Jon Steinberg from BuzzFeed tackled the interesting subject of the connection between first names and success recently in a piece at LinkedIn. Looking at Fortune 500 CEO’s who use a nickname, Steinberg contends that perhaps we should all adopt the practice stating, “I believe that short names are potentially correlated with leadership success for the simple reason that they engender close association and camaraderie.” It’s a compelling idea, particularly for someone who has a long name (guilty).
I’ve been thinking a great deal about identity recently. I’ve been an Elizabeth since graduating from college. My family calls me “Liz” which is the nickname that I went by throughout high school. Hired at one of my first jobs after finishing my undergraduate work to replace an “Elizabeth”, I was strongly encouraged to keep “Elizabeth” as it would be easier for the members to remember. Done. I’ve been Elizabeth as long as I’ve been on my own. Elizabeth is part of my identity but it is also my daughter’s name now. Her name is spelled the German way, with an “s” and her last name is her father’s but we share the essence of the name.
Should I adopt a nickname as a hopeful nod to future success in my new business? It seems a little extreme…or not. Bull City Babies will be my second launch of a business in my career. I am consciously doing certain things in a different way than I had before. Maybe using a nickname will be just another one of those tweaks.
Do you use a nickname…personally or professionally? If so, why? If not, why not? Or if you have an opinion on what you would do, let me know.