Tell us who you are. No, seriously.

 
 

I’ve always been jealous of people with crisp, clear-cut, readily-accessible job titles.

 

“I’m a surgeon.”
“I’m a saxophonist.”
“I’m a landscape designer.”
“I’m an elite call-girl.”

 

I, on the other hand, have been (in no particular order)…

 

a public radio promotions coordinator, a freelance journalist, a smoothie & wheatgrass juice server, a computer lab supervisor, a casino food & beverage attendant, a dramaturge’s assistant, a yoga studio receptionist, a student of religious philosophy, kineosiology, media studies, feminism & Victorian literature, an English tutor, a condom & dental dam saleswoman (at licensed brothels in New Zealand, no less), a massage therapist-in-training, a ghostblogger, a manuscript editor, an LGBT magazine delivery-womyn, an integrative medicine researcher, an erotic fiction writer, an event coordinator, a drag king performer, a local brewery commercial voice actress, a Hollywood film extra (only my elbow made it into the film), a professional résumé designer, a prize-winning apple pie baker, a marketing strategist, a self-promotional maven, a mentor, a writer, and a few other things my parents would disown me for including.

That’s a bit much for a 15-second potluck party introduction, don’t you think?

And while every odd (and not-so-odd) job I’ve held shaped my identity in undeniable ways … not every piece of my story is relevant, urgent, or newsworthy. Not in every setting. Not for everyone I meet.
 

If you want to tell us who you are, you must self-edit — strategically.

 

Polish your story down to the bare essentials: your chosen title (which can be as practical or poetic as you like), the people you serve, the beliefs your share, and what you’re doing with your life, right now — and in the fast-approaching future.

Need a leg-up? I’ve built a micro-worksheet to help you craft a personal introduction that won’t constrict your spirit, dim your light, or cause your listener’s eyes to glaze over like a warm Christmas ham.

Ready?

Let’s roll.
 

1 :: Write down your official job title.

 
 
 
 

2 :: But who are you, really?

 

Choose a handful of descriptive gems that feel oh-so truly YOU.

muse maven mentor healer
artisan rabble-rouser instigator champion
crafter scribe interpreter partner
seeker whip-cracker reformer detective
enthusiast challenger peacemaker master
practitioner trainer tweaker optimizer
shifter originator theorist intuitive
adapter informant activist curator
launcher adviser assembler conductor
developer reinforcer influencer generator
galvanizer evaluator negotiator magician

 
 

3 :: Who do you serve?

 
 
 
 

4 :: What do they want?

 
Wee hint: what do they pay you for? And what do they thank you for?
 
 
 
 

5 :: What do they (and hopefully, you) believe?

 
 
 
 

6 :: What’s on the horizon, for you? What are you creating / building / launching / plotting NEXT?

 
 
 
 

7 :: What are you secretly dying to know, about everyone you meet?

 
 
 
 

Let’s piece it all together.

 

If your official job title is “health coach” and you chose “whip-cracker” to describe yourself, and you serve “new moms” who want “tons of energy” and believe that “there’s no such thing as a perfect parent”

…you could introduce yourself like this:
 

“I do health coaching for moms who feel tired, and like, don’t want to. Anymore. And stuff. Also I’m writing a book. Do you know a publisher?”

 
Uh, that’s nice. And no, I don’t. Oh, excuse me, I think my cell phone is ringing. Silently.

Or … you could introduce yourself like this:
 

“I’m a whip-cracking health coach for new mamas who want so much energy it’s almost criminal, and believe that good parenting isn’t about being ‘perfect’ — just being present.

I’m currently coaching women 1-on-1, and working on a nutrition & napping guidebook for moms & their kidlets. So, I’m curious: what would YOU do with an extra two hours of massive energy, every day?”

 
Holy boots! I’m not a mom, but that sounds like an incredibly valuable service. I can think of a couple of girlfriends who definitely need you. And hmm, what would I do with an extra two hours of energy every day? Jesus. Probably write a book of my own.

Speaking of which, tell me about yours…
 

Feel the difference?

 

I know you do.

Be the prime curator of your own experiences. And tell us who you are. No, seriously.

 

 
 

business // acceleration

Comments

Oh man, did I need this right now. I am re-vamping my blog, and always feel like no matter what I say, I sound too silly or too serious. The last time, I did the “101 Things About Me,” which was fine; but seriously, how often does someone read them all? Next to never, I am sure.

