Some questions in life are easy to answer. They barely require a second thought at all. “Do you want fries with that?” “How would you like your steak cooked?” “Can I get you another beer?”
But there are other questions that are hard. They are so difficult in fact we avoid them altogether. Oh, we might give them brief consideration or lip service, but we rarely go beneath the surface.
I faced such a question many years ago sitting in an airport one evening waiting for another redeye flight home to my family. The inquiry came unexpectedly from an individual I barely knew at the time.
“Who are you?”
Like many people do, I began to answer with typical responses. I gave my name, job title, marital status. The standard stuff. But I knew that wasn’t what he was asking.
Ironically, the question he asked came at a time when I was writing a book to help people understand their true identity. And honestly, the lack of surety and substance in my reply that night concerned me.
For many months, that seemingly simple question kicked my ass and kept me awake. If I couldn’t offer a real answer for myself, how could I possibly guide others through their own discovery process of identity?
Nonetheless, I finished my book. And while it had some solid content and sold thousands of copies, I’m afraid it probably failed to go deep enough and get to the heart of the matter for my readers.
While I continued to forge ahead in my career, I never forgot that haunting question, “Who are you?” Sadly, the fallback answer I typically told myself 99% of the time always included the standard stuff.
Today, the shortened version of my bio reads, “I’m a husband, father, writer, speaker, coffee snob, pipe smoker, bourbon drinker, and person of faith. I’m also friendly disrupter of the status quo on a mission to end aloneness and help people live with authenticity.”
Better. But still incomplete.
It sells on social media but says nothing really.