Breaking Free: Unlink Your Worth from Work

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Do you measure your self-worth by your productivity?

If ticking off tasks or failing to do so dictates your pride or disappointment, it’s time to reassess. This sense of accomplishment, or the lack thereof, can skew your view of yourself. And it can lead to stress and burnout.

Let’s explore how to cherish productivity without letting it define you. That way, you can focus on what truly matters.

Celebrate Wins

Celebrating little wins can make us feel like life is better, and we have done enough. It forces you to stay present, and value the moments you spend with your team more than the boxes you tick.

Plus, everyone likes to be acknowledged – even you!

  1. Gratitude Jar: Start a gratitude jar where you and your team can drop notes about small wins or moments of appreciation. Make it a habit to read these aloud during team meetings to celebrate together.
  2. Personal Shout-Outs: Encourage team members to give shout-outs to colleagues during meetings for their achievements, no matter how small. This creates a culture of recognition and celebration.
  3. Professional Development Hours: Dedicate a few hours each month for team members to pursue personal or professional growth activities. Celebrate their learning and growth.
  4. Team Lunches for Milestones: For every project milestone reached, organize a team lunch. It’s a great way to celebrate progress and foster team bonding.
  5. Celebration Board: Set up a board in your office or a digital board where team members can post their achievements, both work-related and personal. Celebrate these milestones in your team meetings.
  6. Dance Party: Have a 3-minute dance party today with your team to celebrate a small achievement, just because!
  7. Customized Trophies or Badges: Design fun, customized trophies or badges that team members can earn for various achievements. Make the presentation of these awards a celebratory event.
  8. Flexible Fridays: Introduce “Flexible Fridays” where team members can work on creative projects or catch up on work. End the day with a team call to celebrate the week’s achievements.
  9. Virtual High Fives: For remote teams, use your communication platform to send virtual “high fives” or celebration emojis for daily wins.
  10. Personalized Thank You Notes: Take the time to write personalized thank you notes for team members who go above and beyond. Acknowledging their effort personally can be a significant form of celebration.
  11. Celebrate Learning from Failures: Whenever a project doesn’t go as planned, have a team meeting to discuss what was learned. Celebrate the learning experience and the resilience of the team.
  12. End-of-Year Highlights Reel: Compile an end-of-year highlights reel or scrapbook showcasing the team’s achievements, funny moments, and team events to celebrate the year’s journey together.

Redefine Success

The point of life is to make it meaningful. So instead of focusing on productivity, redefine success based on what is important to you.

  1. Measure in Moments: What counts as success? Try this: Count your weekends exploring new places, your meetups with friends filled with laughter, your vacation days, even your family dinners each week. Don’t just dwell on work achievements.
  2. Delegate: You know what’s a huge win? Delegating! Every time you effectively hand off tasks (and create good systems for managing those tasks), you reduce your workload, build trust in your team, and create opportunities for real business growth.
  3. Daily Disconnects: Success is turning your phone off after work, so you can fully engage with your loved ones.
  4. Learning Leaps: Value every new skill or hobby you pick up. It doesn’t matter if it relates to your productivity.
  5. Self-Care Scores: Count your meditation sessions or workouts as victories. These enhance your wellbeing.
  6. Personal Development: Who do you want to be? Start there, then let your actions reflect that identity. Define your success as the progress you make along the way.

Schedule Time for Personal Enjoyment and Breaks First in Your Default Calendar

That’s right, when you are sitting down on Sunday evening to plan your week don’t start with your work and other obligations, start with your personal enjoyment and health activities first, then fill in the blanks with the work activities. This will ensure you keep your time focused on those things most important to you and ensure your personal energy stays at peak levels and prevents burnout!

Use Positive Affirmations

Our self-talk has such a significant impact on how we show up and what we believe about ourselves and our abilities. Using positive affirmations to change your negative self talk to something more positive can be extremely helpful when trying to convert your self worth away from a more productivity based definition. My favorite ones to recite while looking in a mirror are “I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough. I am whole just as I am.” Doing this daily will have life changing outcomes.

Ask “What Are You Passionate About?”

What interesting, inspiring, and meaningful conversations we would have if we just switched from our default of “how are you doing?” to “what are you passionate about?” Doing this will take the focus off the default answer of “busy” and our to do list and focus us instead on building a meaningful life and inspiring others to do the same.

List 5 People and What You Love About Them

Doing this will help you define the traits and characteristics that are most important to you and very rarely is “productive” the trait we list. Jim Rohn says, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” If we want to be a certain way, identifying who those people are and what about them we love can tell us the 5 people we should be spending more time with and then limiting time with people who also depend heavily on their levels of productivity to define their self worth can help us out of this damaging mindset.

Write Yourself a Love Note

When we spend the time to sit down and acknowledge all the things we love about ourselves, we find our value that is independent of our productivity. I know some of you may think this is corny, but it is such an empowering tool for learning to love ourselves for who we are, not what we can accomplish.

Redefine or Review Your Values, Make Sure Your Actions Are in Line, and Eliminate What Doesn’t Add Value

 In business, we often hear talk of Core Values. These are the root beliefs by which an organization chooses to operate. Most businesses have core values but most don’t necessarily live by them or make decisions using their core values as a filter. And most leaders I coach don’t have personal core values they live by, at least not defined. Most of us have certain values but we never take the time to sit down and define them and then make decisions in our life based on those values. When we have extreme clarity of our core values, making decisions becomes easy. When we filter our decisions through our defined core values first, we make better decisions that lead to a more meaningful life and it helps us to eliminate activities or to do’s that don’t add value to our lives…instantly making us less “busy”.

Embrace Failure and Imperfection

Sometimes just not expecting perfection from ourselves is the most liberating action we can take. If you struggle with perfectionism, visit our article “Embracing Imperfection: 7 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism.”


It’s great to aim high, but don’t let productivity be the yardstick for your self-worth. Your self worth is inherent and unconditional. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You are already enough.

Typically, 80% of success comes from just 20% of your efforts. Burnout and breakdowns signal we’re off track; they’re not badges of honor.

Life is about quality, not quantity.

It’s impossible to be productive 24/7. So stop trying! Give yourself permission to rest without guilt. This is essential, not a sign of laziness.

Detaching your worth from your productivity isn’t about doing less. It’s about valuing yourself more, whatever your day’s achievements.

Embrace this mindset for a balanced, fulfilling life where your value isn’t measured by a to-do list, but by the richness of your experiences and relationships.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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