I’ve had about as many weird job titles as you. Including: Ski Teacher for Toddlers and Cocktail Server For Men Who Act Like Toddlers.

But I guess, what I”ll always be, no matter what I’m doing to make $$, forever, is a Writer. So that’s something. :)

This is fantastic. Self-promotion feels like walking through a lake of molasses.

I’m a step closer to sounding semi-impressive:
“I’m a swashbuckling freelance writer and blogger for adventurers who want to tap into every second of their lives for precious happiness. I’m currently writing a book about how my mom lived the last days of her life traveling the world vicariously through postcards. What do you dream about doing when no one is looking?”

I didn’t realize you’re from NZ, how have we not met??

It’s because of you that I started using “rabble-rouser” more often! Not sure it’s what I get *paid* for, but it’s what I’m known for ;)

I produce, present, and perform work that depicts my experiences as a queer female migrant minority, from direct political issues such as cultural appropriation & being torn between sexuality & culture, to my immense fondness for Darren Hayes and my liking of Ooh Shiny. My outspoken upfront nature has made me quite the rabble-rouser, but for every stack of people who are annoyed at me, at least one writes back and says “thank you”. And that, to me, is what is important.

Hi Alex,

The questions are sweet indicators. I love great q’s. I didn’t know if I could pull it together BUT I did it anyway. I loved the result so much that I posted it on facebook with a link to your article AND an invitation for people to try it and share it. Here’s what I came up with and posted on fb:

I’m an Intuitive Vocation Strategist for people who want to have so much fun at work that other people think they’re insane AND at the same time “want whatever they’re on.” They want making money to be a direct reflection of their enthusiasm and to breed generosity in the world. I’m currently coaching professionals 1-on-1, launching http://www.makebelieveforreal.com (in a month) and working on a resume storybook. I have to ask: Are you where you want to be, doing what you want to be doing?

Now you try: http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2011/11/06/tell-us-who-you-are-no-seriously/

Ahhh, the universe pointed me in the direction of this post at the perfect moment. I’m in the process of stepping more fully into my purpose in my work, & I need a title/description. “Female liberation artist” works… but people don’t really know what that is until after they preview my blog.

The question, “What do you do?” is one of the most dreaded ones for me. I absolutely loathe answering it because I don’t have the proper description. I want something catchy that goes beyond “I’m a writer.”

Thank you for this, Alex! I can’t wait to dive in, & when I’ve figured out the perfect title/description, I’ll shout it from the rooftops & give you credit for helping me discover it.

xx.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Rich & loving, this is.

I’d swear you were just on my About page and were (gently) chastising me :)

I’m getting to work on this RIGHT AWAY. Nothing like a little fire under my ass…

xo
Kellie

Love, love, L-o-v-e this! Totally got my tush in motion and even sparked a blog post. Here’s the post http://allofmenow.com/2011/11/hello-im-carla/ and here’s the intro I came up with for myself:

I’m a muse for mamas and papas who raise amazing people. My writing creates conversations parents can identify with and provides them with realistic ways to be the parents they want to be. I’m currently writing at All of Me Now and Petit Rhody plus freelancing with a few other publications. The next few months are going to be super exciting; I’m collaborating with an incredible artist to develop art prints to help parents create culturally inspired spaces for children. And I’m also self-publishing an e-book of parenting quotes. How about you? Are you doing work that inspires you?

Plain and simple I’m a freelance writer but I’m also a cheerleader, sidekick, muse and it’s so hard sometimes to convey exactly what you’re about in a short amount of time. I know I’ll be back to this exercise to keep simplifying my little intro.

ps. I love the words you gave to choose from. I took it a step further and created a little document for myself that I’m going to print out and keep nearby. It’s got the words that resonated with me in your list and synonyms for those words. Love words!

BEthany :: I’m sure all “101 Things About You” are utterly fascinating, but yes — concision is your friend. ;)

JustMe :: Ski Teaching For Toddlers sounds like the title of your forthcoming black comedy memoir.

Halley :: Mad points for using the word “swashbuckling.” We need more swashing & buckling, on dry land.

Creatrix Tiara :: Ditto on “rabble-rousing.” More rabbling! More rousing!

Sabrina :: Thanks for the FaceBook share! I don’t do the FaceBookz, because I’m a freak. Gotta keep my gritty edge, y’know.

