SmartBrief for Entrepreneurs highlighted a story in this morning’s Brief from Inc. entitled “What Am I, If Not My Business.” The article was speaking about those entrepreneurs who had built an empire and were now selling their companies.
However, it seems to me that if you lost, or were to lose, your CFO title, you might also experience some of these same reactions …
–Yet he’s unable to shake the feeling that he has lost something important and doesn’t know how to get it back.
— He lost his sense of purpose.
— … it is probably inevitable that you are going to have trouble determining exactly where your business ends and you begin.
— … it can be profoundly disorienting when suddenly you aren’t so important anymore.
There were others, but I think you get my point. What we do is so closely aligned with who we are that our identities are intertwined … to the point that when we lose our title, we lose something of our self. Your business card, resume, and Linked In profile now, suddenly, proclaim “unemployed” rather than “Chief Financial Officer.” It’s a tremendous blow to both ego and confidence. That hit can come through loud and clear in your conversations as anger, defensiveness, or even self-righteousness … even if you don’t hear it. It can also speak volumes in your body language, even if you don’t recognize it.
Whether you are employed or unemployed, take a step away from your job title and figure out who you are as a person. What is your gifting? Where is your passion? What do you enjoy doing so much that it never feels like work? And finally, who needs those things? That, not your job title, is who you are!