Who you are as an individual is so often not top of mind in day to day life. You need to be in the world to earn money to cover life’s expenses, and the occupation you perform defines you to the world around you.  You have been objectified, but chances are very good that you have also allowed that objectification to influence how you view yourself.  So much so that you may have even come to associate who you are with your occupation.  But what you do is simply a means to an end, it is not who you are.

Acceptance of being objectified starts early in life with virtually every parent quite innocently asking their children the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answers generally come back as an occupation such as a doctor or an astronaut, but that isn’t really the correct answer.  The correct answer to that question should be, “Me.”  The parent asked the wrong question.  Instead, what they should be asking is, “What do you want to do when you grow up?

Who you are is your authentic self, defined by you, but hidden from others in the world. You may not be consciously aware of it, but the products of your occupation are very likely tied to who you are.  After necessary expenses you tend to spend your disposable income on things that satisfy you or make you happy.  Since you derive benefits from the way you spend the money you earn, examining what those benefits are may help you to connect with your authentic self.  Once you break who you are away from what you do, you can set goals that will provide you with true satisfaction in your life.

Goals

Goals should not be considered in light of external things but in terms of the benefit that those things give you.  For instance, you may want to be (or already are) a lawyer. The benefit might be the intellectual challenge it provides or the satisfaction you gain through helping others.  Yes, there is the income to consider, but money itself is never a goal, it is simply the intermediary means of exchange between what you do and what you desire.  If you really think money should be a goal for you then look to the story of King Midas.

Drill down to find out what motivates you and what you really want in life. Think about lifestyle and how you would like to feel every day.   What does the money you earn do for you?  Perhaps it enables you to take a vacation, two weeks of bliss on the beach.  If while there you find you are truly happy and begin to dream of spending every day on the beach, you may have discovered a true goal for your authentic self.

Action Plan

Using the benefit of being happy by spending every day on the beach as your goal, for example, you can then develop a process to take you there. This is called an action plan is simply a series of sequential steps to follow.

You first identify how much money you would need to live on if you spent every day on the beach, and then determine how to earn it. Maybe being a lawyer is a good idea in this regard because it can bring in a lot of money, so being a lawyer becomes an action that will help you to achieve your goal.  The key here is that being a lawyer is no longer the goal, but simply a part of the process.  By staying focused on your goal you forgo frivolous purchases and willingly set aside the majority of the disposable income you make towards reaching it.

So you play the role of a lawyer, the world objectifies you as a lawyer, but you remain authentic by recognizing that this is what you need to do in order to be able to spend your life on the beach.  You feel wonderful every day knowing you are on the journey to the accomplishment of your goal.

What you do is not who you are.