What do you reply when someone asks, “What do you do?”
The answer will likely be a label for a role that best suits the situation, usually one that tells people how you make money. I am a (pick your label). We usually pick the one that sounds most impressive to our audience, then we’re kind of stuck on that identity within the context of the new friendship or business relationship that is forming. Yes, I used the word stuck. You now fit into a comfortable box in the minds of others in relation to your monetary usefulness.
Everybody plays a number of roles in life – some more joyous than others. Do you know what I mean by roles? Our roles are really the labels we use to describe what we do and who we are in relation to everyone else. Entrepreneur, artist, parent, partner, friend, accountant, teacher…there is so much more to us than just one role that we advertise!
The opportunity for expansion
Over the years, I have experienced a lot of frustration with this need people have to fit me into a box that suits their purposes, or their world view. Pick a label and suddenly there are all kinds of rules, judgments and expectations about who you are, how you should act and what you should do. It’s rather limiting, don’t you think? So why do we do this to ourselves?
For example, I worked in an accounting firm for four years and as soon as I started, I was suddenly “a bookkeeper”, even to some friends I had known for years. Everything about me that was fun, artistic, creative and lively didn’t seem to count any more. Recording an album, writing a book, having adventures…poof! On the flip side, being a songwriter or an author or living in a cabin in the woods didn’t fit with having business sense or logical capabilities. Fitting into a box? There is no damn box big enough to hold the fullness of who you are, what you do and what you want to do.
Shake things up.
The only one who can do this is you. When you have those awkward introductions, why not say what you really do, not what your label is. Ask more of the new people you meet, not just about their job title or relationship to someone. They have the same issue of being boxed.
Do you want to stay in the box or do you really want to shake things up and feel more alive? Day 3 is all about Roles: Who am I in relation to this? Sign up below to take the 7-Day Challenge.