Are You Boxed in a Label? Breaking Free is as Easy as Shifting Your Mindset.
Updated: Mar 25
Why do we place so much importance on labels? If we really think about it, it affects our everyday lives much more than we realize. From the way we conduct ourselves and interact with one another to the decisions we make. Labels define and categorize our relationships, priorities and conduct. The way we interact with someone we label a "friend" is often very different from how we act with someone we label as "family."
If you really want to know the importance of labels, ask any person stuck in one position for years, longing to level up. Girlfriend to wife. Employee to boss. Labels matter. But what determines a label? Is it just a set of rules and definitions that, as a society, we feel we must all adhere to, or is it merely in our heads?
For years, I've felt stuck and unfulfilled in my purpose. My professional label has been "lawyer" for so long that I have never thought of myself as anything else. I worked so hard and sacrificed so much to achieve this title that I've worn it as a badge of honor and prestige. Even when the recession hit me like so many others, I was still a lawyer (albeit an unemployed one). The degree and hefty student loans solidified that. When asked to tell someone about myself, my first response is often to say that I'm a lawyer. Even though I've been doing it for years, and I'm good at what I do, is it really who I am? Does it define me and my life's purpose?
I don't think that I ever really took the time to ask myself these questions; that is before today. I went to a women's empowerment summit, and someone shared a notion with me that was so simple and yet so profound that it blew me away. I truly doubt this woman knew how impactful her words were. I was in a workshop when I expressed frustration in being a lawyer, wanting to transition into being a writer and creator and not knowing how or even where to start. This woman sitting in front of me, whom I'd never met before, quietly slipped me a note that changed the whole game for me. She wrote:
"See yourself as a creative writer who happens to work as a lawyer. This shifts the energy of your mindset. When you embrace this mindset, you become that person- then like connects and attracts like. You naturally begin to connect with those like you who can support you and may connect you with those that can help you grow."
I read that little white post-it note at least three times, and then the weight of it came down on me like a ton of bricks. I finally realized at that moment that my persistent frustration was not in being a lawyer but because I had trapped myself in a world where I saw myself as just a lawyer needing to find a way out of the law. What I hadn't realized until that moment was that I had already found my way out and that I was already everything that I "wanted" to be. It's so evident right here that I'm not a lawyer who writes but a writer, content creator and creative thinker just disguised as a lawyer.
Being a lawyer is what I do ( for now), but it isn't who I am. What you do and who you are can be very separate and distinct things. There are those who are truly fortunate that they've found the key to marrying the two. Isn't that the goal, though?
When who you are gives you passion and purpose and manifests itself into what you do, then as far as I'm concerned, you've reached Nirvana. Imagine a life where your work and personal life seamlessly blend into one another without you even noticing. There is no need to chase money because you do what you love and your job is who you are, so the money abundantly follows. Is this a far-fetched dream? I don't know. Oprah, I'm sure would say, it's attainable. If Nirvana is real, I'm certain she's Buddha. After all, didn't she coin the phrase "Live your best life"? Having what you do be who you are?
Right now, I'm exploring what my best life looks like. With that one little note, I felt the shackles of my own self-imposed limitations released. I've been looking through the spectacles of a lawyer for so long that I'm now ready to shed that label and look at my life through an all-new creative lens.