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Ted Talks Daily / – How to stop finding your selfworth through your job | How to Be a Better Human

Ted Talks Daily – How to stop finding your self-worth through your job | How to Be a Better Human

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In this episode of Ted Talks Daily, Gloria Chan Packer, a mental wellness educator and experienced corporate leader, shares her insights on work-life balance and mental health. She discusses the importance of not deriving self-worth solely from work and the need to establish boundaries to maintain mental wellness.

Main Takeaways

Reevaluating Self-Worth

  • Work should not be the only source of self-worth and identity.
  • Drawing boundaries at work and balancing ambition and self-care are essential for mental wellness.
  • Overworking and the pressure to please clients can lead to burnout.
  • It’s important to prioritize what truly matters in life and not let work consume everything.
  • Chronic migraines led to a realization about the importance of mental health.
  • Work becomes tied to a sense of emotional stability and safety.
  • Society teaches us to define self-worth through work.
  • Self-reflection and understanding why work feels safe is important.

Work as Family

  • Calling work our family can have detrimental effects.
  • The “work as family” mindset can be problematic and lead to unhealthy work habits.
  • Viewing work as family can create a trap where we feel obligated to give everything without receiving unconditional love in return.
  • People from unhealthy family structures may adapt the work as family concept in an unhealthy way.

Setting Boundaries

  • Burnout and boundaries have become more topical due to the pandemic.
  • Boundaries are the ability to identify and communicate our needs, but it can be difficult for many of us to prioritize our own needs.
  • Personal past and behavioral patterns can make it challenging to set and maintain boundaries.
  • Values and priorities should drive where our boundaries are set.
  • Boundaries need to be designed and communicated in different ways because we are all different and in different seasons of life.
  • It’s important to have a hard look at ourselves and our own learnings to avoid burnout and overcommitment.

Implementing Boundaries

  • Boundaries can change depending on different seasons and priorities.
  • Misconceptions about boundaries include using them to control or demand from others and using them as an excuse for bad behavior.
  • Burnout can be a result of feeling powerless, and using boundaries as a defense weapon is not healthy or productive.
  • Communicating boundaries should be a collective discussion on meeting needs and problem-solving together.
  • Taking accountability for our own internal change is important, even in different workplaces or organizations.
  • Planning and setting boundaries is important when managing work and personal life, especially as a leader in an organization.

Building a Healthier Relationship with Stress

  • Anticipating and preparing for big life changes, such as having a child, can help alleviate stress and ensure the team can function without the leader’s constant presence.
  • Setting boundaries can be messy and not a clean, easy answer, but it’s important to recalibrate regularly and make changes as needed.
  • Behavioral change and growth is not linear, and it’s important to not give up when setbacks occur.
  • Set specific boundaries for work hours and stick to them.
  • Design boundaries that allow for personal and familial engagements.
  • Take time to evaluate bandwidth and priorities before saying yes to everything.
  • Focus language on specifying needs and impact if not met.
  • Communicate boundaries authentically and ask for help if needed.
  • Boundaries can be challenging in certain industries and workplaces.
  • Micro and macro changes can be made to address boundary issues.
  • The goal should not be to eradicate burnout, but to build a healthier relationship with stress and burnout.


Redefining Self-Worth and Establishing Boundaries

Gloria Chan Packer emphasizes the importance of reevaluating our self-worth and not solely relying on work to define it. She highlights the need to establish boundaries to maintain mental wellness and avoid burnout. By understanding why work feels safe and addressing the “work as family” mindset, individuals can create healthier work habits. Setting boundaries can be challenging, but it is crucial to prioritize our own needs and communicate them effectively. By implementing boundaries that align with our values and priorities, we can build a healthier relationship with stress and prevent burnout.


Work should not be the sole source of self-worth, and it is essential to establish boundaries to maintain mental wellness. By reevaluating our beliefs about work and understanding the impact of the “work as family” mindset, we can create healthier work habits. Setting and communicating boundaries is crucial to prioritize our own needs and prevent burnout. Building a healthier relationship with stress involves anticipating life changes, recalibrating boundaries regularly, and focusing on self-care. By implementing these strategies, individuals can achieve a better work-life balance and overall well-being.

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