What’s in a Name Tag?

by Carol Hess on August 22, 2012

“I’ll bring the name tags.”

That was me volunteering at a women’s empowerment group I’ve recently joined.  No big deal, right?  So I’m bringing some name tags.  Who cares?

Me.  Because it was one of those precious moments when I realized how far I had come in this personal development journey of mine.

I have a brass key ring with the words, “You’ve come a long way, Baby,” engraved on it.  My mother gave it to me.  I love that she was the one who gave it to me.  After all, she of all people knew exactly how far I had come since the day she gave birth to me.  But of course she had no way of knowing how far I would continue to go.

Mom gave me the ring a long time ago.  So long ago that a major tobacco company marketed their cigarettes by selling a brass key ring that celebrated the women’s rights movement.  So long ago that my mother has been gone for several years.  So long ago that these days I can hardly read the words on the ring.

But then my key ring has logged more miles than most.  It’s been to Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Denmark, France, England, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, up and down the east coast of the United States several times, and even one daring trip to that foreign country called Texas.  Yep, my key ring and I have indeed come a long way, Baby.  I realized exactly how long when I heard myself volunteering to bring name tags.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t stray far enough from home to need a name tag.  Then there were the years spent in various meeting rooms, wearing a name tag, and searching, searching, searching for I didn’t know what.  Years of sitting passively in my chair, waiting for someone to please hand me the answer to a question I didn’t even know how to ask.

I envied those workshop facilitators who handed out the name tags and the answers.  They seemed to be so comfortable in their own skin and at ease with their in-charge role at the front of the room.  I knew I would never be like them.

Lo and behold, eventually I did get some answers – sometimes in the meeting rooms, sometimes in a book, sometimes on my own.  And there came a time when I wanted to discuss and share those answers.

“Hey!  Does anyone know where I can get some name tags?”

I found out where to get the name tags.  And, for the most part, I was comfortable being the one handing them out and standing at the front of the room.  But I never did get comfortable handing out answers.  It felt a bit arrogant.  However, I did love suggesting various answers and watching people make up their own minds.  Still do.

Many years went by.  I now I’ve joined this women’s group, and it’s being led by a well-known person, a celebrity of sorts in the circles in which I travel.  And when I say “joined,” I mean I did the email equivalent of pound on the door until they let me in.  I knew I belonged there.

It turns out I was right.  I do belong there — and not just because of what I will receive from the group, but also because of what I will contribute to it.  Including name tags, because women who are baring their souls to each other need to know each other’s names.

So what’s in a name tag?  Apparently quite a bit.  It can show us just how long a way we’ve come, Baby.  In our headlong rush from achievement to achievement, this is not a small thing.  We need to pause and remember the emotional and spiritual miles we’ve traveled.  We need to take the focus off the destination for just a minute and celebrate the journey itself.

Now it’s your turn to pause and remember the miles you’ve traveled.  What was your “You’ve come a long way, Baby” moment?  Share it with us so we can celebrate you and your journey. 

by Carol Hess

17 comments

Categories Carol's Musings, Personal Empowerment, The Art of Star Polishing

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Doreen Fulton August 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm

You’ve come along way baby! Let’s celebrate the journey together! Love this article by you. I am delighted to call you my friend and transformational author, Carol Hess!

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

Doreen, I’m always up for a celebration. Life is too short NOT to celebrate, right? For me, one of the biggest gifts in this journey I’ve been taking has been and continues to be the people I meet, including my transformational author friends like you, Doreen. I’m looking forward to our big event in January that you and Ann White are putting together — such a labor of love.

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avatar Ellen Berg August 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I was in a park in Portland, OR this summer feeling deeply sorry for myself when a wave of understanding and self-appreciation washed over me. I came to understand that everything I hated about myself and perceived as a limitation was the result of what I love most about myself: my introversion.

I’d developed the belief that I “should” be like extraverts, that I needed to be fixed. But sitting there in the park, I finally knew in every single cell of my being that I was okay just the way I am.

That sounds hokey even to me, and I experienced it. And yet, nothing has been the same after it. I have a confidence I’ve never had, I’m more willing to risk and say yes, I’m open to developing intimacy with people and allowing whatever the universe has to bless or teach me come my way. The circumstances of my life haven’t changed much, but the way I move through the world makes it seem that way. THIS is what peace is, and as someone who’s suffered from intense anxiety from most of my adult life, it feels like I’ve been completely reborn.

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

I’m covered with goosebumps, Ellen. Thank you for sharing your rebirth with us. I totally get it. I had a similar experience this past March. Isn’t it amazing how profoundly we can shift on the inside, but it doesn’t necessarily translate as a huge shift in our external circumstances? However, it’s the kind of transformation that sticks around and keeps happening and happening and happening. I picture it like the ripples that spread out and keep going long after you throw a stone in the water. I’m so happy for you, Ellen.