Ev’Yan :: I cannot WAIT to see it.

Kellie Brooks :: I never chastise. Just…firmly encourage.

Carla :: Ooh, I love sparking fresh posts! Makes me feel all muse-like. Kudos.

Alexandra Franzen on Nov 7, 2011 Reply

I will actually be filling in this worksheet. My “job title/description”/about page/twitter bio/etc need a major overhaul, since all I’ve written is web designer and brand consultant (I can hear you snoring already!)…
Thank you as usual for creating such witty, interesting and usable content – you are so damn good at this! ;)

Hi, Alexandra!
I need this right this moment! HUGE help. I’m using results on my blog very soon :)

You’re the best, Alex! Thanks for this.
I came up with:

I’m a Spiritual Finder. As a minister and teacher I guide people who want peace to go beyond the limits of their minds to the freedom of their spirit. I do 1-on-1 sessions and ceremonies now and I’m working on creating a group program so I can lead the masses to freedom!
So, what do you believe in that helps you feel good?

Much love. Hope to PLAY with you soon.
– Lisa

Well said.

I’ve often told those crisp, clear-cut, readily-accessible job title owners how lucky they are and they generally haven’t a clue. “Isn’t everyone like that?” Umm, no. My marine biologist wife finally saw things from the other side recently (most likely from watching me whirl like a dervish in another what-the-heck-am-I-supposed-to-be tornadoes) and admitted that she really didn’t know how lucky she was, but started to see that she is quite fortunate.

I like how you turned the potentially vague and rambling cocktail party introduction into a call to action.

Perceived awesomeness is rarely seen in a precise title (unless it’s “astronaut”). True awesomeness is easy to see in action, but much harder to explain with a plate of cheese in one hand and a drink in the other. Now we have a tool.

Thanks for a great post.

Alex, coming back to share with you the fruits of my labor, all thanks to this post. Without further ado, here is the world release of the words that encompass who I am:

My name is Ev`Yan & I’m an intuitive liberation artisan for women who are hungry for shameless sensual expression & want to embark on an inner voyage of self-discovery. With my honeyed prose, I instigate brazen discussions about sexuality at my digital sanctuary, sexloveliberation.com, which serves as a lifeboat for women who are craving connection to their desires. Currently, I’m on a mission to prompt women to explore themselves & remind them of the power of their innate sensuality/sensuality.

BAM!

And thank you.

(Any critique to this is welcome.)

Amazing! This is something I have always struggled with and now you got me wanting to re-do it again! Thanks:)

Yay for slash careers!!!

I’m a Misfit writer, wife, mother, worship leader, and sometimes veterinarian. :-D

I really like that “descriptive gems” section. I totally need to think about that for myself. Thanks for these awesome tips!

I cannot tell you how useful this post is. You are a self-promotion goddess.

D,

I am a connector. I find people who do things and hook them up with people who need things done.

I am especially good at bringing together various parties so that the whole of their combined work product gets elevated to an ever higher degree of finish.

M

I’m a personal stylist & gentleman’s branding consultant for real people with real budgets who are super busy but want to be a kickass authentic version of themselves. So I help them create providence in their lives in simple ways. Right now I’m working with pregnancy clients, engaged couple & a lot of corporate guys on both their wardrobes & their online dating profiles so they feel less lame & more awesome. What’s the best version of you look like?

{Loved this exercise! Thank you for sharing!}

with grace & gumption,
Hilary
http://www.DeanStreetSociety.com

CARINA :: Aw, shucks! It’s…what I do.

LISA :: I’ve got a thing for ceremonial ministers. Intrigued!

DAN :: Or…you could just tell everyone you’re an “astronaut.” (with sarcastic quotation mark fingers). That oughta spark a few cocktail conversations…

Ev’YAN :: Glorious. (although, just between you & me & the whole Internet, I’m getting awful tired of the word “intuitive.” It’s like the new “authentic.” Bah.)

Alexandra Franzen on Nov 8, 2011 Reply

Hmmmmm… I thought I’d got my “whaddayado” statement down to “I’m a copywriter who’s in love with language. I take collections of words that make sense to their writers, and transform them into meaningful messages that make sense to their readers”

But that’s starting to sound all bland an boring now that I read everyone else’s…

This is the butt kick I needed! Love everyone’s very creative responses.
here goes mine:
I am a(here I just took out intuitive, cause I feel the same way Alex does…over used) Life Coach who uses magic tools to serve the confused and the frustrated who want to get out of their boxes and believe that renewing the mind can transform their life.
I am currently working on a group coaching program, a memoir about being the mother of an anorexic with aspirations to be a magazine contributor.
Who are you really supposed to be in the world?

