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.