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Is There Still A Line Between Your Personal Identity And Your Professional Identity?

Woman with personal and professional items

I am convinced we are approaching a more integrated lifestyle where the dividing lines between work and personal time will gradually disappear.

Do you remember when we talked about an on-line universe versus an off-line universe? That dividing line blurred a long time ago. Then we started talking about no-line. And now everything is on-line.

When I started out as an entrepreneur, one of my big questions to myself was “How do I separate my personal identity from my professional identity?” For most of my career, I had worked for global market leaders such as L’Oréal, Coca-Cola, and Korn Ferry, and all of a sudden there was just me. I didn’t have the comfort of corporate backup and so I had to start giving more of myself – standing up for myself.

Yes, it is possible to reinvent yourself and erase the dividing lines in your life.

The lines between my personal and my professional identity have now blurred. In fact, they only existed in my head. I now feel like a whole entity not divided by arbitrary lines. Everything is personal! It is the result of an existential transformation.

Watching Marc Zuckerberg’s first live Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday it struck me that this convergence between personal and professional identity is exactly what is happening on Facebook. The dividing line between a professional page and a personal page is rapidly disappearing. It’s all about you as a person. Marc Zuckerberg elegantly jumps from discussing the implications of AI to discussing personal dress code (and yes, he has t-shirts in other colors than grey, but he only wears them on weekends!).

We have been brought up with an understanding of professional life as serious and formal. We even have dress codes. Which brings me to the old concept of work-life balance. I’ve never liked this concept. To me, work is part of life and the two should not be put in opposition. It’s part of an old school thinking similar to the concept of compensation. Think about it. You get compensated for something unfortunate that happens – like insurance. Work is not something unfortunate. Work is something you choose out of your free will. Of course, you should be paid its value.

My work now consists of helping others find the same ease. Reducing the friction between your professional life and your personal life. Identifying the Life Ambition that gives meaning to your life. Nudging you to work on your Passion Project – both as a mentor and as a tormentor. Yes, it is possible to reinvent yourself and erase the dividing lines in your life.

By Stephen Bruyant-Langer

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