@Alex: But I really *am* intuitive! It’s one of my super-powers. Hopefully people will sense that by themselves when they view my work.

Thanks again!

This has been simmering on my tabs toolbar for the last several days and in a burst of late-night-I-should-be-sleeping enthusiasm I went through it. Here’s what I got:

I’m a business consultant for creative women entrepreneurs & solopreneurs who love their work so much it almost hurts. I ignite ideas, fire up strategies, and create a space for my clients to do their great work in. I take their visions & ideas, draw the details out of them, and turn them into bite sized bits that can be translated into (sustainable!) timeframes on calendars, with actionable steps based on their priorities and goals. My clients believe that soul-driven work & people who believe in the value of their own work 110% can change the world, and so do I. And now I wanna know: what do you do that’s just for you? How do you support + take care of yourself? (Me? It’s alllll about the high-quality loose leaf tea, baby.)

I’ve no doubt I’ll want to edit it when I wake up tomorrow…but right now, I’m fairly happy :) Which is saying a lot since I always struggled with this. THANK YOU for a supremely helpful worksheet, Alexandra! You are a magical ball of rainbow fairy dust.

I’ve been sitting on this since it came out so that I can print it out and use it on my professional development day (today). I’ve done similar exercises in just about every biz course I’ve taken, to be honest, but I find that I come up with different variations each time and with each teacher. Let’s see what kind of pimptastic awesomeness I churn out this time. Will report back with results.

Fantastic post! I am currently in a phase of trying to filter through things I love doing to try and define my purpose in life. This was incredibly helpful!

I was recently writing up a business plan for a company that I want to start and I was getting completely overwhelmed trying to limit my services. Thanks for helping me clear up a few things with this post. It’s time for me to take control and live with a little more self confidence.

I love your writing and all your advice! Thanks for being truly inspirational!

xx Nikki

And here’s what I came up with!

“I’m the headologist – an asskicking transmogrifier working with self-aware, funky people who believe they have all the tools already inside them to level up their awesomeness. I’m currently working 1-on-1 with my tribe and concocting a deep-reflection journalling course designed to get you acquainted with your Self. So…what does YOUR next level of awesome look like?”

Could always use a tweak or two, but I think that’s the best biz intro I’ve written so far (including the one I did in the process of the Spark Kit)!

LOVING all the fabulous intros being posted. An unexpected treat.

That is all.

xo.

:: A

p.s. Ev’Yan :: you can keep “intuitive.” But only you. HA!

Alexandra Franzen on Nov 11, 2011 Reply

Loved this! Did this! And I have to say, I feel a heck of a lot more marketable! Feel free to check out the new me on my website! (Hacks away at HTML code furiously to get it updated…)

(:
Esme

Great post and so refreshing to kick all those boring stuffy job titles to the curb.

Also – totally unrelated – but are you really from New Zealand? Are you? Are you? Because if so, I am even more excited for our sesh in December.

BOOM! I bookmarked this and came back to it when I was ready. This week I am working on 2012 goals/branding, so it seemed right. I love the format – thanks so very much! Here’s my new statement, now found in the bottom of all my blog posts & website.

I am an unconventional, energy tornado of a Life Coach. I galvanize people who are looking for more in their lives to take action! I inspire them to see simple solutions to overwhelming problems. I believe that there is no such thing as ‘the norm’ and that ‘should’ is a useless word. I believe we are never more scared then when we are walking towards our dreams, and that it is worth it. Currently I’m working with clients one on one and also launching One Creative Thing – a daily practice to discover everything you love about your life. But what I really want to know is, what do you freaking want?

Inspired by the 5 Scripts I gave it a whirl …
I am an authorized messenger from the collective horse conscious. I am on a mission to provoke and bring deeper awareness to horse owners and enthusiasts by sharing what horses have to say and how they want to be seen. As part of that I am passionate about recovering the spirit of the misunderstood horse and mindfully preserving the well-being of the unblemished one. I see the physical and sense the divine. In my ideal world domestication of the horse would be equally enriching for human and horse, as they interchangeably show up as teacher and student.
I walk the walk. I conceptualized and realized the first Equine Wellness Expo in ’11 and am off to plan 2012. I blog, I write, I facilitate. 2 books are in the making. The horse wants me.

