The empty search for a title. I've read a lot of books over the past 2 years. Some were excellent, others not so much. Topics have ranged from management, finance, personal development, leadership, autobiographies, branding, politics, drugs & alcohol and more.
Many of the 'business' style books talk about these amazing entrepreneurs who took life on, coded up some software (magically) and made millions by solving problems for millions. Others would talk about famous CEO's that turned companies around from near extinction to powerhouses.
The common theme was that to create impact, you needed to have a title. Which was a problem for me, as all my life I feel like I've been searching for a title.
In my days working for an IT company, I never knew how to introduce myself. Was I a graduate sales executive? Was I an IT apprentice? Then moving onto my work at Doherty's Gym, the Arnold Classic and the many sister companies associated with that role (around 6 other brands)…I was still confused..Was I an assistant, brand manager, operations manager, all rounder…?
Then just to make it even more fun, I had developed a few of my own brands and outside projects. Web Design, Marketing and Consulting for Personal Trainers, Internet Marketing and more recently, writing….
A wee bit confusing to say the least.
But the real question is, Why was I always searching to call myself something?
Was I embarrassed at parties to introduce myself as 'x' or did I not simply want to be pidgeon holed into societies standards to what 'x' is supposed to be? Why should I care? (To be honest, I don't even go to that many parties).
But after reading Robin Sharma's inspirational book, Leader Without a Title, it's starting to become a lot more clear. Titles are redundant in today's world. We are moving so fast with so many different roles, you don't need to label yourself as one thing in particular. It just doesn't matter, instead, just do what feels right.
Since leaving my full time role in December, people often ask what I do? Sometimes I'm a web designer, other times I'm a writer…Sometimes I'm a marketing consultant for trainers, other times I 'help people think differently'….How's that for a job title?!
To give you another example, highly successful author, entrepreneur, tech startup advisor, TV producer, human test dummy and more, Tim Ferriss tells the story of how when people asked him what he did he quite often mentioned he was a drug dealer.
The thing you need to realise is that you are more than a title. A title often validates within us what we are and supposedly makes us feel like we fit into society (that's what we all trained to desire, right?)
Just because you don't make money from an activity doesn't mean you cannot title yourself within that. Brene Brown (who I talk about often) tells a story in The Power of Vulnerability about an accountant who makes and sells jewellery at a local market. When a customer asked how long she had been a 'Jeweler', the 'accountant' explained "Oh no, I'm not a jeweler, I'm an accountant, I just do this in my spare time".
To which afterwards she realised…..Why can't she be an accountant and a jeweler? The only person stopping her from calling herself that….is her.
So if you're like me, and are enjoying pursuing many different projects, stop searching for a title and be happy with what you are.
Titles are out. Doing your best work and ultimately what you feel like is in.