Labels are not inherently bad.
We view them to find out what is in a food product. They mark paths and protect us from danger.
We also use them to pigeon hole people and ourselves.
We use labels to answer “what do you do?” “who are you?” “why are you here?” Our programming says we need to pick one thing.
I was teaching a spiritual entrepreneurship introductory class one night and one of the students had about 6 different areas of expertise and a range of services she could attribute to them. As we talked about target market, niche and identifying what we are called to do she bumped up against the idea that she needed a single label.
She felt like she needed to be One Thing. She needed one label that would umbrella all of the skills, tools and gifts she wanted to offer to her clients and would be clients. I disagreed.
The need to pick one thing is archaic. It is old school business thinking where we picked a major in college, got a degree in it and then went into that exact field for our job. I personally have an undergraduate degree in Criminology, a career in logistics and a Master’s in business. Today I am an artist, writer and life coach. I refuse to put a single label on what I am or do and it certainly doesn’t all relate in linear fashion.
I recently railed against the idea that my son was or was not “talented and gifted” per the labeling at his school. You can read the full piece here, but the gist of it was: I think the single label of “talented and gifted” is beyond out of date and borders on discrimination in our schools.
So, if you need a reason to stop trying to pick one label for yourself, here are 5 reasons. Pick one or more and use at will:
- It stifles your creativity.
- You deny your authentic self and cravings.
- You model conformity for the next generation.
- It is too safe and lacks courage.
- It isn’t true.
Here is your assignment, think about all of the things you are: parent, coach, volunteer, cook, housekeeper, driver, writer, employee, boss, lover, friend and so on. Pick more than one to use when you introduce yourself at your next social or professional outing. And feel free to switch them up!
Tonight I agreed to role of soccer coach for my squeaks team. I get to once more add that to my repertoire of ways I can describe myself. It’s cool. I love that we are all so multi-dimensional. Embrace that side of you!
If this is something you want to explore more, you might enjoy my free monthly virtual series The Art Of Living Dangerously. You can check it out here and grab your seat!
Jennifer Murphy is an artist, writer and life coach (and now soccer coach!) who loves to parent her amazing 8 year old son. You can connect with her via her website www.nolimitslife.guru and learn more about getting your own inner guru going!