Earning The Title … Quietly



earning the title quietlyTitles. We cannot escape them. We are born with them as we become a son/daughter, sister or brother. We grow and gain new titles of friend, BFF, student, husband, wife, an ex, a parent, enemy, a sports fan, etc. It is overwhelming when we think about it as there are so many titles that we are given throughout our lives but do not really pay that much attention to them. In our careers, we apply for jobs by title and that match our skill set (or close enough). In so many aspects we are given the title except in areas of marketing, namely social media, there are the self-proclaimed titles.

Being Recognized

Being recognized is important. It validates us not only for who we are but for what we do. We all want to be recognized as it lets us know that we made a lasting impression and stood out in their minds. We have all been on the giving or receiving end of approaching/being approached with “remember me?”  Blank stare with awkward few seconds of silence. We have to be careful when we say that we do not as we do not want to hurt feelings because they remember us and think that we should remember them. This is a tough one sometimes as they feel we should remember them for something they said, an article they wrote, a mutual connection and for us, it is completely off our radar.

Earning the Title Quietly

Titles that are earned quietly are the most rewarding, recognizable and lasting. The self proclaimed guru, ninja, expert, etc are trying to fit in and define themselves for what they think they are. Fitting in is a big part of who we are. The sense of belonging and being accepted is a contributing factor to how we feel about ourselves and how we treat others. If we feel we are part of something, we contribute to it and to the others. When we feel that we are being left out when we really should be included, we have to find a way to establish ourselves and our worth. For many, the self proclaimed title is born.

We want to be someone, something, someone who is influential, sets standards and boy oh boy that title is going to be it. It defines us and no matter what, we are going to throw it all out there and make it catch on. It never really does except in ridicule. Why? Because too many of them cannot sustain it. They cannot execute and live up to what they are self titling themselves as. Their credibility is scrutinized as you have to title yourself to be noticed? How about, I do not know, your name? The best of the best are the ones that never give themselves a bigger-than-who-they-are-title as they do not have to … we give it to them. They execute over and over and through that we identify them with their work. The proof is in their work and not their need to tell people who they are. Their title is earned quietly without a big ruckus or megaphone. We do not question their credibility and we remember them for what they are doing and tell people about them. It is a part of how and why they succeed.

Executing the Title

In social media not much is quiet and let’s face it we do not want it to be. We want to keep pushing it out there so that there is that gravitation to us. We want the readers, the commentators, the tweeters, the engagers and of course the clients/customers. We want to be noticed for what we do and who we are connected to. We seek out those who hold the same position as we do, cheer for the same team, the same thoughts and values and also mutual connections so we can learn from them, share stories and experiences. This is connectivity is so important as we need the socialization to grow personally and professionally. But at what costs to us?

Would you sell your soul for more followers which for some equates to acceptance? Would you call someone out online hiding behind your screen for that blog traffic when in person you would never say a damn thing to them? Most are reading this and shaking their head no but someone is doing it. All in the name of popularity. The battles we wage just to be someone we think we should be. We see others popping up out of nowhere and think we deserve to be there too. Out the window goes the strategy of hard work and growing at a pace to where we can actually talk with people and get to know them before are asking them to buy from us. Sure I know that people need money today and do not have time to wait but that instant gratification while it may pay the bills, it will not last. It cannot be sustained as ok now you are on the radar and people flood to you and tell you how great you are and hold on your every word until  … your word is crap. Telling people you are a guru automatically starts them to shut down and not listen as who wants to hear from someone who is going to try and sell them on how great they are. It works much better when you show them.


photo credit: Studio Mohawk

  • Another homerun for you, my dear. I especially like your thought  about how giving ourselves titles creates a situation that is not sustainable. If you call yourself a jedi or a guru, how do you continue to live up to that kind of self-promotion? What do you have to do to keep proving outwardly that you are deserving of this title you have given yourself? It seems to be, at least to me, a situation you’d want to avoid altogether. But then I like to keep things simple!

    • Margie

      Thank you! I agree with you in that how do you continue to live up to that self promotion? You are working so hard in telling people that they are watching closely for you to prove it or flop. I guess I always believed that the ones that are given are earned and how people perceive you. I would rather people tell me what they see of the work I do rather then me trying to get them. 

  •  Great post, you are so right about people putting labels on themselves (God I hate Ninjas, I also never understood why you would want to be named after a Japanese hitman..)
    Absolutely it’s not sustainable, everyone is a guru nowadays. As Jay Baer recently said in Vegas, who shows the results of their work gets the driver’s seat in social media. 
    Yes actions do speak a lot louder than words.

    • John

      I cannot understand why people put labels on themselves. How are you going to sustain that and make it work for you in a way to grow? If you believe it will anyone else? Jay is great and has so many valid points.  Showing the results is getting the business. Companies want to know that you can bring them results.

      Actions always speak louder than words.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  • Absolutely, Suzanne. The titles of guru, expert, etc., mean the most when they are given to us by the audiences we have helped. Followers/customers can quickly see through the smoke and mirrors when people put those labels on themselves and can’t live up to them.

    •  Kathy

      Absolutely! They can see through the mirrors and here is another place where it plays a role. If the community around you does not support it, the customers will notice that as well. It is no secret that the community of social media is not appreciative or accepting of the self titles however we see where customers seem to be more accepting as some of these self titlers are making money and then getting fired as they cannot live up to it.

  • David

    Wow, well put! I’m from a family of TRUMPETERS. I sure wish they got this; but if you knew the back stories you’d understand why they won’t. All we can do sometimes is smile, and say a quiet prayer.