The Problem with Labels
I admit it. I have a love-hate relationship with labels.
One the one hand, I hate labels. They box me in and feel constricted, contrived, and they don’t seem to leave room for growth and transformation. Sometimes I even make decisions based on the labels I’ve given myself (or even the labels I’ve given to others). I’ve said ‘no’ to invitations and opportunities if the label I’ve given myself isn’t a match for the invitation or possible opportunity. Of course, the reverse is also true and I say “yes” to offers and invitations that align with my self-perceived labels. Let me give you some examples:
Label: Not outdoorsy = “no” to offers to go hiking
Label: Introverted and shy = “no” to invitations to attend networking events
Label: Snorer = “no” to travel invitations if it involves me rooming with someone else
Label: Learner = “yes” to attending classes even if the subject matter isn’t interesting to me
Label: Spiritual = this one is a loaded one for me and I could write several blogs on this alone – and could be my least favorite label (but sounds so good, right?)
And on the other hand, I love labels. They make me feel safe. And comfortable. I know what the boundaries are. I can explain myself and think others can understand me as well. I know how to fit in and what’s expected. But is that really how I want to live my life? Safe and comfortable? Sometimes. Okay, okay, probably wayyyy more than sometimes. All the time. But there is that Divine Spark inside me that won’t be comfortable or boxed in and must push through those labels!
Introvert, extrovert, failure, bossy, pushy, homeless, reckless, lazy, stingy, careless, Virgo, Aires, healer, outgoing, friendly, good girl, bad boy - - and the labels go on and on.
I’m studying Human Design and I’m a Projector. Yup, another label. And while I can identify strongly with many of the elements of a Projector, I find myself making excuses based on that label and saying things like, “That isn’t the right path for a Projector” or “I can’t start that because as a Projector, I need to wait to for an invitation.” But what do I do in the meantime? Nothing?
I’m not too good at “Nothing.”
And why am I not good at “nothing?” Do I think that makes me lazy (another label)? Or do I think I’ll just be a ‘lump on a log’ (another label)? Or have I bought into an idea that being busy is being productive and our society celebrates and applauds productivity. Productive. Another label.
Do you see where I’m going? I’m going around and around and around with labels of all shapes and sizes! And maybe this is part of being human. Categorizing. Labeling. Differentiating. Separating. And how do I resolve this labeling with the Oneness I profess to believe in? Oneness can’t have a label.
One of my most cherished labels was COACH. Did you notice I wrote “was” and not “is”? My ‘coach’ label had a lot of rules, expectations, strategies, tactics, and ‘shoulds.’ While I loved that label, it was exhausting. I was always reaching for that brass ring and getting hypnotized by the latest and greatest shiny object that came into view.
Wearing my 'coach' label, I allowed myself to feel like a failure when I couldn’t ‘nail my niche’ or look forward to sales calls. I wondered why I didn’t want to have a high-end product ($2,000+) or a group coaching goal and thought this must be tied to low self-worth. More labels.
In my Mustang Sallies group last week, I shared that I wanted to sit with a few questions and one of them was, “Where am I living a conventional life – and is that by choice or complacency?”
My coaching practice is unconventional. What fulfills me and makes me happy seems to be different than conventional wisdom or what most other coaches and mentors teach. And I’ve fought against this unconventional desire. I’m starting to embrace it now.
And why am I sharing all of this you might be wondering?
As I’m leaning more and more into my own authentic way of living, some of my old labels are slipping away (even if I try and hang on to some of them!). And this new authentic way of living will result in changes that I don’t even know about yet. Of course, some of the changes will affect my coaching and some changes have already affected my coaching.
Change #1: All of my eCourses are now offered on a “Pay What You Want” basis. I currently have 5 online offerings:
- 5 Days to Trigger-Proof Your Life
- 5 Days to Finding Fulfillment in Life
- Unshakeable Happiness
- Find Your Purpose and Unleash Your Passion
- ‘You are Worth it’ Bundle
- Starting Monday, I’ll be sending out a weekly email called Pearls of Prosperity and sending out fewer blogs. These emails (42 in all) were part of my Pathways to Prosperity program and these weekly emails will contain the following:
- A prosperity quote
- An idea to journal about, meditate on, or just contemplate
- An affirmation
- An activity or action (also available as a downloadable pdf) to help get you focused and moving in the direction of your dreams.
Change #3: I’m going back to what I love to do and what I’m good at: talking and teaching. Of course, my talks will be spiritually-based and will be loaded with stories and some jokes. And I’ll throw in some thought-provoking questions, discussion time, and a nice amount of schmoozing. And the classes will be on relevant topics that will help you get in touch with your true essence and guide you to live your aligned life. This will have an investment level of $27/month and I’ll be starting in January.
So, quite a few changes compared to what I’ve been doing – and this came about as I was thinking about labels and which labels I could let go of. Cool, huh?
What labels can you let go of? I’d love to know.
And here are the other two questions I'm sitting with as I learn to eliminate more and more labels:
- How have I unintentionally boxed myself in - either by lack of imagination, my own success, or by comparing?
- Where am I being seduced by the lure of should, have to, FOMO, or everybody wants that messages?
Women hire Janet to design a life of meaning, fulfillment, and passion because most struggle with putting everyone else first, playing small, and feeling like a fraud. She helps them crush their excuses so they can move beyond the negative voices in their head and unleash their purpose, unmask their self-confidence, and uncover possibilities that they have been blind to.
Bottom line: You need to say “YES” to yourself to live the aligned life you were meant to live.
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