Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Identity Crisis

Or "The Curse of a Jack of All Trades, but Master of None"
Or "Feeling Mediocre in an Expert World"

Someone asked me today: "If you had a business card, what would it say?" Got me thinking. I've had similar questions before... What do you do? What is your passion? What is your area of expertise? Who are you? (That last one was from an animated caterpillar, so I won't let it bother me)

To be frankly and vulnerably honest,

I Dunno.

Take, for example, the mix of weird jobs I've held in my lifetime:
  • livestock caretaker
  • youth soccer referee
  • cashier at a rugged general store in the Sierra Nevadas
  • rural homeless shelter/food bank admin
  • fragrance model and makeup counter manager
  • pageant coach
  • seminary teacher
  • newspaper, magazine and television reporter
  • network news field producer
  • mother and wife (i.e. nurse, cook, interior designer, hair stylist, wardrobe manager, maid)
I don't have one focus. There are a great many things I have a passion for that I'm okay at: raising and inspiring girls, wife-ing Michael (depending on the day), having home that's pleasant and color-coordinated and organized (depending on the room), sincerely encouraging others to achieve their potential. I love serious, wild, adventurous travel. I love throwing parties. I love cooking, sewing and crafting. I love to be outside. I love fashion.

I could talk for hours (or blog) about any of those things. But, I wouldn't consider myself the best at any one of them particularly. Or anything, for that matter. How can I be a little bit of all of those things? My friend calls me the human encyclopedia. How do you market that?

Michael sweetly reminds me I'm a d*#n good reporter. I (humbly) suppose that's it. I do love to write. I love to meet all kinds of people, hear their stories and share those stories with others. I love to ask penetrating questions and learn new things. But... what do I do with that? How sexy is being a good writer? Writers wear cords and live with cats and like quiet music and watch Jim Leher NewsHour.

Readers -- Am I the only one who has trouble defining herself on a business card? Or who feels like there's always someone better than me at any of the things I think I'm decent at?

This summer, I'm attending BlogHer in New York City. I have a strong feeling there's an important reason I'm supposed to be there, but not sure why. You see, the women there have twitter fans and sponsorships. They have supercool screen names that say something about who they are, like Design*Sponge and Pioneer Woman and MizFit. They have a specialty. They have an identity.

So, maybe that darn caterpillar is getting under my skin after all.


Casey Marie said...

al- I know EXACTLY how you feel. Except, with one more problem. I HAVE to pick a focus-my major. I cannot pick a major to save my life. But your identity could be something like "best person ever". Just sayin.

MULLH said...

Item 1: Anyone who knows me knows I don't use that kind of language :)

#2: As a Disney "Expert" I will have to say it is "whO R U?" a smoke like font when available.

#3: No cool name uses a "z" in place of a "s". That may have been cool or original a couple of decades ago, but now it is just a sign some one beat you to the proper spelling, you are unoriginal, and you try to hard to be young and hip.

Alicia said...

I'm loving this post and all that it implies.
Yeah... I thought I was waaay past identity crises age. Turns out I was just getting started.
As for defining yourself on a business card, sounds too hard.

Marianne & Clayton said...

Get out of my head Allison.

As for business cards? Try one word ideas like:

Allison Hansen

Allison Hansen


Allison Hansen


Allison Hansen

(Ok, so I could make like seventy if I used two words.)