[no. 12] What Do You Stand For?April 27th, 2006 | Posted by in Miscellaneous | On Being A Father...
I’m not sure why I have been on this big introspective kick lately, perhaps because I’ll be done with my MBA in a little over a month, but I figure I may as well milk it while it is fresh. More recently than in the past, I have noticed how readily people equate your career or profession with who you are. For instance, I recently listened to someone relaying information about a few individuals they met earlier that day and was struck by the fact that only their professions were mentioned. At the time it felt a little odd, but I began to notice in the weeks following that most people truly ‘size’ others up in a similar manner.
I’ve worn many hats over the years but most people who have met me in the past five to ten years will call me a photographer. While the moniker may be fitting (I also own a photography company and am a professional photographer), hearing someone say, “This is Peter, he is a photographer,” almost makes me cringe. Sure, I take photographs every once in a while and happen to be paid to do so, but when I think of myself, of who I am, a “photographer” is the last thing that comes to mind.
I’m a father, a husband, a friend, a critic, an entrepreneur, a student, a teacher, a skeptic, an artist, a writer, a thinker, and so much more. When people call me a photographer, they are describing a very small fraction of who I am (and what I do with my time) yet nearly everyone I know compartmentalizes me as such. I don’t think that is to imply that people don’t really know who I am, instead, I think it speaks to how we choose to relate to one another. Professions and careers are simple to understand and communicate. It is far simpler to introduce me as a photographer than it is to provide even a brief overview of what really makes my clock tick.
But is there fault in relating to one another in such a surface manner? I think there is considerable fault if we are not given additional opportunity to see what really lies beneath the descriptors, “doctor,” “lawyer,” “teacher,” “mechanic,” etc.
Shouldn’t we relate to one another based on what we stand for? Isn’t that a more accurate measure of who we are? Isn’t there a deeper connection with another person when you ask the what they believe in, what their passions are, what moves them to tears, and what can pump adrenaline through their body with unbridled conviction?
So, who are you?
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