The saying goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” By extrapolation you could say don’t judge a person by their title, but that discounts the intrinsic human tendency to assess one another in a matter of seconds. This is why it is so critical to be really clear in how you introduce yourself; what you say, how you say it and when you say it. This is true at a whole other level when it comes to business, which is why I am making some changes.
My Old Title
It’s been over a year since I began my journey as a Chronic Illness Coach. At the time, I was so excited by that title. Yes, it thrilled me to finally claim the role of Coach after 15+ years of yearning. And I was totally convinced that the title Chronic Illness Coach clearly communicated that I am here to help people with long term health challenges break through their fear, isolation and overwhelm so that they can reclaim a life they love. I also believed that this title would resonate loudly with a broad swath of the population. But time and curiosity have taught me otherwise.
I have been sharing my title and my message in many different ways through in person networking, social media, etc since last January. And while I got a lot of positive feedback like “Wow! That’s amazing! I didn’t know there was such a thing! Such important work.” It is important work; I am so passionate about serving this population and sharing the lessons of my own medical crisis. My market research reinforced the idea that I was filling a gap in the marketplace because I found very few other “Chronic Illness Coaches.” But my interpretation of the research was wrong.
What the Research Says
I have discovered that there are few Chronic Illness Coaches because many people don’t want to be associated with the term “Chronic Illness.” It took a dear friend, who has long term health challenges, finally admitting that she didn’t want to be associated with Chronic Illness for me to really pay attention to the niggle I had been having for months. The niggle had been telling me “This isn’t working. Your words are getting in the way.”
So, I got curious about how true it is that the title “Chronic Illness Coach” is off-putting and asked my audience for feedback. I got a resounding confirmation that my audience would not or could not connect with the term Chronic Illness. At the heart of it, I realized that my title has been focused on the problem rather than the solution. This was such a lightbulb moment that should have been obvious from the very beginning.
Stepping into Alingment
I have lived my life focused on solving problems and my work with my clients centers around creating solutions. So, why didn’t my title reflect that? Therefore, drumroll please, I am making a change! With the help of the feedback, I have decided to shift my title to Wellbeing Empowerment Coach. And Holy Cow, does this feel good!
Wellbeing Empowerment Coach totally aligns with who I am as a person and how I serve my clients. It is solution oriented and encompasses the goal of my holistic approach to help women with long term health challenges reclaim their power and achieve true wellbeing by integrating wellness at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
Said another way, I empower women who are sick and tired of being sick and tired shift from illness to wellness by busting through the emotional, mental and spiritual barriers so that they can make space for the physical healing. What I do and how I help my clients get clarity, align with their values and redefine their version of thriving has not changed. However, I am claiming a title that allows better results when that human instinct to assess and judge kicks in. I am sharing who I am in a way that opens up, rather than shuts down conversations. As with all things, it is an evolution.
I’d love to hear what you think of this new title! How does it feel? What does it inspire in you? Is there a way you are presenting yourself or offering yourself up that does not yet fully align with who you are in your core? If so, how will you tweak and shift?