Weeks ago Joy, Sam and I were having some laughs about what our titles would actually be on our business cards if we were to abandon the formalities of job titles.
Amongst the most popular were things like:
- Travel Blogging Doula
- Donut Aficionado
- Fairness Coordinator
- Shower Psychic
- Grammar Champion
- Bullshit Whistleblower
If you know us (email email@example.com to match the owner to the title and you will get a little prize from us if you get a few right), then you probably have some insight about why these “titles” are so fitting. It’s a reflection of who we are – our strengths, what we love, and what others count on us for.
It’s actually one of our favorite ice-breakers to ask people “what they do” and then “what they really do.” The big joke around here is that while Sam is a “yoga teacher and fitness instructor” she is actually a “fitness terrorist” because she will get your ass in gear yet she brings this amazing fun and spirit to it. She may hate running while she is pounding the pavement though she experiences the benefits and how they impact her – stronger muscles, clearer head, more energy, sleeping better – and then she brings the fun to it all… how many fitness instructors do you know that value grabbing a beer or a great fatty meal with a bunch of class participants after a spin class or yoga class the way that Sam does? She is breaking down the notion that fitness has to be rigid or perfect or 100% healthy all of the time. And that’s why we love the idea of “fitness terrorist.”
This little exercise we had of coming up with our favorite job titles was really an exercise in both laughter and also reminding ourselves about our unique strengths and passions and knowing that something like “acupuncturist” or “program coordinator” or “stay at home Dad” may be a formal title for your job or life yet what you bring to it matters more than anything.
I was in the treatment room just yesterday with an awesome individual and I have so much respect for how she lives her life. Her work helps pay for her adventures, she’s really good and it and likes it enough. And what really lights her up is reading, baking and traveling. We joked about one of her titles being “chocolate cake lover.” When she talks about a good piece of chocolate cake I cannot help but light up with her!
As we are here in summer, I invite you to do this exercise for yourself and see what you come up with for your own titles. Summer is the season for celebrating our passions – for taking ownership without judgment about what we love, who we are, and what lights us up.
This exercise also helps illuminate what’s really important to each of us individuals and can help us muddle through a life transition. If you feel like you are in a rut with stuff you can think about what you’d really love to put on your business card if you didn’t have to be so professional all of the time. Or even what answer you’d LOVE to give to that annoying question asked by the people you meet at any networking event or wedding, “So what do you do?” How awesome would it be if you responded with, “I love reading consumer reports about car safety and I am a freakin’ genius at making spaghetti and meatballs.” I’d then call you “locomotive safety enthusiast” and “Italian dinner virtuoso!”
Ask other people what title they’d give you. Be silly, use foul language, be honest. See what emerges… there is probably a great theme there that will remind you of what you are really committed to, what you value and what you love. It just may be the guiding light you need to find a new adventure or to be patient in your current job or life circumstances; your job description might say “bookkeeper” though who you really are is a “master of numbers” and “friend of the animals.” Maybe that accounting job gives you enough dough to volunteer at your favorite animal shelter on the weekends…!
Once you’ve reconnected with your passions, then it’s up to you of what to do with it. The possibilities are endless! Whether you decide to quit your job and go back to school, move across the country with your family or you stay put knowing you are already exactly where you are supposed to be with the affirmation that your secret identity as a “coffee connoisseur” is the reason you stay at your stressful consulting job where the coffee flows freely and deliciously.