After a rocky start to the year, my head is getting straightened out. Am realizing that changes need to be made to continue my journey of being more fully my fabulous self. Finally letting go of “Dr. Pat, Inc.” the company that has been my safety blanket identity since I finished my doctorate. No matter how little or how much it succeeded, it existed. And that existence took energy – writing a blog, doing paperwork, talking to potential clients, working with clients and otherwise catering to its multiple small business demands. Like children, friends, and pets, owning a small business takes more time and effort than one expects. With my constantly shrinking and limited energy, and the serious belief that my separate online coaching business’s time has FINALLY come, I am in the process of dismantling the world of Dr. Pat and welcoming the new Dr. Patty.
It is going fairly well. As I tell my existing coaching clients, they are taking the news well. They understand I will always remain there for them, but won’t be handling new clients. My wonderful accountant for Dr. Pat and I have decided to talk once a year, even though our business relationship is ending with my 2016 final return. My social media/marketing wizard is OK with new work opportunities including doing something in our online coaching business and its upcoming new launch. In reality, the disappearance of Dr. Pat isn’t having much of any impact at all. My sister – whom everyone knows who reads this blog understands I am close to, didn’t even know my Dr. Pat business was separate from E-Coach Associates (ECA), the owner of QwikCoach, our online coaching tool. Obviously my professional identity wasn’t clear, strong or differentiated.
When we identify with a definition of ourselves that is not current with where we are now, we limit our ability to reshape our identity to new realities. By holding onto Dr. Pat Inc., I was limiting my ability to be “all in” with our online coaching business. I had to divide my professional self when in reality I have barely enough energy to do one business well. Since ECA is having a new launch soon, I need now to focus my energies there introducing myself to new clients as the Chief Content Officer of this enterprise. That new title speaks differently to people who now will know that my most important professional role is making sure our QwikCoach product has the best content possible. And that is what I want them to know. My LinkedIn profile will definitely be reframed.
By re-naming ourselves, we re-create ourselves and hold ourselves accountable as well as “explain” who we are. And this is happening personally as well. Until now I had a business card/personal card that had my Dr. Pat business on one side and FabulousOver60 on the other. The Fabulous side of the card listed me as Patty Gill Webber, Co-Creator of FabulousOver60. That card is no more – and I am thinking when I do have a new card, my fabulous identity will be left out. No one will know me in my fabulous incarnation except those reading our blog on Facebook or on our site directly – which is fine – we have been promoting FabulousOver60 for years and have a following we are happy with. No need to keep pushing this identity. And, as Cathy and I have stated before, we are not sure if we are going to float on from this blog when our 60s are behind us. That is getting closer since we both will be 68 on our next birthdays.
I’m calling myself Patty now professionally – at my Church, in my neighborhood and in nearly every new situation I find myself in. When we first joined 10 plus years ago, I was Pat and Dr. Pat and did some work for the Church under that identity. Now, I don’t want to be more than a helper at Church – wanting my newly selected volunteer work to have me meet and mingle as just an individual person – so Patty it is. Patty is my childhood name, my most casual name, and a name that says: she is perky and nice and maybe smart and maybe sophisticated and maybe fabulous (but not necessarily style conscious). But Patty is someone to get to know – the name doesn’t say much except born in the 1950s. It is a humble name, and I am ready more than ever to be humble. Running a business didn’t feel quite right as Patty, while volunteering and focusing on others’ needs it seems perfect. I am even ‘Grandma Patty’ – so much softer than ‘Grandma Pat’ – don’t you think?
Identity is a powerful thing. I have spent most of my adult life trying to be seen as equal to men, a professional heavyweight, independent, capable, kind but tough when I need to be, woman. Other than being the Chief Content Officer of our online tool, I just want to be someone who lights up other people’s lives, and in doing that lights up my own. When not working part-time for ECA, I want to love and be loved as a friend, sister, aunt, mom/grandmother, neighbor, a member – not necessarily leader of any band. I want to be accepted and judged by how human and humane I am and how much I give away emotionally and spiritually. Only thing I want to keep from that earlier self is my fun side – my slightly wacky personality that has served me well over the years both professionally and personally. I, Patty, will try to keep people relaxed and laughing, for no other reason than it makes me happy.
I have to ask – who are you now?? Yes, time to rethink about that.