Do you use labels to describe yourself?

How would you describe yourself to someone? How would you explain who you really are?

I was asked this question recently, and I found it quite a hard one to answer. Do you define yourself by what you’ve achieved and the successes you’ve had in life? Do you define yourself by what you give out to other people? Do you define yourself by your role within your family, as a parent, a partner, a daughter or son? Or do you give yourself labels, such as extrovert/introvert, or perfectionist/procrastinator, to give a couple of examples?

Having thought about this for a wee while, I realised that I had fallen into the trap of labelling myself as both an introvert and a procrastinator, and I started to wonder if this was actually resulting in limiting thoughts such as, ‘Oh, I’m no good at speaking in public because I’m too much of an introvert’, or, ‘I’ll just put off that scary big job that I don’t want to do ‘til tomorrow’. You see, by telling myself that I was these two things, I was perpetuating the myth, thus creating my reality!

Of course we all have different personalities, and it would be a very dull world if we were all outgoing life and soul of the party types or, at the other extreme, wallflowers, but are we only behaving in these ways because we’ve been conditioned to be like this? It’s also true that we sometimes have different masks that we put on in various professional and social settings, and this can be very unhelpful if we’re pretending to be something we’re not. For example we might be working in a job we hate just because we don’t feel capable of stretching ourselves or we might want to fit into a certain social group, so end up drinking too much or attending parties we don’t really enjoy.

At the risk of not practising what I’m preaching, I would still consider myself to be more of an introvert than an extrovert, but that’s because I mostly enjoy working on my own, I prefer socialising with smaller groups of people and you won’t find me auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent any time soon. However, having said that, as I talked about in my last blog post, I did recently get up and speak in front of a group of people at a networking event without fear and these days I will happily go along to meetings where I don’t know anybody and introduce myself to complete strangers.

And if you’re struggling with procrastination, why not do what I’m doing today and work with an accountability buddy to crack the habit. Break up what time you have available into chunks, set yourself achievable goals and see what you can manage to get off your to do list. It’s working for me!