I have been incredibly blessed to work in an division at Florida State that not only strongly encourages a sense of community, but they also stress the importance of professional development. This past week, I attended all the things.
One of the sessions that I went to was a networking session to get to to know other staff within the Division of Student Affairs. During this exercise, we were given five Post-It notes and were told to write down five things that we are.
“So what are you, Nathan?” I asked myself. “What defines you?” I mean, I know the basics. I’m a husband, a son, etc. but I didn’t have answer for the other three.
Do I dare write blogger?
Do I dare write fitness fanatic?
Do I dare write the things that I intrinsically define myself as, but hesitate to openly admit?
What if people make a comment?
“You? Fitness fanatic? You sure about that? Your manboobs say otherwise…”
“A Blogger? You don’t even have your own domain? Bro, do you even rafflecopter?”
These are the things I worry about, especially now since I’ve gained a little weight since December. What is my identity? Where do I fit in?
So, I wrote down blogger.
Then, I had to go up to a stranger and explain why this label was important to me. I talked to Marvin, a staff member who has worked for Florida State for 14 years. I told him about my journey and he shared his own experience with weight loss and how he lost 30 pounds to get off his medications. It was an inspiring conversation that we wouldn’t of had if I had written something else.
The next day, I went to another professional development retreat where we introduced ourselves along with a fact about ourselves. For the first time in a long time, my fact was the blog. I felt like I was taking pride in my work the way I should. (And then my friend Kellie the Baller told everyone to check it out. Win.)
It feels like with social media, we are so terrified of being definitive with our pride. It feels like there is a troll around every digital corner ready to take you down a peg. While it’s sometimes hard to brush them shoulders off from those comments, a lot of times it’s all in our heads. Sure I’ve had a few rough comments thrown my way (I’m an easy target…I’m awesome :)) but I have had such an amazing support system that keeps my charged and motivated.
Remember, you are awesome. Be okay with who you are and the rest will follow.