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What's Your Most Important Title?

I used to respect titles. Heck, I even worshipped them. If someone had a title I respected, I showed great honor to that person. I don't think this is inherently a bad thing as long as it doesn't become a form of idolization or worship of that person. I sometimes tend to idolize myself though for the titles I hold, and the numerous letters after my name. I worked hard to earn those 17 letters! However, none of these letters reflect my character or true identity. Many people don't even know I have a doctorate because I don't call myself that. I was encouraged to start using it by a mentor because it is something I should be proud of and earns a degree of respect from others. But, it's definitely not the most important title I hold.

This reflection hit me recently when I was thinking about a new title I have: "Mom." My coach (yes, life coaches have coaches!) recently asked me if I thought being a Mom was a calling. I said, "No, because a calling is something you do for others and it's usually your full-time job. I don't plan on being a stay-at-home Mom."

I started thinking about the titles I hold, the ones I have given myself and the ones people have given me. I made a list:

  • Published Author

  • National Speaker

  • Life Coach

  • Educator/Instructor

  • Assistant Director

  • Doctor

  • Advanced Practice Nurse

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

  • Daughter

  • Wife

  • Sister

  • Friend

  • Dog Mom

Then I realized, most of these are not my full-time job for which I get paid, yet I consider them my calling in life!

When I was in nursing school we had to write our obituary. I don't recall the purpose of the assignment and it sounds a tad morbid now that I think about it. I wrote about the titles I wanted to accomplish and the influential roles I aspired to have. Since that day 15 years ago, I've learned influence is very different from titles, though. You don't have to hold a specific title to be an influencer of other people. For example, I've never even worked as a first responder yet I consider myself an influencer in that population because I speak at first responder conferences on a regular basis. An influencer is someone who is considered an expert in their field and has a steady following. Can you be an influencer of one person? YES! If one person considers you an expert and wants to hear what you have to say or wants to follow your example, then you're an influencer!

I didn't put that title on my list because I don't meet the social media definition of "influencer." I don't have enough followers. But there are a handful of people who regularly follow and comment on my social media posts and that is all I need to consider myself an influencer. If I can make a difference in one person's life before I die, that's the most important role to me. Not being an author, national speaker, life coach, wife, or even a mom (even though I'm super excited to hold that title).

Influencing one person - helping them show grace to themself or someone else, release shame, set healthy boundaries, learn to find their identity and purpose, etc. - that's the most important title I hold. Adding one more to my list from above:


For your reflection:

  • What is the most important title you hold? Which is your favorite?

  • Which ones do you need to emphasize less or emphasize more?

  • Which ones do you need to stop idolizing and accept as part of who you are, but they don't define you?

  • What titles are not on your list but you aspire to have them? How can you get there? What do you need to start/stop doing?

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