To this day, I have a phrase rolling around in my head that helps me sort through the obstacle course that is daily life. Passed along to me by my mom throughout childhood, it helps me from getting fully swept up in the insufficiencies, envy, and fear that plague us all. I wanted to share it with you…
“It’s what you do,
it’s not who you are.”
That is to say that the things we do everyday — whether that be our vocation, the pursuit of our hobbies, or our diet & exercise — are merely what we do. They don’t define who we are nor should we let them, because before we were any of those things we were a son, a friend, a sister, a human. And these things we will remain.
The problem is when we put all our stock and self-worth in the things we do and let our identity be tied to our activities, for the reality is those activities will fade. Athletes get injured, businesses fail, life happens but that does not mean you are a failure. It means that thing you do (or did), didn’t really work out but fortunately you are a bright, capable human being with dreams and ambitions, and a loving community as well.
This is the phrase that has spoken to my soul from the time I had to quit the 7th grade varsity basketball team to running an international organization as an adult. These nine words serve as a reminder for what’s important and who I truly am.
So I ask you, who are you? And what do you do? Because those are two entirely different things.