empathy, Innovation, leadership, Team

How we define ourselves: The Dodge Stratus problem

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The impulse to label ourselves is powerful. Read any bio and you’ll see multiple roles and titles people have placed upon themselves or have been placed upon them. Often these titles and whatnot help us understand their place within hierarchies, for example in business settings (CEOs, Managers, etc). In other instances they help us understand what a person has achieved, and what relevance we may have to them.

At the same time, the labels we place on ourselves can limit our opportunities. Often people do this intentionally. “I’m a <insert random job title> not a <insert other random job title” as an example. I feel that when people do this they are not only claiming ownership of their domain, they are also stating what they are not. In fact, I think that their intent is to exclude themselves from certain “jobs” that they feel is out of their comfort zone.

This is problematic in a number of ways. First of all, everyone has their own conception of what certain jobs and tasks are associated with different titles and often they contradict one another. Secondly, what does this help? What it does is limit your experience in the world by attempting to reinforce a structure that actually doesn’t exist. This limits growth and learning, which is the only thing.

Titles are helpful to a point, and then they become the opposite of helpful. The list of the things you are not is as long as the list of the things you could be. Be your name, do work that interests you, work as teams, draw a wider box around what you think is your problem. Don’t be the Dodge Stratus guy.

 

Chris

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