No Labels

Do you label yourself?  Have others labelled you?

Are they positive or negative labels?

Are they helpful labels or unhelpful?

I’ve been thinking about labels a lot because last week, I did something so ‘stupid’ I astonished myself.  Again. 

It’s not the first time, I assure you, and it won’t be the last.

About 12.30am the other night the power went off.  I don’t like the dark generally, but I kept calm and felt my way to my ‘Survival Cupboard’ in the dark, dark hallway. I was looking for the candles and matches that I’ve been stocking up on, in case it all goes ‘Mad Max’ on us.  

I managed to carry the first candle I found, a tall thin dinner candle, back to my even darker kitchen, where I dropped most the matches on the floor before getting the candle lit.  As it would not stand up on it's own, I then went back to the cupboard  where I found a couple of safer, shorter, stubbier candles and put one of those in the bathroom and one in the bedroom.

Feeling a bit more relaxed because there was now light all around, and not a little smug because I was so well prepared, I looked out of the window, only to see that only my part of town was dark and weirdly the streetlights were still on.

‘So…not the promised ‘10 Days Of Darkness’ then…’ I muttered to myself as I got into bed and turned on my favourite soothing podcast before nodding off.

Only to be woken by a Disney Princess bellowing through the wall at me, at about 3am.  Yes, you guessed it, I’d left the TV on, and now the power was back, it had turned itself back on, inexplicably tuned to the Disney Channel.

Relating the tale to my friend and mentor the next day, he said something that stopped me in my tracks.

‘Doesn’t your phone have a torch on it?  Surely it does!’ 

Duh!  

It’s not the first time he’s caught me out either, he’s always doing it. 

This was the person who asked me, when I was telling him about the eight weeks of no internet in Greece, why I hadn’t hired a native Greek speaker on Upwork to sort it out for me?  Especially in light of the fact I already had an Upwork VA and an Upwork social media manager on the team.

It just never occurred to me, although I had unsuccessfully tried to hire a local Greek teacher to help me out.

Mirth has been the immediate reaction of everyone I’ve told the ‘power cut story’ to, in my family.  My daughter is threatening to come around and give me a few basic phone lessons, pointing out that the torch symbol is on the bottom left of my home screen!  I’ve had my phone since around 2018, so I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that.

I know my brain works in mysterious ways sometimes which is why I found it so funny.  

Incidents like this are not frequent but do happen regularly.  I could give you quite a few more examples, including the one where, until my late teens, I had never realised that buses ran to fairly exact timetables. 

If only I’d known earlier, I would have saved myself many freezing hours waiting at Worthing Train Station, unsuitably dressed for the weather.

If I didn’t know I was curious, creative and clever, I might well have labelled myself stupid long ago. That’s why I put the word in inverted commas, earlier.  

There are quite a few other labels I could give myself.

Number dyslexic, borderline ADHD, maybe a bit of monotropism (a person's tendency to focus their attention on a small number of interests at any time, tending to miss things outside of this attention tunnel, also known as being ‘in flow’). 

In the olden days, I may have been called eccentric.

However, I was lucky enough to grow up in an age when they didn’t pin labels on children quite so readily, mainly because there was not the same range of drugs to sell to worried parents.

I digress. 

So I’ve always been just curious, creative and clever.  I do slightly daft things sometimes and miss things that may be obvious to others, but those are always balanced out by the amazing things I do.  Things like...

  • Organise & host a fashion show in Brighton
  • Create £160k plus revenue from an empty room in Mayfair in under 6 months
  • Give birth, both underwater, to two healthy babies
  • Bring those babies up to be 'based' human beings
  • Start several six-figure businesses
  • Buy a 12-bed hotel 'no money down', renovate & launch it in 12 weeks flat
  • Write 11 books
  • Survive the sudden death of my partner, Steve
  • Learn to live alone in Greece
  • Visit Mexico and El Salvador alone (all too briefly)

The labels I’ve given myself are positive, and supportive of my internal picture of me as a kind, brave person, a life-long learner, a good-enough Mum and an enterprising entrepreneur.

What labels do you give yourself?  

What stories do you tell yourself about who you are, what you are, how you function?If some of the labels you have given yourself are not helpful, how could you turn them around, make them positive, and more supportive of you as an entrepreneur, going forward?

Tell me your stories and I’ll help you reframe them!

Photo by Claudia Ramírez on Unsplash

Tags

A better entrepreneur, absent minded, clever, curious, Entrepreneurship, labelling children, labels on children, mislabelled, monotropism, stupid


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