You Are Choices, Not Labels

I’m an extrovert, I’m an introvert, I’m shy, I’m excessive, I’m not creative. The list goes on and on when it comes to labels that we give ourselves or that other people have heaped upon us. While it is true that in the moment your behavior may have earned that label, it was only that moment. Labels make it easy to put someone in a category or as I like to call it “put them in a box”. Human beings are not boxes or packages that need a label to tell the world where they are going.

Human Beings Are Not Static

We are choices that we make every day, we can be shy in one moment and wildly outgoing the next. Why is it so important to recognize and try to minimize labeling? Labels can be extremely limiting in nature and allow for complacency and a fixed mindset. It’s not just you who are labeling either; it’s your parents, childhood friends and co-workers. While “Bob” may have been a shy child at the age of 10, it would be foolish to think that “Bob” is the same person at the age of 38. Human beings change, adapt, and have the right to show up every moment how they want to.

Change is Good

The self-imposed labels are comforting because it gives us an identity. Change can be a scary proposition for some people. If you are known as being an athlete and you like that label, you may cling on to it. The challenge is that at some point you may not still be doing athletics and have chosen a different path. Does that lessen who you are now or diminish what you accomplished as an athlete? Absolutely not, but it does allow you to be more than just an athlete or a musician or whatever label you or others have assigned to you.

It’s Up to You

You get to decide who you are every single day and every single moment. This is an important point because if the label is serving you in the moment then use it. For instance, if you want to be a runner, then label yourself a runner and identify with that in the moment. If a label is not serving you and holding you back, then shed the label within yourself and don’t allow others to put you in a box either. If you want to be an incredible public speaker but bombed the last speech, does that mean you are not a great speaker? No, and the only chance you have at nailing the next speech is to tell yourself I’m a great public speaker.

Having the ability to choose to be whomever we want to be is powerful. There are other emotions that are going to come along such as “imposter syndrome” or sliding back to old habits because that’s who people think you are. Have the courage to show up as you want to show up. You can overcome the “imposter syndrome” or adhering to what people expect you to be. You get to make that choice. You have the freedom and ability to choose to be exactly what you want to be. Give the world permission to label you as the very best version of yourself!


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JM Ryerson founded and sold 3 businesses and is now helping leadership teams do the same. He is an Author, Leadership & Performance Coach, International Speaker, and host of the Let’s Go Win podcast who has been building companies and leading sales teams for over 20 years. JM is the co-founder and CEO of Let’s Go Win whose mission is to increase leadership, enhance culture, and help teams achieve peak performance. JM’s great passions are inspiring people to live their best lives and become open to what life has in store for them. His ultimate goal is to give others the tools that will allow them to transcend their self-limiting beliefs. JM was raised in Montana and lives in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Lisa and their two amazing boys.