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In the book, Untamed, the author wrote about creating a new “identity by design.” She asks, Who do we believe ourselves to be? Then tells us, Go and be that.
This is something I’ve been trying to follow most of my life.
At some point in my childhood I told everyone to start calling me Sam, and they did, even my mom. “Sam” is not a short version of my birth name, and it had no special meaning to me, other than it was the name of my childhood girl crush, Samantha Micelli. I just wanted to choose my own name, so I did.
I don’t really know what made me think I could change my name like that, but thinking back now, I realize I held on to this mentality through adulthood. Over the years, I’ve called myself a writer, a designer, a creative. Some people thought I was presumptuous, maybe even delusional. But somehow that didn’t deter me because I identified myself with being a writer and a designer and a creative no matter what anyone else thought.
These days I call myself a business owner. I make a living doing things I’ve always wanted to do, doing work that I’ve always identified with. It was a looong journey to this point. I had to do years and years of work I didn’t want to do. I was miserable and wondered if I would ever live my dreams. But all the while I kept working to “create on the outside what I was imagining on the inside” (as Glennon Boyle so perfectly worded it). It took me 30 years, 18 jobs and many different names to get here. And I still tell people to call me Sam 🙂
Even though the “success” seems like to took forever to come, the conviction in the who I believed myself to be was always there. All those years when I had a day job and would write for fun at night on my blog that had like ten followers, I still called myself a writer.
What all this has taught me is that we can choose who we want to be. We can choose our own names and our own paths. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It only matters what we believe ourselves to be.
What names do you give yourself?
* Untamed has some great reflections on how to remember our wild. To break free from the cages – fear, doubt, societal expectations – and go after the lives we want.