A few weeks ago, I attended the spring concert for my daughter’s choir. In addition to performing a wide selection of songs, the singers also celebrated the students who were graduating high school and moving on to college.

The singing was great, but I was especially moved by hearing how so many of the students had been in the choir for anywhere from 3 to 11 years. My daughter is in the very first training group and practices 1.5 hours a week, more when there’s a concert. The concert choirs rehearse several days a week, spend the summers in training, attend overnight choir camp in the summer, and travel across the world for workshops and gigs. Most of the graduating seniors had been to at least 7 countries over the course of their time with the choir. Those kids are musicians, and it’s not just because they said they like to sing. They put in work and have earned the title of musician.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I define myself. Who am I professionally? What should I call myself? What does my title say about what I do?

Am I being who I say I am?

The blessing of being an entrepreneur is that we can create whatever lives for ourselves that we want. We can call ourselves the CEO of our blog, we can be a digital strategist or a consultant. We can call ourselves a social media manager, or promote ourselves to director. We can be a coach, an expert, or a guru. It’s wonderful to be in charge of our titles, but it’s even better to be what we say we are.

Are you really a digital strategist if you’re not creating any strategy? Are you really a coach if you don’t have the experience to support helping others move forward? Are you really an expert if you aren’t able to prove that you have mastered Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or any of the other things that you claim to be exceptional at doing?

Now, I come from the train of the thought that sometimes the best coaches or strategists aren’t actually the most visible person on the front line, so I’m not saying that you have to have a million followers on all of your platforms in order to help me with social media. I would like to know that you have some professional experience (maybe you worked on the marketing team at an influencer agency), and some professional success SOMEWHERE. You can’t just call yourself the GOAT(greatest of all times) and be the GOAT. You have to do something.

Just like those young musicians earned their titles through hard work and dedication…you and me, we have to do the same thing.

How can you work on being more of who you say you are? Be consistent. Train and keep learning. Practice your craft. Focus more on the work, and less on the title.

Be who you say you are. 

Brandi Riley is the Social Media Manager for BlogHer at SheKnows Media and an Digital Influencer. She is co-founder of the Pushing Lovely writing group, and founder of the group Courage to Earn which boasts over 3,875 women blog business owners. Known for personalized blog coaching and career development, Brandi has managed blogger outreach for hundreds of campaigns, and her door is always open to bloggers who need a push. She uses her knowledge of what brands want to help bloggers get what they need…more work! Brandi is passionate about community, and a champion for authenticity. Tweet her @BrandiJeter or read her at Mama Knows It All

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