When I started running, I did not consider myself a “runner”. I was just someone who was trying to run a lap around the track without hyperventilating. When I started a business, I did not consider that I’d become a “boss”. I was just someone who was trying to provide a service that people would pay for so that I could keep doing it.
It quickly became clear that I couldn’t do that alone.
My first hire was a volunteer coordinator, then drivers, cashiers, etc… One day I overheard one of them telling someone else they worked “for” me. I about fell off my chair. Surely they work “with” me, not “for” me. I cringed. Then a couple of our drivers began to call me “boss” and other staff picked it up. “Hey, boss!” “Sure thing, boss!” It was endearing. It took some of the awkwardness away, but it was still uncomfortable.
I felt similarly the first time someone referred to me as a “runner”. Even after my first 5K, I was surely not a “runner” yet. I had so many years of not being a runner, that being a “runner” was something only other people could be. Not me. Not yet. But I was a runner. After several races, I finally learned to accept that identity.
Being a business owner and employer shifted my identity too. I didn’t think running a business wouldn’t change me, but it did. I gradually learned to accept and embrace the fact that I was the boss. I was in charge. People looked to me for direction. It was up to me to live up to that and to be the kind of boss that people were happy to say they worked “for”. (Even if that phrase still makes me cringe).