The other day, I had a client come to me in an absolute tizzy over her business cards.
“I finally found the perfect design, but I’m so stuck on what to call myself! Obviously, I need to put my name, but shouldn’t I have some title underneath? What’s my title? CEO, Founder, Creator? What do I pick? Why is this so hard?”
“Pause,” I told her. “You just told me last week that you feel incredibly confident in your business mission. What’s really going on here?”
“I’m horrible at this?”
“Nope. Try again.”
She took a deep breath. “I’m getting caught up in unnecessary details and spiraling out because of fear. I’d rather focus on my title than confront the fact that starting a business is scary.”
“Bingo,” I smiled. “Now let’s figure out how to make it less scary.”
This particular client is actually a business whiz, but she fell prey to one of the deadliest creative cul-de-sacs out there: obsessing over details that straight up don’t matter. Deep down, she knew that a byline on a business card wouldn’t make or break her success—it was just self-doubt talking. But when you’re in the thick of finding the right job, or building your business, or making your impact, how do you tell what matters and what’s distraction? What should you focus on instead?
First things first, here are the Top 3 Reasons your exact job title/business niche matters less than you think.
#1: Everyone has a slightly different interpretation of what you do.
Let’s say, for example, that you are a nonprofit professional who’s done tons of administrative tasks, led programs, and worked in fundraising, and now you are ready to leave your current work environment for a better one. So you pull out your laptop, update your resume, and visit your favorite job search site to scan for opportunities, but as you do, you quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer number of job titles available.
“What the heck is a ‘Director of Campaigns?’” you wonder. “I’ve never even heard of that job title! Am I qualified to do that?”
Then, as you scan the job description, you realize that you can do all of the tasks listed and more. You just didn’t have the insider scoop on this particular organization’s vocabulary. Most organizations need similar skill sets—they just call them different things. Similarly, the people whom your business serves may describe what you do in different ways. Because titles and niches vary so wildly, it’s madness to obsess over finding the exact perfect match by title alone.
#2: If you’re growing, your niche is going to change and evolve anyway.
You’re not reading this blog solely for the advice. That piece is nice, but you’re really here because you are deeply interested in making the world a better place, and you know that it begins with you. You’re more comfortable than most when it comes to growing, evolving, and going on new adventures.
While that mindset is an absolutely essential ingredient to creating an impact, it means that things are going to change for you. Often. Your higher power/intuition/soul/whatever is going ask you to continuously evolve, so getting hung up on finding the-exact-perfect-path-that-will-be-the-path-forever-and-ever-amen not only isn’t possible, it’s not in alignment with the very work you are meant to do.
#3: Your calling isn’t about you.
Believe it or not, the work you are most meant to do on the planet isn’t actually about you. You have a desire to make a difference with your work, right? Great! Basically, you have been given an invitation by the Universe—via your desire—to have an impact.
Your ego wants you to think that your calling is all about you: your skills, your talents, and what kind of person you are. But if you believe in a deeper purpose, you’ll realize it’s not actually about you at all—you are simply the vessel for the mission. And as a vessel, you can’t really screw it up by picking the wrong tagline on your business cards. Be the paintbrush, not the painter.
Now that we’ve broken down the specifics of why you shouldn’t let the specifics stop you from moving forward, consider this your permission to stop trying so hard to figure things out.
Here is a short list of things you are allowed to stop obsessing over:
- What the next 20 years of your career will look like (maybe just plan out the the next 3, yes?)
- Quitting a job that’s no longer a good fit for you (just do it already)
- Whether or not your ideas are completely original (nothing is)
- The amount of competition in your chosen field (you’re meant to be here)
- Whether or not you’re qualified (you’re more qualified than you think)
- If you’ll fail (you will, but you’ll try again)
- If everyone will approve of your path (they won’t, but you’re the only one who needs to)
- Starting over and making changes (it’s just a part of the process, yo)
And here is a short list of things to focus on instead:
- Figuring out what support you need in order to be successful in your calling
- The path that feels most authentic and aligned with your deepest desires
- Whom you feel called to impact and serve
- Your most authentic ways of making money and supporting yourself
- How you can cultivate a sense of trust and adventure along the journey
- What your personal definition of success looks like in your life and feels like in your body
- How you want to share your calling with the world
- Taking ridiculously good care of yourself so that you’re in shape to serve and create
As tempting as it may be to make yourself feel better by focusing on nonsense, if you don’t take action toward what matters, what will the world be missing out on? Remember, love: you were born for this. As such, it’s impossible to screw it up. It’s not only the thing you came here to do, it’s also the thing the world needs, and everything in the Universe is conspiring to make it happen through you.
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