No Shame In My Last Name
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a bit of a complex about my last name.
I hated having to spell it. Everybody mispronounced it. And worst of all, it made me feel different.
I thought about changing my last name after college. I thought about shortening it to Ross (which would have been awkward, since there was another Michael Ross in my MBA program). I also thought about changing it to something memorable like Havok (a symptom of listening to too much AFI as a teenager).
The bottom line though, I was telling myself a story that wasn’t true:
“My last name is too hard to spell.”
I told myself that with a name like that I can never be successful. I felt embarrassed when I had to spell it. And I even wrote a recent piece about how my blog sucks, with the number one reason being its “absolutely impossible to spell domain name.”
But you’re here right? You’re reading these words.
You share my posts with your friends.
Some of you even call me by my last name instead of Mike.
So my last name never sucked. My thinking about my last name sucked.
Last weekend I helped organize a meet-up of coaches in the St. Louis area. I was talking about my website and the ever so talented Jill Farmer caught me for the fourth time judging the hell out of my website because of its domain name.
I forgot what she exactly said but it was along the lines of, “Every time you say that your last name is hard to spell I feel the energy suck out of you. What’s the story you’re telling yourself about your last name?”
It was a total wakeup call.
After doing some thought work around that lie that I had been telling myself, I came up with evidence in front of the group on why it was awesome.
1. It’s a unique name that was created when my great grandfather immigrated here from Poland.
2. It can be easily turned into terms of endearment like Momstoski, Popstoski, and Youngstoski.
3. Thousands of people read a blog at Hrostoski.com and I haven’t gotten any email complaints yet on the domain name choice.
4. It has a silent letter. Silent letters are gangsta.
5. And it’s actually quite simple to pronounce. Ross-Toss-Key.
Today I talked to a customer representative with Sprint to get some advice before I leave for Colombia and Mexico. Instead of feeling embarrassed when she asked for my last name, I felt proud. I spelled out my last name like it was O-B-A-M-A.
Like A Bosstoski.
So what do you dislike the most about yourself? Does that thing actually suck?
Or does your thinking about it suck?