Many business owners tend to get their self identity entangled with their work identity. And it’s completely understandable. In order to build a business, it takes a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears. There’s a certain amount of pride and attachment that naturally goes along with that kind of effort.
This is what’s known as performance based esteem. Your self worth becomes tied to the success of your company. When that happens, you lose control of your own identity.
The thing is, in this situation, when the business does well, you can feel good about yourself; however, when it does poorly, you end up feeling low. That’s the problem with having a self identity that is the same as your work identity. When combined, your ability to be happy becomes reliant on your business.
Another damaging byproduct of performance based esteem is that you lose your identity outside of business. This is a challenge for many business owners who eventually sell their company. When your company is your identity, selling means losing yourself. Meanwhile, the degree to which you’re consumed by the necessities of running a business means that your relationships weaken and atrophy.
It’s vitally important to nourish your relationships outside of your business. Take time to meet up with friends, and to be with your family; take up hobbies, and join organizations that interest you. That way, your business doesn’t have to be who you are.
By creating balance in your life through healthy relationships, you can avoid losing your self identity to the business. Keep your work identity separate from the rest of your life. That way, you can be you, no matter what.