The first time I was introduced as an author, it kind of freaked me out, like I was waiting for the Pulitzer Police to come and haul me off stage for impersonation. Then; I looked around the room and didn’t see anyone else who’d written a book and realized I was the closest thing to an author in the room. No I’m not Mark Twain or even John Grisham, but I’m an author, nonetheless.
What title have you claimed for yourself? If you are a Mom who loves to paint, it’s perfectly ok to think of yourself as an artist. An accountant who is writing a novel? An operating room nurse who sings with a band? Try it, introduce yourself to some one new as an artist, or a singer, or a writer, and then hold your breath. Nothing bad happens, aside from feeling like you fibbed. But did you? Who gets to define you, if not you?
When I travel, instead of dressing like a business guy and carrying a briefcase, I strap a guitar to my back and wear jeans. I highly recommend this, the quality of conversation increases and every business guy looks at you with pure envy. Never mind that I am not a union musician, I’m traveling with a guitar on my back, I MUST be a musician.
Golfers call themselves golfers. “Professional golfer” defines some good golfers, but there are a lot of very good amateurs, so simply adding the word professional doesn’t mean you are any less emotionally involved in the sport (I know many “amateurs” who love their sport more than some professionals). And, I can tell you, like artists, there are a lot of “professional” golfers who are barely scratching out a living. Some of them wait tables or work in golf stores, but do you think they define themselves that way? I don’t. They are just golfers with “real jobs”. Real jobs are necessary but they don’t have to define you.
So, do this for you, redefine yourself by your passion, it might disturb your kids that you are calling yourself a singer because you go to karaoke on Saturday nights, but too bad. I think the world would be a better place if instead of defining ourselves by our job titles, possessions, or social status, we defined ourselves by our passions.