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Last week a good friend and fellow writer posted on Facebook an encounter she had at her local store… At the counter, she was asked what her occupation was, in as she describes it, “that dry, sterile, get-me-out-of-here voice that anyone who works a job they detest” uses.

For the first time, Sarah replied, “I’m a Writer”. With confidence, she owned her reply as not something to fear, but rather, something to be damn proud of. Something she earned. In her own words, Sarah said, “my soul felt alive”.

When someone asks, “What do you do?” – do you find yourself stumbling to answer? Not because you don’t know, but because you’re afraid to own it?

We’re afraid of owning the role(s) we’ve created for ourselves. The titles that have not been printed on a business card by an HR department, but rather, one we have proclaimed for our self.

Writer. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Beekeeper. Musician. Filmmaker, Personal Trainer. Programmer. Life-coach. 

I’ve been faced with the same question Sarah was faced with time and time again. And when I respond that I am a Life Coach/Retreat Facilitator and talk about my company, I’m often met with that “get a real job” tone that responds and doesn’t quite understand how or why declaring who I am and what I do still, every time, gives me goose bumps and makes my heart race. That it’s in those moments, where I may be questioned or doubted, that I feel most alive.

The hesitation to confidently declare who we are and what we do comes from being young. It comes from being inexperienced. It comes from feeling too old and afraid to make a shift in career. It comes from people telling us that we’re just kidding ourselves. It comes from feeling like we can’t possibly keep up with all the awesome happening around us.

But as is with anything, practice makes perfect.

Today, go and declare who you are to a friend. Your spouse. A family member. Start building your tribe of supporters and believers with the people that matter most in your life.

Then, declare yourself to your community. Your blog readers. Your Twitter followers. A complete stranger you meet at the grocery store.

Be proud of what you do and who you are!

Today you have permission to take the leap from believing you’re something to declaring it – owning it – doing it – and living it.

What do you do?

  • I’m a mum, that’s what I do, I do it pretty well. I’m happy being a mum, proud to tell everyone I’m a mum

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  • Really interesting article! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • The advise to own what and who you are resinates well with me, as a nurse I am confounded by the negativity that women (mostly) answer to the question, “What do you do”. I have yet to hear a response full of passion and confidence. Why is this why are they (we) afraid to be honest with our selves and own our achievements? Good article indeed.

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  • be honest, step up and own it and be surprised because it is not a shameful thing lol

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  • Yes, I’m one of those people who’s afraid to own it.. I’m still on a look out for a job I love.

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  • Proud of what I am and what I do.

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  • I wondered why someone at a store would even be asking a customer’s occupation.
    I would be so tempted to say “I’m not supposed to discuss it”.

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  • interesting article I agree be proud of what you do and own it!

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  • I often say that am a domestic engineer, I run the home.

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  • Very encouraging article. Thanks for sharing.

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  • My jobs get a bit of a mixed reaction too… sometimes I just say a blanket term for it lol.

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  • Homemaker – another one that gets mixed reactions

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  • Most people ask what we do purely out of trying to make conversation or get to know us better rather than them being nosey parkers.

    I can relate to some people not wanting to divulge their occupation. As a previous Federal Government Employee for too many years, working as a debt collector for two different departments that are not always received favourably by some members of the public, I would be on the end of some rather nasty comments, tirades and sometimes threatening behaviour when my occupation was known – I just accepted the reactions, we can’t all work selling flowers or perfume.

    Now that I’ve given up work and I’m asked what I do, I tell people I’m the CEO of my own business (my household).

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  • I find that one hard to answer – especially when its Mr 3 asking

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  • I hate that question, really what does it matter what you do, all life is important

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