When You Lose Yourself

There’s a joyful side to losing yourself and there’s a corrosive side.

Achievement corrodes identity when you lose yourself to work. You dilute yourself into a title; self-worth is measured in perks and paychecks.

Leadership quote: Achievement corrodes identity when you lose yourself to work. Image of corroded metal.

10 signs you’ve lost yourself to work:

  1. Relationships take a backseat. You’ve got work to do.
  2. Contributing to non-work-related achievements don’t exist.
  3. Hobbies? What’s that?
  4. You can’t shut down – even after you turn off the light at night.
  5. You constantly push yourself. Caffeine and adrenaline keep you going.
  6. Motivation is declining. Frustration is increasing.
  7. Health issues are emerging. Weight fluctuates. Stress is high. Can’t sleep.
  8. Self-care routines flew out the window. There’s no time to work out.
  9. Success feels empty.
  10. Family suffers.
Leadership quote: You never build the life you want by getting lost in things you don't want. Image of a tomato.

But there’s joy when you lose yourself.

How to find yourself when you lose yourself:

Your best self emerges when you lose yourself.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on flow explains the joy of losing yourself. People experience flow when they lose themselves, when they become absorbed in a challenging activity that’s achievable.

Flow states occur during work, hobbies, creative activities, physical activities, learning, video games, and more.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times . . . The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” Csikszentmihalyi

Flow is the bliss of losing yourself.


Notice when you lose yourself. People in the state of flow don’t notice time or their feelings. They’re lost. What are you doing when that happens? Think back on times when you experienced flow.

  1. What do you learn about yourself when you’re lost?
  2. How might flow define you?
  3. What do past flow experiences teach you about your potential?
  4. What personal values are you expressing when in flow?

How do leaders lose themselves to work? (Think of the negative side.)

What do you learn about yourself when you reflect on past flow states?

Still curious:

Leadership Identity – Self-Perception Determines How You Lead (90 second read.)

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