"Each man's life represents a road toward himself"
- Hermann Hesse
The search for who I truly am started in a weird place; the search for a new job.
After feeling disrespected at my previous job, I decided to leave because I knew that I was more worthy than the way my colleagues perceived me to be.
Saying I worked in a toxic work environment is an understatement. Although I was appreciated and respected everywhere else in the company, my department seemed to hate my guts, no matter how hard I tried to improve myself and be kind to them.
In the end, I found I was losing myself in order to try to fit into this environment. The final push came one day 5 minutes before finishing my shift, and from then on, I decided that I had enough.
I started looking for jobs. The same care I had for the job was hard to maintain, as I knew the ones above me saw me as much lesser than.
However, the job search was a blessing in disguise. It helped me determine who I wanted to be.
Success is often defined by career and outward possessions. To some degree, we all play a role in this world and have an outward persona that we want the world to perceive as us.
But who are you, actually?
In the few weeks I was looking for a job, I had to sit myself down. Originally I started focusing on eating well and exercising more. It was nice to have goals that were outside the work environment.
After that, I felt that there was something missing. I had fallen into the productivity trap...again. I wanted to work on myself, which is great. But in reality, I wanted something to distract me from the true question I should have been asking myself: what do I want out of life?
After reflecting on this, I realized that my goals had nothing to do with work at all. They were not so much career-focused, as they were more focused on areas in my own personal life I can improve. Turns out that I had sort of been living my idea of a good life the entire time. I aimed to be true to myself, no matter what happens, and to stand up for myself when no one else would.
I aimed also not to lose myself while looking for a job.
In the search for a job, I found myself. I found that I was worth so much more than a job, and that no matter how much my salary was, there was no price that could be put on me. I am also not worthy of employment just because of my career or academic achievements. I am worthy simply because I am.
So for anyone out there who wants to change their career path or is just questioning their self-worth I ask you this: what does a successful life look like to you?
Sometimes the best thing we can do is slow down. Rarely do we have time to think in the whole hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are used to doing, rather than thinking, prioritizing productivity above all else.
So don't be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions.
Here are some of the questions I asked myself (your own answers may surprise you):
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
What are my goals?
How will I achieve these goals?
Where do I go from here?
You could realize that you are already living a successful life after all.