Do you have an embarrassing nickname? I have a super awesome older sister and growing up, she had all sorts of nicknames for each of her siblings. One of my favorites for me was the nickname “Budget”. Stupid right? Why did she call me that? When I was fourteen I got a summer job as a sweeper at a local high school. I called it sweeper, you might have called it “Ghostbuster”. I was one of those really cool kids that wore the vacuum backpack and would walk the school cleaning up after ungrateful teenagers who thought it was really cool yank on my extension cord as I walked down the hall. I wanted that job so that I could buy my own school clothes. Otherwise, if my mom was paying, I had to wear what she wanted, which meant that I looked like a dork. In getting my job, I learned how to budget my money. Hence the nickname budget. Not too bad, I guess. In fact, for a while, I thought my nickname was “BOOBIES!” because I was a portly fellow and had a more developed bosom than any other boy my age ever wanted. When I would walk in the room, my super cool sister would scream “BOOBIES!” and honk my “moobs”.
The problem with nicknames is that they stick, and sometimes, we don’t want them to. I don’t want a nickname that dwells on a certain body feature or action that I’ve taken in my life.
In the workplace, many times were are seen for the very same reason. Maybe I’m slower at getting things done. I may be good at it, but it takes me time. Maybe I’m divorced, and I’m presented to eligible women as “this is so-and-so, and he’s single!”
We often define who we are by two things. Body and Mind. Body would be things like physical attributes, or even deficiencies, disease, or weakness. My mind can be my worst enemy. I personally have struggled with anxiety, stress, and depression. My mind tells me that is who I am.
What does your mind tell you? It will say things like, “You are a bad employee!” or “Brace yourself, you’re going to get fired!” Or maybe it’s on the other end of the spectrum, “You’re better than everyone else”.
But what am I really? Teilehard De Chardin once said “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” There is a third “definer”. That is, who am I spiritually?
I’m not suggesting that you ever ask someone what their religion is, or if they believe in God in their interview. What I am suggesting is that you look at this person for their spirit. Who are they? What is their story? You might call it your spirit, your soul, or your energy. Whatever you call it, it is what defines you as you. It is your divine origin and it is your true self.
I believe that you are a child of a divine creator that loves you and wants you to exceed. Just because I believe this doesn’t mean I will go around the office shouting things like “Remember that you are a child of God!” or “Smile ‘cuz Jesus loves you!” although personally, I believe that to be true.
I’ve written before on the concept of beholding your employees. Beholding them means to see them as a person who deserves attention. Someone who is worth your time. You have to look past the imperfections of the mind and body. You’ll never meet someone who doesn’t have issues with those items. Look at them spiritually. You must look at them from a macro view, in other words look at them in their entirety, and not just at the mistakes that they made. Look at them as God would look at them. When you learn to look at them as would God, you will start to change yourself. You will start to be a more spiritual person. As you reflect on the individual spiritually, you will start to change spiritually as a person. At that point, it won’t just be the occasional spiritual experience, but it will become the occasional human experience.
Nicknames have the ability to shape someone’s life. Whether it be for better or for worse. As you change the way you see people for who they are, you will be able to mentor your team, and actually care if they succeed! This will be the change that defines your life. You will look for the opportunity to help and develop, and your team will love you for it!