“What do you do for a living?”

I had a conversation with one of my best friends this weekend and we talked about many things. My friend was commenting on how much I had changed and asked me about some of the steps I had taken to effect that change. And we touched on a very important point that has been of great value in my life.

You are not your job.

How you earn money is not who you are. You are so much more than your job and money making ability. And your potential to be so much more is only inhibited by one person, you. As long as you think and believe that your job, your career and how much money you have are the dominant things and priorities in your life than that is all you will have. You actually make this a self-fulfilling fantasy.

This is your ego mind lying to you. You are more than your job. You are your parents and your ancestors, you are a member of a community (whether you recognize this or not), you are experiences, you are skills and gifts, you are your friends and relatives and finally you are divine and have divinity inside of you.

But if you don’t recognize your potential, or you don’t recognize where you came from and what is actually a part of you including God, than all you are is your job, or money or what kind of car you drive.

Learning this important point liberated me. It freed me from the self-inflicted prison of other people’s desires and society’s misplaced priorities. And I started focusing on what was more important in the world. And that is being of service to other people, especially your friends and family.

Realizing that you are not your job is step one. Step two is to fight your ego mind and your inclination to focus everything on money and career, and the way you do that is to help other people. The minute you start trying to help other people, their concerns, health, safety, dreams, etc. start to become important. And what happens is that your soul comes out and you start living a life of value and meaning. You enrich your life in countless ways that money and career success cannot buy. For me volunteering as a mentor and as a volunteer at a children’s hospital have helped me so much and specifically has helped me get through very tough times.

Other steps you can take to free your mind from having your job and career dominate your life is to study spirituality, to study music or the arts. Also, whom you hang out with and whom you call your friends is very important because they will influence how you act and how you think. Exercise and physical health is also very important too, and getting out in nature for hikes and walks and outdoor hobbies is also excellent as well.

And a funny thing happened to me once I broadened and deepened my life. I actually got better at my job and my career is taking off. In fact, I just had the best month I’ve ever had as a money manager. And while that is very satisfying (especially because this comes on the 10-year anniversary of starting my firm with one client) that is not what dominates my life and thoughts right now. Instead, I’m curious how I can take this success and money and help other people. How can I make the world a better place? These thoughts fill me with purpose and meaning and they make my life so much more exciting and rewarding.