Stepping into an Identity

November 10, 2017

We’ve got a question from Being Boss New Orleans about at what point you can start calling yourself something as a creative entrepreneur and really own a new identity or title for your work.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"Sometimes identity can be a little aspirational."
- Kathleen Shannon

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Kathleen Shannon 0:02
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Emily Thompson 0:29
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Caitlin Brehm 1:12
Okay, guys, I'm here in Jackson Square in New Orleans with Sandra and she has a question for you.

Amber Kermode 1:18
Hey guys, my name is Amber Kermode and I am a family coach and work with families one on one in schools. And my question is kind of like an exploratory question. But how long do you have to be doing something to then call yourself that thing? So Kathleen and Emily, were talking about how they're writing the book recently, and how they didn't necessarily feel like writers, you ladies were saying you didn't feel like writers but that you feel great saying that you're a podcaster. So at what point? Do you then feel comfortable and confident to call yourselves writers.

Emily Thompson 1:56
Alright, so I am all about calling yourself a thing? Well, before you're ready, if you can, I even think like, if you've done the thing once, or let's say you've done it like five times consecutively, then you can start calling yourself the thing, whatever it may be, unless it's something where you need like special permission to call yourself the thing though, I always think of Dr. Dre whenever I think of people calling themselves doctors. And so even if you have balls as large as Dr. Dre is you can call yourself a doctor without having a doctorate. Right. Um, but all of that to say as early as you are comfortable doing it, if not earlier, for Kathleen and I and figuring out how to when we were okay calling ourselves writers. I definitely had author on my website a good almost a year before the book actually came out. Because I had officially authored a book, even if people couldn't hold it in their hands yet. Maybe some people think that's too early, I don't care. I think as long as you are doing the thing, you can call yourself the thing.

Kathleen Shannon 3:00
Yeah, I think that sometimes really embracing an identity. And this is all this is like whenever it comes to labeling or calling yourself something, it's all about identity. And sometimes identity can be a little aspirational. So calling yourself something before you've really fully embodied it. And I think helps you own it, and it helps you, I don't know, grow into it. So I'm all for calling yourself something before you're ready. And I can't help but think about being a mom. Like I had to I still feel funny whenever my kid calls me Mom, and he's three and a half years old. And it's just like a label that I don't fully identify with yet. So like, when is that gonna feel right? But obviously I'm a mom, right. So that's like a very tactical example of something that you kind of get thrown into whenever it comes to your identity. But I think it can be the same for your job title as well and just throw yourself into it before you're ready. And eventually it's going to fit. I will say specifically around being a writer though, I was probably blogging for a good four years before I felt felt really comfortable calling myself a writer. And now that we have authored a book and now that I'm an author, I am 100% comfortable calling myself a writer. In fact, it's probably the bulk of what I do. Now I feel funny calling myself a designer and that's really what my roots are in. So call yourself something before you're ready. But also know that it doesn't matter, right? Like it's kind of an ego move on both sides, like whether you're feeling frosty feelings around it or whether you're kind of like pompously blowing yourself up to be bigger than you are. It's none of it matters like it's all the same. So do just what feels best to you. And do was like I'm constantly thinking that you just need to do what serves your creativity. If calling yourself a writer gives you makes you paralyzed whenever you sit down to write Because you feel like you can't live up to the pressure then don't call yourself a writer but still sit down and write. Whereas if calling yourself a writer gives you motivation to sit down and write and it gives you the authority and confidence to sit behind your keyboard, then by all means, call yourself a writer. Just do what serves your creativity best.

Emily Thompson 5:18
There you have it. Thank you so much Sandra for coming to hang out with us in New Orleans. It was fun to hang out with you and I hope this gives you you don't need permission. You probably don't even need additional confidence just maybe a simple go ahead to call yourself whatever you need to.

Kathleen Shannon 5:36
This minisode was brought to you by Twenty20. Check them out at that's t w e n t y 20 as in the slash being boss.

Emily Thompson 5:50
Did you like this minisode Be sure to check us out on our website at There you can find more from being boss including our full episodes minisodes and blog posts. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so that you can get access to behind the scenes and exclusive content from Kathleen and myself to help you be more boss in your work and life. Do the work be boss