In my coaching, I’ve noticed—no surprise here–we are very attached to our jobs and titles—even when we don’t have one.
At a workshop I offered recently, I asked participants to introduce themselves with their name and who/what they really are—at their core.
Not their job title, not their occupation, not their resume.
Some people got into it and came up with insightful responses:
I’m a tinkerer; I tinker with things and make them better.
I’m a connector; I bring people together.
For some people, this exercise was hard.
I’m a vice president.
Really? A vice president? That’s what you are—at your core?
I would accept that answer if it were conceptual, rather than literal.
I used to describe myself as a “great number two guy.”
I never wanted to be “the guy”, but excelled at partnering with the one who was.
Until a champion moment when my friend, Rob, told me that was bulls**t and I was hiding out in second place.
Ouch.
Rob also somewhat famously called me
“A grown up you can trust.”
I like that
and used it nearly a dozen times to get contract work when I sensed companies felt a gap in leadership.

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