Jim didn't want to admit what his girlfriend already knew.
I met them both last week, and early in the conversation they asked what I did.
When I told them I taught photography, Nancy exclaimed. "Jim is a photographer. He takes great pictures!"
"Is that so?" I asked Jim.
"Wait a minute," he cautioned. "Let's not go too fast here..."
Nancy looked shocked. "You are a photographer. You take great pictures!"
Jim was clearly uncomfortable.
We've all been there before.
Someone asks the direct question, "are you a photographer?" and we hesitate.
How should I answer that question? Am I an amateur photographer? Am I an aspiring photographer? What kind of photographer am I?
I'm going to make the case that you don't need the qualifiers. You already have everything you need to answer that question.
"Yes. I am a photographer."
Why is this important? Because as Jeff Goins writes, activity follows identity.
If we believe something, we generally act in a way that is consistent with that belief. If you tell yourself that you are not a photographer, you will pass up opportunities. You will shy away from challenges. You will act like a pretender.
If you allow yourself to own the title, you will act very differently. Words and labels matter.
Are you a photographer?