On (confidently) responding to the dreaded, “What do you do?” question.

Last week my friend and fellow writer Sarah Peck posted on Facebook an encounter she had at her local DMV. At the counter, she was asked what her occupation was, in as she describes it, “that dry, sterile, get-me-out-of-here voice that anyone who works a job they detest” uses.

For the first time, Sarah replied, “Writer”. With confidence, she owned her reply as not something to fear, but rather, something to be damn proud of. Something she earned. In her own words, Sarah said, “my soul felt alive”.

When someone asks, “What do you do?” – do you find yourself stumbling to answer? Not because you don’t know, but because you’re afraid to own it?

We’re afraid of owning the role(s) we’ve created for ourselves. The titles that have not been printed on a business card by an HR department, but rather, one’s we proclaim for ourself.

Writer. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Beekeeper. Musician. Filmmaker. Personal Trainer. Programmer. Life-coach. 

I’ve been faced with the same question Sarah was faced with time and time again. And when I respond that I am an entrepreneur and talk about my company, I’m often met with that “get a real job” tone that responds and doesn’t quite understand how or why declaring who I am and what I do still, every time, gives me goosebumps and makes my heart race. That it’s in those moments, where I may be questioned or doubted, that I feel most alive.

The hesitation to confidently declare who we are and what we do comes from being young. It comes from being inexperienced. It comes from feeling too old and afraid to make a shift in career. It comes from people telling us that we’re just kidding ourselves. It comes from feeling like we can’t possibly keep up with all the awesome happening around us.

But as is with anything, practice makes perfect.

Today, go and declare who you are to a friend. Your spouse. A family member. Start building your tribe of supporters and believers with the people that matter most in your life.

Then, declare yourself to your community. Your blog readers. Your Twitter followers. A complete stranger you meet at the grocery store. An employee at the local DMV.

Today you have permission to take the leap from believing you’re something to declaring it – owning it – doing it – and living it.

What do you do?