Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How do you define yourself?

I had an interesting discussion with a good friend of mine yesterday regarding defining oneself.  It spurred a significant amount of thought overnight in my mind about how I define myself.  It's obviously something I have thought about before because the title of my blog essentially speaks to that point.  How do I define the many facets of my life?  So, here is a stab at the underlying basis of why I define myself different ways to different people.

I believe that it all comes down to fitting in and being relevant in a relationship.  If I am among a bunch of work collegues, I become a sales and marketing professional pretty quickly.  Most people don't care much about my sports life, family life, or my entrepreneurial aspects.  They may want to know a little more about "who I am", but in that world, I am most relevant and valuable to to define myself as a sales and marketing professional.  Now, in my sporting life, I hate to define myself as a certain type of athlete.  Tennis player, triathlete, swimmer, runner, etc.  Every type of athlete comes with some pre-conditioned stereotypes.  Triathletes tend to be seen as super fit, super anal, and pretentious.  Tennis players tend to be seen as snobby and upper class.  So, I prefer to define myself as an athlete that plays many sports.  Very generic.  Very boring.  Very appropriate.

And then I can define myself as a family man.  I absolutely love being a dad.  I could/do define myself as a father at every opportunity.  Father's understand the impact that little daughters have on them.  It changes your perspective on almost everything.  As for the way I provide value, the greatest thing a parent can do is to raise a child with love and support, and there's nothing more valuable than that. 

So the answer to my question about the basis of defining myself...I believe I provide the most value to the most people by defining myself as a father.  As a family man.  Then everything else falls into place where it is most appropriate.  Athlete.  Entrepreneur.  Sales and marketing professional.  Friend. 

How about you?  How do you define yourself?  I would love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading.