Can you describe yourself in one word?
For the generations before me it was easy to say who or what they were: I’m a smith, because my father is a smith and my grandfather was a smith. I’m a baker because I bake stuff from morning to evening. I’m a writer because I earn my living by writing books and articles. I’m a banker, I’m a yoga teacher, I’m an artist, I’m a mum.
It is important and convenient to be able to say who or what you are, because it gives you identity and people can categorise you better.
You can print it on business cards or the sign over the door to your shop or office or home. If you can say who or what you are then you can say that at least you are someone.
Even for me until last year, it was easy. I was a student. In that way I fit in a comfortable category, I got certain privileges and people could imagine what I was doing the whole day. (Or at least they thought they could.)
Enter my Master’s degree. Me leaving university and going to Kenya. Not getting a job, just a bit confused. The search for myself, my talents, my goals, my desires, my purpose.
Enter my CV. But what to write on top?
Laura, unemployed ex-student? Laura, journalist who doesn’t want to be one? Laura, blogger?!
In the end of last year I set myself a goal.
By my birthday I wanted to be able to give myself a label, a description, something to put on my CV and business cards.
I wanted to tell people who and what I am so that they are less confused than I am.
Since then I have actually written and said many times who and what I am, and depending on the occasion it actually changes.
That, first of all, makes me a multipotentialite. I do a lot of stuff: writing, translating, building websites, bogging, teaching leadership, farming, … The list is long. But it all comes together in this term.
Mostly I introduce myself as a writer. It took me some time to get enough courage to do so but nowadays I have no problem saying that I am a writer. Because I am. I mean, what am I doing here? I write!
I have also become an entrepreneur. I am running Entrepreneur Café Nairobi and I am building my own venture. Doesn’t that make me an entrepreneur? Kind of, but I have my own definition for it that suits me better, which is nontrepreneur.
I am also a freelancer, to pay the bills. So I write and translate for others, and I recently started to informally build websites.
But most importantly, I am an inspiratoress, and I am proud to have made up a word that perfectly describes me.
I found out that my purpose is to inspire, in whatever way or form and whoever. I just do the things I do, and people come and say they were inspired by it. That’s what happens a lot recently and it feels great.
So out of the lack of this one word that describes myself, I came up with my own canon, in which I am perfectly comfortable.
That’s my birthday present to myself. What is yours? Tell me in the comments below whether you are able to dscribe yourself comfortably in one word.