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avatar Lynn August 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

That gave me chills, too!

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avatar jackie jordan August 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Name tags…Lordee! In mid-Sept. I’ll be attending a networking event for my new biz, Dwellings Group – a real estate investment group (of 2). The event will be led by Stedman Graham (Oprah’s SO) and I’ll have to make sure my name is big and bold – kinda like O! Just kidding, but I do dread the whole getting-to-know-you thing in a venue that’s new to me! Maybe I’ll print my name tag in Dayglow Orange and take it along!

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

It sounds like a wonderful opportunity, Jackie. I’ve met people who have attended some of Stedman Graham’s presentations, and they raved about him. I’m sure you’re going to have an amazing experience. And I think the dayglow orange name tag is a great idea. Why the heck not, right? I identify with your discomfort of meeting new people in an unfamiliar place. Discomfort is good though. It means we are stretching. I’ve discovered that the more I dread something, the better it turns out. Good luck with Dwellings Group — love the name. :)

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avatar Sandi Amorim August 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Like Ellen, I had an insight show up in Portland, when someone shared with me that I was one of the people she’d been hoping to meet at the conference we were both attending. There were 1000 people at this conference, many much more known and successful than me – yet it was ME she wanted to meet and connect with.

In that moment, I saw that I had fulfilled what I’d set out to do 2.5 years ago when I started writing my blog – reach (and impact) more people. Now, there’s a new awareness, a new knowing that it’s time to grow, to expand once again. I have moments when that knowing scares me, and other moments when it’s calling to me like a lover.

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

There must be something in the air in Portland. :) “I have moments when that knowing scares me, and other moments when it’s calling to me like a lover.” The push and pull of Lizzie vs. Lola — fear vs. love. Someone reminded me today that we wait for confidence before we do something when, in fact, we gain confidence only when we have done the something.

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avatar San D August 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Speaking of name tags, once when I went to a state function, I had to go register at the desk. In doing so, I had to give them my name and then the lady would make out the name tag. I spelled my name. She said “no that’s not how it is spelled”. Caught me off guard for a nano second. I gathered my wits, and said “it’s my name and yes I DID spell it correctly”. She then tried to argue with me. I respelled it for her, showed her ID and only THEN would she spell it correctly. Made me laugh.

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Of course she argued because she would know better than you how to spell your name, right? Geesh. San D, I suspect you were a tad more polite and patient than I would have been! This is a great name tag story.

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avatar Joanna Saunders August 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Carol, You are such a wonderful story teller. I love this blog. I can’t think of a you’ve come a long way baby story. My life is full of them but none are standing out right now. My focus at the moment is figuring out the disconnect between what I have to share with the world and attracting those who need to hear it. It is one of the reasons I am having my Akashic records read. When I figure that out then I will really feel like I have come a long way baby.

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I love to tell stories, Joanna. I guess it shows, eh? I’ve got a “You’ve come a long way, Baby” story about you. Two in fact. I suspect there was a time in your life when you wouldn’t have realized you were experiencing a disconnect between your gift and attracting people who need your gift. (YCALWB Story #1) And I suspect there was a time in your life when you had never heard of the Akashic records, much less would have thought to consult an Akashic records reader. (YCALWB Story #2) See how we take for granted our growth?

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avatar Linda Crawford August 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Yes…I have come a long way and I am still nowhere or NOW more here…presence to what is IS the nugget….that I am exactly where I need to be in every single moment is what I cherish as a notion today…I love you Carol…you wise woman you – I look forward to handing out name tags together…for one and all….lol xxxx

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Oooh, I love the vision of us handing out name tags together, Linda. And thank you for the reminder that it is always the NOW HERE that counts — being present to the moment. I love you too, the Amazing Linda Crawford.

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avatar Lynn August 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Quite a shift, Carol, from being the person waiting for the name tag (and the answers) to being the person who helps hand out the name tag and probe for the answers! You HAVE come a long way, baby!

I can’t think of any great big YCALWB stories, but I have zillions and zillions of little ones. As much as I’ve always wished for the Big Epiphany and Profound Awakening, I seem to be one who grows little bit by little bit. And that’s OK.

Love how you’re recognizing how far you’ve come and encouraging us to do the same!

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avatar Carol Hess August 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Lynn, I’m glad you’re content with your journey and pattern of growth. Sure, the big epiphanies and profound awakenings might be more dramatic, but that doesn’t make them any better than the steady step-by-step path. Just different. Growth is growth, right?

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