What is Your Label?

February 3, 2012

By Joyce Odidison

February 3, 2012

By Joyce Odidison

Welcome to a Journey with Joyce

Our Journey this week will explore personal labels

What is a label? A label is something you tag yourself with, a way to advertise, identify or warn others of who you are or your intentions. Labels also reflect our beliefs about ourselves. It is a way to communicate or think about ourselves. It is also a way to teach others how to communicate with us and how to treat us.

So what labels have you used to tag yourself? Clients often share concerns or upset about an experience they are having or something that is reoccurring in their lives. Many fail to see the connection between what they are experiencing and the labels which they have attached to themselves. They seem to be in the labeling business without any conscious thought of the cost of their labels.

For example, a client says to me – I am an angry person. Well he has just labeled himself as angry and assigned himself all the consequences that come from that label. This may include having difficulties communicating with a spouse or loved one or children, having difficulty relating with co-workers and customers. This may result in him losing his family, losing his job and losing his close friends. He may even experience a decrease in those who want to associate with him. It may also mean that he will lose other people’s respect. Ever notice people may be fearful of an angry person but they never speak of them with respect. I also have a client who told me that he is lazy and he is struggling to lose weight. The result of the label is clear in this case but it isn’t always as clear in other areas of our lives. Many of us are in the labeling business without giving any thought to the weight of our words and the consequences on our lives and the life of those we interact with.

Are you in the labeling business? What about the label I’m a loser, I’m crazy, I don’t care? Whatever comes after I am or you are is a label. Are you also labeling others? When was the last time you gave a positive label to yourself or someone else? Have you tagged or label yourself in a way that is showing up in your life with all its cost? Have you let others tag or label you? How is that working out for you?


Take five minutes to clear your mind and think back on the labels you have carried with you throughout your life. How have they served you? The label of wife, mother, husband, father, mother child, hooligan, fat, worthless, selfish, idle, irreverent, vagabond, holier than thou, loser, unsuccessful, ungrateful, lazy, tired, sick, broke, poor, unhealthy or having health problems…..?

Coaching Action

Take a pen and paper and draw a line down the middle, write down all the labels you have been assigned by yourself or others and list them on the right column of the paper. On the left column of the paper, write down the consequences of each label. Ask yourself; is this the consequence I intended to have from this label? How well is this working for my life? What would I like to have changed? If the consequences you are having is positive then take some time to celebrate and to thank those in your life for being part of this positive reality in your life. If you want to make changes then ask yourself, what is one thing I can do in the next week to change the results I am having from this label? Remember to take that action in the next few days.

I look forward to hearing about your journey on personal labels.  What new labels do you want to adopt and what old labels do you want to celebrate and what positive labels do you want to reaffirm and celebrate?

I wish you peace and wellness

About the author

Joyce Odidison is a Conflict Analyst, Speaker, Author, thought leader, and the world’s leading expert on the Wellness Competency Alignment concept to improve and measure wellness behaviours in organizations. Joyce is President & CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc. for over 25. She is Founder of the Global Workplace Wellness Summit and What’s Happening at Work podcast. Joyce is the author of six books. She has Founded and leads Coach Velocity School of Coaching, an approved program by the International Coach Federation (ICF). She is the Publisher of Faces of Workplace Wellness Magazine. Joyce is a C-Suite level workplace wellness expert and corporate trainer driving inclusive workplace wellness strategies for organizations globally. She can be reached at phone 1 877 999-9591 www.interpersonalwellness.com

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