business. Set your sites on your future success and your freedom. Keep learning and doing. Keep doing more so though. Massive action and not quitting is what will get you there. Fill your free-time gaps with the learning part. You do you. Let your boss do someone else, if you get my drift.

Self-Actualization

Self-actualization is the peak of the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and it is the pinnacle of the Advance Dynamix concept. Self-actualization is the desire to be everything you can be. It is our drive to become better today than we were yesterday. Self-actualization said another way is, Advance Dynamix.

You Shouldn’t Let Your Job Define You

It happens way too often in my chosen profession and many other professions as well.  

My biological father (whom I never met) was a detective with the Wichita Police Department when my mother met him. They were never married. 

As a young child, my mother encouraged me often to lean toward a law enforcement career. As a little five-year-old boy, she enrolled me in a ride-along program entitled Buzz With The Fuzz. I don’t remember it but she tells me I even got to go up in the helicopter during that time. I actually don’t even remember any of the ride-alongs in the program back then either. 

As I continued to grow up, I knew I wanted to be a cop. As a teenager, I joined the Explorers Post at the Ford County Sheriff’s Office in Dodge City, Kansas. 

A few years later, I was hired as a Detention Officer in the jail there. I became good friends with all of the road patrol deputies and did ride-alongs just about every free minute I had. It was common for me to work a jail shift, ride a patrol shift, go home and sleep a few hours and come back and do it all over again. Hell, sometimes, I even slept there on the couch up in the training room! A quick shower and a fresh change of clothes and I was off to the races again. It consumed my entire life and I loved every damn minute of it!

I followed in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp.
I followed in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp.

I learned so much during that time. If it wasn’t “in my blood” before, it sure as hell was by then. Eventually, I earned my patrol badge and moved over from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat of those patrol cars. And, later on, I even became a member of the Special Enforcement Division (the local version of a SWAT team). I was on top of the world and fully believed that was who I was. I let my job define me.

Then came my first taste of making the mistake of letting my job define me. I had been hired by the Sixteenth Judicial District Court Services Office as a Court Services Officer/Probation Officer. I was still working for the Sheriff’s Office as a part-time Patrol Deputy and SED Tactical Team member but I had made my way into a criminal justice position that had regular hours and great benefits.

I loved everything I was doing. I was especially proud of everything I had attained at the Sheriff’s Office. I was enforcing the laws in the exact same spot Wyatt Earp had walked 100 years before me. AND, I was a member of the high-risk tactical team. I thought I was the shit!

I had let those jobs define who I was. 

What the hell just happened!?

Then, the big bomb dropped. The Chief District Judge (the top of the food chain at my full-time job) decided it was a conflict of interest for me to continue doing everything I had been doing. 

"Change before you have to." ~Jack Welch - CEO of General Electric and worth 3/4 of a BILLION dollars at the time of his death.
“Change before you have to.” ~Jack Welch – CEO of General Electric and worth 3/4 of a BILLION dollars at the time of his death.

It was time for me to make a choice. Just like that, the jobs I loved and thought defined me had been yanked out from under my feet just like the magician does with the tablecloth. I was still standing like the fine china always does but that was about it. I was absolutely devastated.What the hell was I going to do!? That was who I was. That job designation defined me, damnit! Or, so I thought.

Newsflash: It all worked out and I’m better off today than I would have been if my life had continued down that path indefinitely. I didn’t know or understand that back then though. It truly felt like the end of the world as it was all unfolding. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you I shed a tear or two during that time. I had made the mistake of letting my job define me. 

I have a lot of great memories and I developed friendships during that time that are absolutely unbelievable. Our friendships are even stronger today than they were back then when we were doing a lot of really dangerous shit together. It is said that a man is fortunate to have one best friend in his lifetime. I’m extremely fortunate. I have a handful of ‘em!

Today, I have moved on as far as my job is concerned. As you probably know, I still work a full-time job I continue to build the Advance Dynamix brand.

I love what I do and I know it enables me to make a positive difference in the lives of others. That being said, I don’t let it define who I am. Today, I understand that who I am is defined by how I think, how I act and how I react, no matter where my paycheck comes from. 

Don’t misunderstand me though. As I said, I absolutely love what I do. And, I have a solid plan. I know my retirement date and I am actively and anxiously working toward that. If some type of calamity were to change the trajectory of my path, it would totally suck. 

Create yourself.
Create yourself.

But you know what, it wouldn’t devastate me mentally like it did the last time. Nope, that bullshit is all behind me now. Today, my experiences have built a strength and resilience within me that will enable me to withstand just about anything these days. 

I still have the utmost respect, pride and admiration for the job I do today. The job that puts food on the table for my family. But, it does not define who I am!

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