Have you earned your title?

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How long has it been since you updated your bio? What about just taking mental stock of what it is you say you do versus what your calendar says? Would you call yourself a professional engineer or artist? An entrepreneur? A dedicated wife or sister? Do you PRACTICE those things actively? If not, your title may have expired.

Here are a couple of really useful ideas for prioritization and finding your direction gleaned from a recent Tim Ferriss podcast episode with Derek Sivers.

Idea 1: You have to keep earning your title or it expires

So for years I kept calling myself an entrepreneur until one day I realized like, wait a second, this is expired! Like somebody who is an athlete in high school can’t keep calling himself an athlete forever.

You have to keep earning that title or it expires, right? Same thing with being a good friend. Same thing with any labels that we call ourselves. You can’t just keep using that forever. You have to keep it up or it expires.

I love this. It’s related to the concept from something James Clear wrote about in Atomic Habits around how each thing we do is a vote for the person we are. After enough votes, you aren’t trying to be something anymore, you made it. Feeling that strong sense of identity (I am a runner vs I want to become a runner) is the key to unlocking meaningful habit change.

I’d like to think of myself as a good friend, a good son, and a good husband, but do I actually do the things that earn me this title?

Idea 2: Look to your heroes for direction

Looking to your heroes. I call it my people compass. If you’re not sure which way to go, you can ask yourself, “Well, who do I admire? Who do I like?”

So ultimately we want to be our ideal selves, right? And that your heroes are your idealized self, right? That’s why we idolize certain people, is we want to be like them. So that reveals what your values are.

I actually learned this technique years ago but haven’t gone through the process in a while. It goes something like this: Make a list of 5 people whom you admire for different things. Try to think about one friend, family member, celebrity, fictional character, etc. List out what you admire about each of those people. These are your values.

But the reason I call it a people compass is related to when you’re not sure what business to start. A lot of people are looking at many different options right now. The way I think about it is asking yourself, “What kind of people do I like being around?” Because these are the people you’re going to be serving. You have to like them. You want to love your customers and love serving them, because ultimately, even if it’s the money, what you really really want is the emotional fulfillment, right?

What kind of people do you like being around is similar to the question, “What do you want your days to look like?

It seems to me that when you put both of these ideas together, you’ll have a pretty good sense of what you should do next.

Comments welcome!

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