Dr. Stephie?! – How Much Should We Let Our Credentials Speak For Us?

Our Rotary Club is awesome. We do good for other people. We also get together to have social fun.

Take our “Literary Society.” Yes, we talk about the book we read that month. But we also talk about a lot of other things. Most of all it is about fellowship.

My “Brilliance Nuggets” came up in the conversation. Several of my Rotarians friends read them and say they enjoy them. I’m so grateful for your support.

Then a dear friend asked,

“Why do you never introduce yourself as ‘Dr.’? I have never heard you say that in the club?”

I think it has been mentioned in passing a couple of times over the past two years. But she is right. I rarely mention it.

“Almost nobody in my life calls me ‘Dr.’ When I am a speaker, and I get introduced, they normally mention it but otherwise I’m just “Stephie.”

“I don’t want the ‘Ph.D.’ or ‘Dr.’ to get in between me and the other person. I don’t want them to think that I think I’m better than them or that I’m full of myself.”

“But that won’t happen. And they will not think that. Besides you worked hard for it. You deserve the respect. And they need to know they are not just reading ‘another blog'”.

She got me thinking. I had worked hard for my Ph.D. degree; that part is true. But still, “In Rotary, we drop all those formalities. We call Judge Andy ‘Andy’, not ‘Judge Andy.’ I love how approachable we all are with each other.

She agreed with that. She also said everyone knows that Andy is Judge Andy Eads. True.

“Do people know your credentials?” she asked. Then she said, “Besides, ‘Dr. Stephie’ is cute”. Ok. Cute. I could go for ‘cute.’ 🙂

As I Am Writing About This I Am Realizing Something

Over 30 years ago, I decided I would let my work speak for itself. I declared myself as being the microbrew option instead of attaching my success to the well-known ‘brand’ of a famous professor. People would need to get to know me to find what I can do instead of just “reading the label.’

“Stephie went to work with the famous professor XYZ, therefore she must be good at what she does.” I decided against that way of building my career. I could stand on my own feet and show what I can do.

But, wow, I now see that there is a distinction here.

The label I decided against back then was someone else’s label. Not mine.

As I am building “The Brilliance Mine” into a brand, this microbrew may get discovered. I hope it will – not so much because of me but because of what this work stands for.

The Message is: You Are Brilliant!

You have a lot of expertise, experience, and wisdom to give – so let’s leverage that in the here and now, and let’s make it immortal, too.

Doing so uplifts our businesses and non-profits. We can be more effective at growing, scaling up, and delegating.

It uplifts our families, communities, states, and countries. We reduce brain drain. We make our brilliance available as building blocks for the future. We make space for creating new ideas. We empower others.

And: We avoid what I call “double death” – the cemetery must not be the place filled with our brilliance that we didn’t pass on.

I believe that wholeheartedly. I have seen it work first hand. When you share brilliance not only person-to-person but also capture and document it in a systematic and digestible form… “miracles” happen.

Dr. Stephie, It Is Time to Stop Playing Small?!

My dear friend Robert (you read about him before) had already suggested I get the domain DrStephie.com. Wise man. Luckily, I listened.

It is time I step up and at least sign my “Brilliance Nuggets” with “Dr. Stephie.” (but please, in my personal life I still prefer just “Stephie”).

I’m Curious

How do you think about using your credentials? Where and how do you let them speak for you?

Live brilliantly (and share your brilliance!),

Dr. Stephie

Stephie Althouse

3 thoughts on “Dr. Stephie?! – How Much Should We Let Our Credentials Speak For Us?”

  1. Interesting topic. My personal belief is that credentials that represent a job designation should be on your business card (general use). This would include MD, JD, Ph.D., etc.

    However educational degrees like a master’s level degree – not so much. There is a trend to doing that and it does not register with me at all. I do have an MSA and an MBA but would not put on a business card or social media profile after my name.

    So, Dr. Stephie is part of your brand – do it!

    🙂

    1. Yes, huh? LOL. I got a perm back then. The first time it looked ok (well, by the standards of that time). The next time, my hair looked like I had stuck my finger into an electrical outlet and electrocuted myself… Since then, I have stayed away from perms.

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