I have a cocktail party tonite, I better go and practice my lines :-)

Can’t wait for our session so we can tighten that baby up.

thank you, thank you!
this is exactly what i needed !

Hello Alexandra !

I’m a little late to this party, but I was just so impressed with your post and with all the inspiring comments that followed that I felt I just had to step our of the shadows and tell you who I am too!

I’m a socially conscious voice over artist and I’m passionate about serving ethical and green businesses and social entrepreneurs who want a heart centered, friendly and magnetic voice for their vision and who believe that we are making the world a better place, one transaction at a time. I’m also happily putting my money where my mouth is as I’ve pledged to give 10% of my profits to charities that provide quality education to women and children, and that protect the environment & our biodiversity. Now that you’ve found me, I’m dying to know: are you part of my tribe?

I put my business on the back burner 9 years ago to raise my son and I’m now ready (and somewhat apprehensive) to dive back in. Your blog has had a tremendously positive effect on me. Thank you kindly for sharing your insight and talents!

I’m a champion for mission-driven do-gooders — people driven to do good and do it right. I believe in clear goals, coherent strategies, disciplined implementation, and relevant performance indicators.
Right now I’m:
* Leading operations infrastructure for the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
* Working with a former global development CEO to align operations & social good for a multinational mining enterprise.
I challenge my partner organizations to seek, to evaluate, and to shift.
What’s your vision? How are you getting there? How’s it going? How will you know?

THANK YOU HOLY THANK YOU, Alexandra and all who’ve shared here.

You are SOOO amazing and inspiring. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m so glad to have found you!

I am an over-the-moon enthusiastically hip and motivational gluten free health coach for anybody ready to fall head-over-heels in love with the food that will unequivocally love them back. I am currently coaching clients 1-on-1 and in groups, and am working on the #1 guidebook for “It’s So Easy To Be Gluten Free!”. So, I’m curious: what’s stopping you from waking up everyday and saying, with all your heart, “Wow, I feel AMAZING!”?

OOOOOOOH, this is AWESOME! I answered all the questions separately for what I am now, a student, what I want to be, a museum curator, and an important hobby of mine, running a cooking and wellness blog (which isn’t actually up yet because I can’t think of a name, GAH.) I really like the result of my museum curator introduction:

I’m an art history student at {my uni’s name} training to be an influencer in the world of museum curatorship. I want to create innovative exhibits that make people think about today’s society by looking to the past. I’m currently trying to find an internship or job at a museum or gallery. Have you been to any museums or galleries lately?

(This would lead to me asking them if they knew anyone in the art world – connections, whooo!)

How does that sound? :)

Thanks so much for this, I can feel myself gaining more clarity already! :)
– Laura

Where have you been all my life… I love your way with words and great template tools. So happy my good friend put me on to you.

Kate xoxo

1 :: Write down your official job title.

Writer

2 :: But who are you, really?

I’m a freakin’ magician and sorcerer. I’ve been dubbed “the word shaman”

3 :: Who do you serve?

Kindred spirits, daring souls and artistic personalities AKA entrepreneurs who are as addicted to hot yoga and green juice as I am.

4 :: What do they want?

Wee hint: what do they pay you for? And what do they thank you for?

They thank me for inspiring them, actually. They simply tell me I am an inspiration + they pay me to… do that.

5 :: What do they (and hopefully, you) believe?

We touch the hand of god when we create.

6 :: What’s on the horizon, for you? What are you creating / building / launching / plotting NEXT?

Booked Solid: 100 Creative Ways to Offer your Services with Heart

7 :: What are you secretly dying to know, about everyone you meet?

I’m dying to know what their soul is dying to express, actually…

Tagline:
1- Entrepreneur in Residence
2- seeker, originator, adviser, investigator, mentor theorist, intuitive, detective
3- I serve CEO’s
4- I help CEO’s stay competitive in rapidly changing markets and solve critical business problems through optimising technology and the latest research.
5- I will help you keep your business optimised.
6- On my horizen I am managing several online brands through idea development through launch and finally to profitability.
7- I secretly want to know that everyone I meet likes me and believes in me.

I am an intuitive problem solver that provides my clients with ways to optimise their business so that they can have more success and more time freedom to enjoy life.

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