Don’t define yourself based on your past.

WARNING – For some of you, this article my hurt your ego a bit.

Many of my old orthopedic friends call themselves a “Leader” or “Innovator” or “Global Sales Executive”…  even though they haven’t done that role for a long time. I believe that this type of projection is disingenuous.

Some of them worked for great companies like Sofamor Danek, K2M, Tornier, SBI or Mako during the glory years, but hey… those glory years are gone. 

The truth is…

If you are not innovating today, then you are not an Innovator.
If you are not leading today, then you are not a Leader.
If you are not managing global sales today, then you are not a Global Sales Executive.

More on this topic from Derek Sivers book, “Hell Yes, Or No.”

Until yesterday, I called myself an entrepreneur. Now I don’t. It’s been years since I started a company, so I can’t keep using that title.

Someone who played football in high school, can’t call himself an athlete forever. Someone who did something successful long ago. Can’t keep calling himself a success.

You have to keep earning it.

Holding on to an old title, gives you satisfaction, without action. But success comes from doing not declaring by using a title without doing work.

By using a title without doing the work, you fool yourself into thinking that says, future success is assured – thinking, “This is who I am”. But that premature sense of satisfaction can keep you from doing the hard work necessary.

Stop fooling yourself. Be honest about what’s past and what’s present. Retiring out dated titles, lets you admit what you’re really doing now.

And if you don’t like the idea of losing your title, then do something about it. This goes for titles like “leader”, “risk-taker”, and “good friend”, too.

Today I updated my website to reflect, which of these accomplishments are in my past. It’s liberating to speak in the past tense about what you’ve done. And only speak in the present tense about what you’re actually doing.