Your Resume and Your Eulogy

I listened to a Ted Talk with speaker David Brooks who introduced the virtues of our two selves represented by our resume and our eulogy. 

You can visualize these two parts of ourselves first by the way we draft our resume, usually during a time of transition. We summarize the value of our education and work history. We list our core skills and any accolades we have earned along the way. We hope those who read our resume will also see growth, vision, and a continued pattern of improvement. We’ll refer to these characteristics as our outward selves.

Then there’s the side of us that others describe after we’re gone in the form of a eulogy. These virtues are different in nature as they define our character, the kind of courage we displayed, or resolve that helped us endure tough times. Were we compassionate, generous, loving and honorable people? Did we have a sense of humor and did our friends look up to us? We’ll refer to these characteristics as our inward selves.

But let’s take a more critical view of these two seemingly opposite parts of our existence. Our outward selves are driven, ambitious, innovative, and receive great satisfaction from the economic rewards of our creations. Our inward selves are passive, reflective, seeking wisdom and honoring love. We desire being in service to others with little to no financial consideration.

It’s a conflict each one of us lives with in a society that tends to favor economic success, or at least financial independence. We spend most of our time pursuing the outward part of our nature, yet most of us would say, if asked, that the characteristics represented by our inward selves are more important. How then do we find balance with these polar traits of our personalities?

Fortunately, we can be proactive to nurture our internal selves.

  •  Be reflective: Find a quiet space where you can be alone with your thoughts and reconnect with feelings that are important to you.

  • Be with the one’s you love: Make time to connect with dear friends, in person if possible.

  • Give back: Volunteering is very satisfying when we find an organization that serves a purpose we feel strongly about. Find a niche that fits your schedule comfortably without being taxing on your energy reserves.

By intentionally creating balance between our external and internal selves, we’re able to move forward more confidently within both realms of our nature. As our self-confidence improves, so does our communication and our ability to be more decisive in our work environments.

To learn more about living a more balanced life, and how if affects our professional performance click here to explore our Possibilities Leadership Development opportunities.