The top 4 characteristics of food people (and what they mean for your career), part 4 of 4.

This week, we’re back on track, wrapping up the 4-part series about the most common characteristics of food people and what they mean for your career. Start here if you’ve missed the last three posts.

The final characteristic that I see often among my clients is a commitment to self-improvement.

You are fiercely committed to self-reflection and personal development. You are meditators (me too!) and yoga practitioners. You look within, you trust your intuition, you want to engage in the world authentically, and to live a life that unleashes your true potential.

In the 97 applications I received in the last month for the 2016 Spring Scholarship, many of you shared a variation on one of the following when I asked about the qualities you like most about yourself:

  • “I’m intuitive.”
  • “I’m constantly working on myself. “
  • “I love my commitment to self-improvement.”
  • “I always try to better myself. “

With all this reflection about yourself, you’re eager to find fulfilling work that aligns with your values and beliefs and allows you to learn and effect change in the world. Even if you’re already holding down a good, stable, salaried position and supporting a comfortable lifestyle, you want to make sure you’re also on the path to unleashing your full potential.

I, for one, think your self-reflection and commitment to be true to yourself shows courage and tenacity, and I’m completely with you, but there are people who might discount your tendency to introspection as impractical. They might encourage you to try to talk yourself into being more “serious” about your choices.  They might say things like, “You know, they call it work for a reason.” You might convince yourself that they are right for a while, that you should really be making more “grown up” choices. But here’s the thing:

If you’re a curious, engaged, reflective person who feels called to live up to your full potential, no amount of practical, serious, “grown up” talk will quiet that part of you that is longing for more.

Now, I have a feeling that your commitment to self-improvement and reflection might come along with a dose of perfectionism. Am I right?

The thing is, perfectionism is just an ugly self-defeating gremlin voice inside you, all dressed up in lipstick and high heels, pretending to be a virtue.

If your perfectionism is the source of your commitment to self-improvement, you may want to check yourself. Perfectionism can grow out of the feeling of not being enough. And when that’s the feeling fueling your commitment to bettering yourself, self-improvement can be EXHAUSTING. So, if you do identify with being a perfectionist (in your life AND in your career) may I suggest that you be compassionate with yourself. It’s fine to leave some questions unanswered for now. Give yourself a break from trying to “know your truth”, and don’t fret about choosing between all your interests and your passions.

Sometimes you just have to live your way to the answers.

Now you: How has your commitment to self-improvement helped you in life and in your career in food? Has it ever stood in your way? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please share it! 

Emily Halpern