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.
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.
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.