This is just a reminder.

Today …

Did you write?

Then you’re a writer.

Did you make art?

Then you’re an artist.

Did you make it clearer and simpler?

Then you’re a teacher.

Did you stand up and say the words you needed to say?

Then you’re a speaker.

Did you twirl in a new idea?

Then you’re an innovator.

Did you do what you said you were going to do?

Then you’re a professional. (And a success.)

Did you listen?

Then you’re a healer.

Did you fall in love?

Then you’re a genius.

Did you leave the world in slightly better condition than you found it?

Then you’re making a difference.

You can hold whatever title you want.

You’re not a fraud. You’re not a joke. You don’t have to beg, plead or pay for the name that you want to claim.

You just have to do the deeds, write the words, make the art.

Behavior is what counts.

Building a body of work — public or private, large or small — is what counts.

Nothing else matters.

This is just a reminder.

You’re not obligated to believe it.

But it’s awfully liberating when you do.

These words were inspired by Julia Cameron’s The Right To Write, and by every colleague and friend who has ever asked me, “Am I really allowed to call myself that?” The answer is YES.