How Do You See Yourself?

Many people see themselves as their titles. “I’m a tester or developer or project manager or business analyst.”

You are not your role. You are not your title.

You are your values, your mission. You are most definitely not the number of people in your organization. You’ve heard managers say, “I have xx or xxx people in my organization,” right? That makes me nuts. What, these people don’t have value if they don’t have people in their organizations?

Maybe not. Here’s a thought: What kind of value do they have, if they have to describe themselves based on the number of people in their organizations? What happens if you become unemployed?

The first time I was laid off, I was confused. Could I still call myself a software developer if I wasn’t working? Of course I could. That was my profession, even if I didn’t have a job. This goes to show you how your self-esteem takes a hit when you lose a job, even if you are great and the company can’t afford to pay you.

Think about how you provide value.

I work hard to simplify ideas in my writing and speaking, so people can solve problems better in their projects, in their management. As the technical editor for, I’ve been doing that as a writing coach for the past three-plus years.

You do something else.

I used to say I was a management consultant. I still say that, but I have to explain what I do as a consultant or coach. Just saying I consult or coach is not enough. What I say on twitter is that I help managers and leaders do reasonable things at work.

Just saying you test or manage or develop or whatever is not enough. Once you start talking about your values, you change the game. You make the conversation engaging, not just to the other person, but to yourself.

If you are hiring, you set the stage for cultural fit. If you are looking for a job, wow. How do you think you look to a potential employer? You look like someone who really knows what they have to offer.

If you have not considered this question yet, take some time and consider it. You get no points for a fast answer. You do get points for thinking and considering what your values are.

So, my dear adaptable problem-solvers, this week’s question of the week is: How do you see yourself?

2 thoughts on “How Do You See Yourself?

  1. Carla

    I set up my audacious idea earlier this year and it might be something you’re interested in, Johanna: it’s a daily email prompt to help fiction writers to “Start Writing, Keep Writing & Finish Things”. The writing prompts are created from my work as a Theatre Artist and Fiction Writer. More info at

    1. johanna Post author

      Carla, what a great idea. I love the part about “finishing.” I was at a writers conference this past weekend. I was astonished at the number of people who had not even started something since the last conference.

      I subscribed to your trial week… We’ll see what you prompt in me :-)

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