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How To Separate Your Work From Your Worth

Ellyn Schinke is a former scientist turned top coach and international speaker specializing in burnout and stress management. After burning out while pursuing her Ph.D., Ellyn was sick of all the cookie-cutter, BS burnout tips online and sought out the real, tangible tactics that would actually make a difference in her life.

 
Executive Contributor Ellyn Schinke

Have you ever wondered, what if it all goes away? What if your job, your career, the title you’ve worked so hard for, what if it's taken from you? Where does that leave you?


 two adult people separated by wall while sitting in separate cafe booths

It's a chilling thought. And yet, many of us anchor our self-worth to our professional achievements, putting our inherent value in the hands of others. In today's world, where work is often complex and indirect, our value as professionals can be challenging to measure and more open to interpretation. This leaves our value as workers ever-changing, based on external factors we have little control over.


Signs that your self-worth is tied to your work


Emotional rollercoaster

Do you find yourself experiencing significant emotional ups and downs about your job? While it's normal to have good and bad days, these feelings are often more pronounced when your self-worth is overly tied to your work.


Guilt and anxiety

Do you feel guilty, anxious, or agitated when you're not working? The inability to disconnect from work is a clear sign that your self-worth might be entangled with your professional identity.


Identity crisis

Do you feel lost without work? The thought, Who am I if I'm not working? can be a sign that you see your job as a core part of your identity.


Pride in profession

When meeting someone new, do you immediately default to telling them what you do for a living? While it's common to share your profession, deriving the most pride from it suggests your work plays a significant role in your self-esteem.


Steps to separate your work from your worth


Identify the aspects of your identity

Take time to reflect on who you are outside of work. Consider your roles as a friend, partner, parent, or community member. Recognizing these aspects of your identity can help you see your worth beyond your professional achievements.


Explore hobbies, passions, and interests

Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Having multiple sources of fulfillment ensures that your self-worth isn't tied to a single aspect of your life. Whether it's painting, hiking, or volunteering, these interests can enrich your life and provide a sense of purpose beyond work.


Challenge the need to constantly do

Embrace the idea that you don’t always need to be doing something to be valuable. Practice mindfulness and learn to appreciate moments of rest and relaxation. Understand that your worth is inherent, not dependent on constant productivity.


Learn your values

Define what truly matters to you. Is it kindness, integrity, creativity, or something else? Knowing your core values can help you align your actions with what you believe in, rather than what your job dictates.


Define success and failure in a way you can control

Create personal definitions of success and failure that are within your control. Success might mean being true to your values, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, or contributing to your community. By setting your own standards, you take control of your narrative and your worth.


Remember, your job is what you do, not who you are. By recognizing and nurturing your inherent value, you can create a more balanced, fulfilling life where your worth is not tied to your work. Let's redefine success and celebrate our worth beyond the confines of our professional roles.


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Ellyn Schinke, Burnout & Stress Management Coach/Speaker

Ellyn Schinke is a former scientist turned top coach and international speaker specializing in burnout and stress management. After burning out while pursuing her Ph.D., Ellyn was sick of all the cookie-cutter, BS burnout tips online and sought out the real, tangible tactics that would actually make a difference in her life. As a result, burnout when from being her lifestyle to her passion. Now, she's focused on helping corporate professionals and businesses free themselves from burnout and take back their lives. Ellyn is the founder and CEO of Coach Ellyn LLC, one of the top burnout coaches on Google, host of the Burned Out to Badass podcast, and more. Her mission: Make burnout a choice.

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