You Are Not Your Business Khakis

You must never confuse your business with your own identity.  Never.

If it fails, you are not a failure.  If it grows wildly, you remain the same size.  If it dies, you are not dead.

“You’re not your job.
You’re not how much you have in the bank.
You’re not the car you drive.
You’re not the contents of your wallet.
You’re not your f#%$ing khakis.”

-Tyler Durden in the movie “Fight Club”

Wise words from a movie about recreational fighting, blowing up buildings, and the identity crisis so many people have.  Take them to heart.

My fellow warriors, you are not your business.

You are so much more.

If your business falls down, you can rise up.  But only if you let it go.

Have a great night,


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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

23 comments on “You Are Not Your Business Khakis”

  1. My question then, for you, is how do you separate the two? I like social media, and I want to do it, therefore my idea of getting into it is making a part of me. If I get rid of that mentality, then I am a shell, no? Perhaps I don’t understand.

    1. I think social media/blogging/speaking/writing careers like mine and yours are especially difficult to separate.

      But it must be done.

      You must keep your passion and always invest in your career. However it cannot define you. Otherwise you risk losing your soul in times of great defeat or great success.

      I’m not saying don’t go all in. Just don’t forget that there is more to you than the business.

      We are a collection of relationships, skills, experiences, and memories. We are not a business.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Aaron, I think you knew that I needed to read this today. I constantly struggle to find balance between home and work. I’m a workaholic and I have a hard time letting go of my day and being fully present. I have to remind myself that the people at home are the people I love. They mean the most to me. They deserve to come first. Yes, I enjoy my work, but it is a job. It’s not my life. I am not my khakis. In fact, I don’t even look good in khakis :)

    Thanks for the great post! I hope you have a wonderful night too!

  3. I want to jump in and high-five you on this, but I think there’s a caveat in here. I AM my business. Or, to put it more appropriately, my business is an extension of me. If my business dies, a part of me dies. As I brace myself for a more entrepreneurial career, I know that I am going to be very emotionally invested in my work. My work, as with many others, is more than a job; it’s a mission. As such, failure hurts.

    The key, I think, is to be emotionally prepared for the possibility of failure by having other extensions of yourself that are important to you–to, if you will, diversify your emotional portfolio. I am heavily invested in my wife. If my business fails, I will still have my marriage, and that gives me solace. No, I am not my business. No, I am not my wife. And, no, I am not my khakis. But all of these things are part of what makes me me.

    While work-life balance is an important idea to focus on, I think we need to be careful not to distance ourselves and become emotionally detached from our work. It matters too much.

    1. Doug, I feel the same way about my entrepreneurial career too. I pour my heart into my work. I’ve invested my passion into my projects.

      Hence, the idea of the 8pm Warrior.

      However, with that said, we have to differentiate the difference between being passionate and invested in our businesses and actually being our businesses.

      That’s how suicide happens. That’s how marriages are broken. That’s how hope is lost. I’ve been my business at the bottom. It was dangerous.

      It can go both ways too. Success can be just as damaging. I’ve let it get to my head in the past. I’ve been my business when it was at it’s peak. It was dangerous.

      We must have more to our identity.

    2. Doug: I really enjoyed your comment. Really, because I get where you’re coming from. Personally, I think it’s safe to say I share the same level of passion and that’s what I admire.

    3. Thanks for jumping in with this Doug. My business is a huge part of me and definitely a significant part of who I am. Yes, I have a family, yes I have interests outside of work and hobbies, but my business? Definitely who I am!

  4. Fight club…

    Yup, it’s been a long time since I had a good beating down. I suppose a broken face (mine) would take some of the other pressure off me. [laughing]

    Then again, isn’t it easier if I just swallow the red pill like Neo did?

  5. One of my favorite movies. Totally forgot about that line too so it’s a fresh reminder reading it.

    I used to be afraid of putting myself all out there. Fear of failure. I used to also have a hard time asking for help. At one point, and I can’t remember when, I hit a turning point. I was not longer afraid, and I didn’t mind asking for help. I embraced both.

    I’ve failed (both personally and professionally). But in those failures, I have found success.

    1. I agree that failure can lead to success. That’s one of the reasons to make sure you maintain your own identity. If a person identifies themselves with a business, when it fails, they may not be able to move on and find success.

      Thanks for the comment Ricardo. I appreciate your perspective.

  6. If material possessions ever become more important to me than my friends, family, loved ones, doing the right thing, enjoying life and being happy, well…then I have already died inside.

  7. I should tape this post up on my mirror for inspiration. On those days when it feels like you are drowning in business related stress, it is very important to keep in mind that I am not my business and that I can persevere.
    Thank you Aaron!

  8. This takes me back when I just got out of college. Some of my friends had jobs lined up before they even graduated. I was still waiting for my chance despite sending CVs to everybody and their brother. NOTHING for months. I was really sad and it troubled me how I wasn’t good enough now. It’s amazing how we can decide everything that we encompass based on a single factor. I wasn’t a nobody. I was a still a daughter, sister and future wife. Took me a while to get that. Eventually I found a great job doing social media for a company I believe in. That was just the cherry on the sundae but everything else is just as delicious.

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