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Your Name Is Your Asset. Embrace It.
You might not be famous or known for anything of material significance yet, but you do carry influence.
Whether it’s in your home, workplace, community etc, there would some influence if you searched for it.
Add to that, you already have significance even before you’ve done anything that the world would consider significant.
This is a different way of thinking about who we are as we often spend our lives seeking significance and influence even though we already have these in various ways.
Since the beginning of time, the one way we have all been able to identify with each other is through our names.
Names carry important weight and we often take our names for granted and in some cases feel ashamed of them.
This is especially so if you’re a foreigner or simply have a name that’s difficult to pronounce or even have a chequered family history.
My name is Ken Okoroafor. Or Kenneth Emeka Okoroafor if you want the full version.
When I launched this site, I struggled to put my full name on the website.
It was partly for privacy but that wasn’t the only reason why.
I struggled to put my full name on my own website because:
- There was the possibility of failure, and
- I would be judged by it.
The failure part carried less weight compared to the fact that I might be judged.
That judgement would likely fall into the “immigrant” or “African” or “black” bucket.
By not putting my full name on my own website, I was living life from a place of fear.
Fear of what other people might think and how they might react.
Funny thing is, the various bits of media that I’d been featured on published my full name without hesitation.
Interesting that isn’t it?
All the hold-backs we experience in life are literally in our minds.
What is holding you back today?
Do you have a name that you’re ashamed to put out publicly?
Or perhaps you can’t even imagine your name on a business card that you hand out or a billboard in public.
Perhaps you even struggle to tell people your name when you’re introducing yourself.
I know that there will be many people who will identify with this struggle and it might be holding them back.
You might have missed out on promotions at work because you had a name no one could imagine as the name of a manager or a partner.
You may even have held yourself back from pursuing business interests or pushing yourself to get to the very top in your career because of your unusual name.
Well, I’ve come to tell you that it should hold you back no more.
I’ve realised that it’s often the things that we think might hold us back, that end up elevating us.
My wife jokes that my surname has 37 syllables in it. But she also proudly married me and decided to take my name.
Having thought about this question of “what’s in a name?” for some time, I realise that the answer is – everything.
What’s In A Name?
Our names tell many stories. It is usually the first thing we learn about people, and we typically form judgements very quickly.
It is also a source of identity, linking us with times past and present.
For my wife, for example, it goes beyond that and partly tells a story of her journey from being a single woman to getting married.
Our names in some ways also set us on a mission for life. I’d go as far as saying that our names are meant to be a blessing.
Ever considered why your parents chose to name you what they have?
When we named our sons (Joshua and Elias), we chose deliberately for meaning and blessing.
Today though, the popularity of a name often ranks higher than meaning when parents choose names.
You may not have the perfect first name or surname today, but you have the opportunity to change how your name is perceived today and going forward.
What would you like people to think of when your name is mentioned?
To put it another way, if the inevitable day of your departure came, what would you like your name to be remembered for?
Embrace Your Name And Make It More Valuable
Here are some famous and difficult names you’ll recognise:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Saoirse Ronan, Barack Obama, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Benedict Cumberbatch etc.
I bet you all of these people have had a hang-up about their names through their lives.
However, today, we celebrate and revere them and recognise their names as acceptable or even normal.
It’s because to be successful, you must embrace your identity and purpose and move forward.
The road won’t be straight forward. However, you’d worry less about what people think, and get past any excuses you give yourself for not taking action.
By moving forward, you’d set and smash goals day after day and year after year like never before.
Let’s explore further how you can add more value to your name as time passes:
Be individual And Tell Your Story
Your name already makes you stand out.
Rather than see this as a disadvantage, own it and be proud of it.
Remember that you’re already significant, so live out that significance as an example to others.
It’s through living out your in-built significance that your light actually shines through and attracts others to you.
Tell your story authentically and often.
Don’t look for perfection, stick to keeping it real and original. This is what people will connect with time after time.
Be Who You Want To Become
Do you want to become a successful Business Owner? Writer? Speaker? Parent? etc
You are who you say you are. Literally!
If you want to become successful in a particular area, you not only have to think it once in a while, but you have to embrace it and take action to become that person.
Here’s an example using my journey so far –
I had trained as a Chartered Accountant, and by exploring my near non-existent creativity, I started writing blogs.
From writing blogs, I’ve gradually become known for my obsession with Personal Finance and Financial Education, and some seek me for this as an expert.
As a result of pursuing excellence (as best I can) in this arena, I’ve been invited to speak on a number of podcasts to tell my story.
On the back of that, I started to believe that I could speak on a stage one day.
Through that belief, I put out a call to action to the readers of this blog, and I’ve been invited to speak in another country.
From connecting the dots on all of the above, I started to believe that I can tell stories and now want to write my own book. Dare I believe that I could become a best selling author one day?
It has helped that others have said to me, “Ken, you should write a book!”…. “I’ll buy a signed hard copy” etc.
And because I have told you about it, you might start to imagine “Ken Okoroafor, Best Selling Author of XYZ” and I’ll start to believe it too.
And on the back of that, I’ll probably start writing a book down the line to get my message out, afterall, I’ve written over 250,000 words on this blog and starting to believe I can do this.
See how that’s working?
I’ve gone from Ken Okoroafor, an Accountant, to a point of almost convincing you that I could become a best selling author one day.
In all seriousness, there is an important point I’m making here –
Beyond the identity you have today, you have the choice of becoming who you want to be for the future.
What you choose to become will either add value to your name or remove it, depending on the steps you take every single day.
Live A Good Life
Aim to live a life of strong values and principles, stand by them and be known for them.
There is nothing worse than living a life whereby you’re not known for any strong beliefs about anything.
I repeatedly tell you on this blog that I do everything possible to prioritise honesty, integrity and transparency in everything I do.
I’m not telling you this because it sounds good to the ears. It’s an important aspect of who I am and who I strive to be each and every day.
And it all stems from my faith and foundational beliefs about what I think it takes to live a good life.
You too will have your beliefs about what it takes to have a life well lived.
Whatever it is, ensure it prioritises improving the lives of other people. There is no better way to add value to your name than this.
Related Post: 9 Tips For Living A Simpler And More Fulfilling Life
Be The Best You Can
Pursue excellence in your craft and all that you do because you recognise that you have the potential to be excellent.
All the noteworthy people mentioned above have not gotten there by being mediocre at what they do.
They’ve strived to be the best and continually push the boundaries of their creativity and contribution to society.
There is no reason why you too can’t be recognised one day for your pursuit of excellence provided you don’t let fear drown your dreams.
If you’ve had a hang-up about your name like I used to, it’s time to rethink what your name represents.
Embracing your identity and purpose is the best way to move forward without ever holding yourself back.
You’re already significant and your name, however imperfect, plays a big role in who you’ll become and what you’ll be remembered for.
Decide today to move forward and never look back. Your name is your asset. Embrace it fearlessly!
Related posts and resources:
- Grab Your FREE Domain: Your Name Dot Com
- Live Richer By Creating Space For Others
- 5 Reasons Why Self Care Is A Necessity And Not A Luxury
- What Do You Have In Your Hands?
- 6 Ways To Start Attracting More Money To Yourself
- My Philosophy For Making Good Money
- Why Money And Friendships Should Never Mix
Do you have a negative feeling about your name? And has it stopped you moving forward in any way?
Do please share this article if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.