In short, “dying to self” means dying to our own desires and trusting that God has what’s best for us, as our Lord Jesus Christ conveys:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?(Matthew 16:24-26).
The failure to die to themselves and trust in God led to Adam and Eve’s original sin. It’s at the root of all sin in way or another. Sometimes in seeking God’s will for our lives we are brought low, so that we can learn to be more trusting of God (see 2 Cor. 12:8-10; Rom. 8:28). Here we’re reminded that being childlike (radically trusting) and not childish (immature and self-centered) is at the heart of being God’s faithful disciple (see Mt. 19:14; Lk. 18:16).
So humility is crucial in this whole process, trusting that God will truly fulfill us both personally and professionally. Easier said than done, of course, but Jesus is there to help us gain a fruitful self-death (Phil. 4:13) and so give us his incomparable peace in the process (Jn. 14:27).