Rename Yourself

From childhood you’ve been named and renamed.

You were named by your parents. Given nicknames by friends, family, and enemies. Some described how you rocked the socks off of people. Others had far more cynical meanings.

Boat named Electric Chicken

Names have power. They communicate who or what we are. The names you’re called can even affect the way you view yourself.

You know how hard it is to feel like an extreme falcon-headed combat machine when somebody calls you “Chicken Man”?
— Rick Riordan

I think back to my childhood and the names I’ve been called. Some of my names were great.

Joey, son, brother, comic, friend, smarty pants, love… The list goes on.

Other names stung.

Smart aleck, jolly green a**hole (yes, a schoolmate actually called me this because I was tall and jolly), nerd, geek.

As you can imagine, I didn’t like having this last list of names. They framed me in a negative light. They were meant to bring me down.

Thinking about those names makes me think of what I call myself now. Of what I’ve named myself.

Writer, husband, failure, freak, computer guru, techie, screw-up.

All names I’ve willingly named myself. All labels and weights I’ve put on myself. Not all of them true.

The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers.
— Marshall McLuhan

If you’re anything like me, you’ve done the same.

When we give ourselves names, we begin to create a description of ourselves. If the description is negative, our actions can begin to reflect the name.

We tell ourselves that we’re not so and so. Or that we can’t do what they did. We make ourselves small. Like this boat named Not A Yot (Not A Yacht)

Boat named Not A Yot

Looking at Not A Yot, you can see the boat is looking a little rough. It’s been neglected and not well cared for.

If it was a yacht, you can bet your socks that the owner would take better care of the boat.

Here’s another boat:

Boat named Awesome

Imagine having that name!


You can see the owner has taken better care of this boat. It looks like he loves it.He takes care of it. He uses it with tenderness.

Stop giving yourself names that make you feel less than what you are. Give yourself a name that describes who you’re becoming.

Are you a/an:

  • author
  • singer
  • leader
  • manager
  • loving husband
  • caring father
  • (fill in the blank)

Whatever you are, are you calling yourself by that name? If not it is time to change.

Begin calling yourself by the name you want to be called by. As you do, you’ll begin to take the steps to make that name a reality.

Names are not always what they seem.
— Mark Twain

Question: What name do you want to be called by? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • tammyhelfrich

    Great post, Joe. I have called myself so many names. Our internal voice is never positive, is it? I’ve been learning to start giving myself more grace. One of those ways is to stop beating ourselves up so much. I recently learned to call myself a writer. It was a hard one to do, but it’s amazing how freeing it is. Thanks for the great post!

    • Rarely is Tammy. But I think we can retrain our inner voice to align with who we really are. It takes time and patience but eventually you can call yourself by a different name.

  • The names I was given and even the names I give myself were and are not flattering and are not reflective of who I am and what I can offer. I tend to cling to these names because they are so difficult to get rid of. When we begin to call ourselves names of who we really are, we become those names. Great reminder, Joe!

    • I’m with you Thomas. It’s hard to break free from those negative names. I’m joining you in prayer that you can overcome it.

  • Servant-leader.

    Great post my friend.

  • Powerful post Joe.

    I’ve had many thoughts and ideas about who i am. I have also been called names too.

    I have since learnt, esp lately, that I don’t have to call myself who/what I think I am. My ideas or other people’s ideas don’t count. What matters is what God thinks. I just need to be in agreement with what He calls me, how He sees me. And that has made all the difference.

    • True Ngina. And the names He has given us are fantastic. Son, daughter, good, worthy…

  • It’s sad how many of us let negative names determine who we are and how we act. People can be so mean to each other- even Christians.

    What name do I want to be called or remembered as, “Child of God”, “Servant of Christ”
    Stuff like that.

    • Great names to be remembered by TC. From my interactions with you, it seems you’re well on your way to being remembered as such.

      • You’re too kind Joe. I’m far from it but I strive to please my Savior, to hear the words “Well done my good and faithful servant”. However, nothing I can do will earn me those words- only through the blood of Christ, the grace of my God will I hear those words.

  • Great post! I have been called many negative things…especially in my childhood years. I learned from my parents to not let them influence you. I’m glad I took the advice.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Seems like we all have Brandon. It can be a struggle to overcome as the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” has proven to be false. Glad you’ve been able to overcome the negative names with the help from your parents.

  • By the way, did you upgrade to the standard theme 3.0? You site looks different…in a good way. I’m interested to see the awesome changes.

    In the future, I will be considering the standard theme. Right now, I can’t justify spending $99. Soon though…

    I do have to work on my theme a little more. I am trying to get a custom header and logo developed soon. Still trying to find the software for it though.

    • I did upgrade to Standard Theme 3.0. No modifications or anything to it but took the plunge and did the installation.

      If the full support version is too expensive, they do have the non-support license for $50. You then have the option to upgrade if you ever need the support. Still a chunk of change but a possible option.

      • Yeah. I could get it if I really wanted to, but I’m going to wait until my site is doing a little better first.
        Do you follow He runs a very nice blog, and it uses the standard theme 3.0. He has done a great job with it!

  • I recently added “blogger” to my Twitter description. It hadn’t dawned on me until a few weeks ago that I’m actually a blogger. I have a blog and I post my ideas there. That makes me a blogger right?

    Jeff Goins tells a story about asking Steve Pressfield a question about when someone becomes a writer. Steven Pressfield responded, “When you say you are.”

    So I’ve decided I’m a blogger and I like that name.

    Great post Joe

    • Jeff’s been a great inspiration for people who need to change how they view themselves. His book You Are A Writer made me rethink my stance.

  • I’m an author, blogger, speaker, coach and consultant. I like what Jeff teaches on the subject 🙂 he’s given me a lot of confidence!

    • Darn right you are Kimanzi! What was the catalyst that caused you to change and see yourself as these?

  • A great husband, father, and leader.

    I have found self talk and thinking/speaking what we want to be is so essential for a persons future. Great post,

    • You’re right. That is essential to a person’s future. I don’t think I’ve seen a truly successful person that was negative.

  • A good name is “better than riches.”

    For some reason, this made me think about Native American names and how they were apt descriptors versus getting named merely by a “role” we are playing. We are far more than a role or a job description…

    I’d love to be known as someone who inspires and encourages. I’d love to be known as someone who helps other people see the value that they already have inside them.

    Great post. Really thought provoking.

    • I just did a quick Google search and some of the Native American names are fascinating. Not the most elegant or beautiful but some powerful meaning.

  • Joe
    Great post! The language we use is so important to living an intentional life we want.
    I use to have a hard time with saying “I am”… It was always easier to say “I am not”.
    Today, I AM a motivational storyteller, a successful author, and a infectious communicator who inspires people to live beyond awesome.
    Thanks for asking!
    Live Beyond Awesome!
    Twitter: @TheJenMcDonough

    • That’s great that you’ve recognized what you are Jen. That simple change in wordage probably made a huge difference in your life, huh?

      • Holy buckets YES it has made a HUGE difference!!! I detest using the words “I wish, I should have, if I had only had, etc.” We can’t change the past, but we can decide to live with intention for our future which leads to incredible things as you obviously know. Being influenced by the gang over at, Dan Miller, awesome posts likes yours, etc. has really helped in being that “I believe” in you type support system that leads to intentional living which definitely leads to awesomeness. This all back to using intentional positive language.
        Thanks Joe!!!

  • P.s.
    I AM pretty dang awesome at all of the things listed below.

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