Signature Series - You are not your job,

Written by AMA Event Reporter: Olivia Devadas

Dr. Sarah J Stebbins, Senior Organizational Change Management Consultant and Executive Coach at The Better Change, kicked off our 2022 Signature Speaker event series with the topic “You Are Not Your Job” in January.

I really appreciated the topic of this event. I think something that all of us have had to confront with the pandemic is the question, “Do I actually like what I’m doing?” So many of us were sent home to work, and therefore brought work home with us. Bringing work home with us, the place where one hopefully finds some solace, has been a sort of disruption. One moment you’re in your home office, in a Zoom meeting counting down the minutes until it’s supposed to end. Next moment, you’re making lunch in the kitchen.

So now that we’re in the home office situation, we have a chance to think, “Do I actually like my job?” When working from our homes, we can take a breather and walk the dog or read a book, overall we have more time to do the things we like. For this reason, I absolutely loved hearing about the empowered and invigorated life of Sarah Stebbins, listening to how much she loved her job and her life and her story of self change.

As an avid reader, I enjoyed her perspective on the story of moving from “present you” to “future you”. Maybe you dislike your job, want to have a better relationship with yourself, or in Sarah’s case, write a book. This self reflection before is the motivating force of your story, understanding who you are and what you want to attract in your life. To do this reflection, you can begin with determining what your personal values truly are. This can lead to the creation of your story: seeing which of your personal values aren’t showing up in your life, as you want a story that reflects your aspirations.

The last piece of this reflection is to complete these sentences:
“I am…”
“I believe…”
“My work in this world is best described as…”
“What my work world looks like

These don’t have to describe your actual job, but can also refer to your state of mind, the culture you’re surrounding yourself with, or the people you work with, and how all this relates to your life. After completing this reflection, it’s important to pay attention to how this makes you feel and where it will lead you next.

She discusses how to activate this story of self change with 3 forces.

  • First was people. This included future mentors, people who will support you throughout this process of self change.
  • Next was tools: classes that can be taken, conferences that can propel you forward and provide some intellectual feedback.
  • The third force is experts: people who can become “your team” when making this self change.

As this can be daunting, Sarah tells us to create a few points: what you can do today towards this goal, what is considered partway, and what is halfway. This gives us some points to reach as we complete the story.

As someone who is a big proponent of prioritizing on mental health, I appreciated the focus on self reflection, finding what’s working and what’s not and actively making changes. I also enjoyed how Sarah made self reflection and action doable through her own journey, and a priority in her own life. After watching the event, I know I plan to sit down and ask myself, “Who am I and what do I want from my life?”. I hope this sort of self reflection and definition is something we strive to prioritize in our own lives, rather than just our jobs.

Did you miss the event? It’s available on-demand on YouTube. Watch it here:

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