How do you define yourself?

8 years ago, my Polytechnic lecturer asked us, “How do you define yourself?”

All of us have to do self-introduction at social gatherings, new classes and when we meet strangers in general. Sometimes you only have a few minutes (or even seconds) to make an impression, hopefully a good one. But what our lecturer made us think about, was how do you define yourself?

This question came back to me last month when I watched a group of successful businessmen do their self-introductions.

The Career-Oriented

These people define themselves by their occupation, industry and their relevant experiences, coupled with some successes and recognition.

“Hi I’m ___ and I’m an engineer at ____. I’ve worked with the company for ___ years and am currently leading ___ men for the project at ___. Some projects I’ve completed include ___, ___ and ___, which is one of the biggest scale project our company had taken on.”

The Self-Oriented

Then there is this group of people who take pride in who they are, who they know, what they know. It’s easy to spot them with their I‘s and on rare occasions, you’d be a target for their comparison to themselves. Not exactly polite, but you get a gist of their confidence.

“Hi I’m ___ and I’ve been in this business for ____. I know many of the people here today, worked with many of them on their projects. I have a degree in _____ and ____ and I know ______. I’m not sure if you heard of it but I ________.”

The Family-Oriented

Hate to say this, but domesticated spouses are classic examples.

“Hi I’m ____ and I am married to ____ with three children. My eldest son is now working at _____ and he has been blissfully married for a few years now. My daughter is ____ and my youngest son is ____ and my husband is _____.”

The Future-Oriented

Usually the rookies in the industry (been there done that), they have a lot to say about the future. Their own future aspirations, what they hope of their industry, their job, their identity.

“Hi I’m ___ and I just graduated from ____. I studied ___ and am looking to find a job in ____. The market now is ____ but I believe _______ will have increase demand so I’m just getting prepared now. I hope to find a job that ____ and hopefully the pay and work hours will _______. Just getting to know more people now so that hopefully in the future ________.”


I guess many people fall into more than one category. But the point is, it’s a great way to understand more about yourself – what comes to mind when you have to define yourself, and how that definition changes with time and with the people you are meeting.

At the end of the day, it’s best to be a little of every type but not too much of any. 🙂


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