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Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


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Choose the Correct Label

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Last week I touched on how often much of our identity is wrapped up in what we do as a profession. When someone asks you “What do you do?” I think it’s sad that the first thing we think of is our job. I didn’t ask “What do you do for money?” But that’s always the answer I get.

Quick related sidebar story:

I’ve lived in Hawaii my whole life but it took a visiting Seattle businessman to point out a unique feature of the people living here. People in Hawaii are “ethnically aware.” Hawaii is a weird place because we have so many different cultures (and have ten times more mixed-racial marriages per capita than the rest of the U.S.). But also it is not considered a social taboo or politically incorrect to identify someone by their race.

Hawaii:
“Go get that report from Steve.”
“Who’s Steve?”
“He’s the black guy.”

Seattle:
“Go get that report from Steve.”
“Who’s steve?”
“He’s the guy with the blue tie.”

Now Steve may well be the only black gentleman in a room full of white folk, but because of political correctness amped up to eleven, I am forced to spend five minutes trying to determine if a tie is blue or aquamarine.

I know the paradigm in today’s society is that we are not supposed to attach labels to people. I think that’s stupid. Society trying to convince you that there are no labels is the equivalent of saying there are no adjectives.

We all have labels.

We all label things.

Since you’re inevitably going to attach a label to yourself, make sure it’s a label that you like.

When you introduce yourself to someone, remember you will be labeled with the first thing you say. If you say you are an accountant at XYZ firm, you will be stuck with that “accountant label” immediately. Is that what you want to be known as in that peer group?

Re-think how you will answer the next time someone asks you, “What do you do?”

(momentary pause for dramatic effect)

“So, what do you do?