Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Describe Yourself In One Word

"Lovely! Or, maybe, Glamorous!" I’m speaking at the Rocky Mountain Women in Law Enforcement Conference in Grand Junction, Colorado, this week. Topic: Gaining and Using Influence–When You Speak They’ll Listen. The topic covers several areas of personal and professional development and I’m looking forward to the event.

One of the exercises in the workbook is:

Describe yourself in one word

I also ask it this way: How would you like to be described–in one word?

I was first introduced to that question when someone told me he uses it at job interviews as a way to get some self-disclosure from candidates. It lets him know what the  job fit and work relationships of the candidate might be.  I’m using it in the presentation to get participants to narrow down to one word the traits, knowledge, skills and personality upon which their reputation is based.

I ask it the second way (“How would you like to be described?”) to let them see if there is a big or small difference between how they perceive themselves now and how they would like for others to perceive them. (We also talk about the many things that are necessary to make that one positive word a reality.)

Now it’s up to you: Describe yourself in one word. After that, say what you would like as your one-word description. Is there a big difference? Is the second one possible? What is something you could do today to make that the one word others would use to describe you?

September 19th, 2009 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 10 comments


  1. One word is hard. I’m sure it would change day by day as well. Today, I’m going to say: “competent.” For both how I would describe myself and how I want people to describe me. If I could add to it, I’d add “competent, and learning”

    This reminds me of the six-word story, where you write a story in just six words. Reportedly, it stemmed from a challenge put to Hemingway, who answered the challenge (competently) by penning the following:
    “For sale: baby shoes. Never used.”

    Comment by Jennifer | September 19, 2009

  2. Tina says: How very clever of Hemingway! (Although that doesn’t seem like much of a story about baby shoes!)

    For some other clever six word stories, check out

    Competent is a great word for you. But you’re right…more than one word is needed!

    Comment by TLR | September 19, 2009

  3. One word? Tough! I need more.

    Comment by Jeff Adams | September 20, 2009

  4. Tina says: No, Jeff, I think the one word you used was good. (Clever answer though!)

    Comment by TLR | September 20, 2009

  5. I would like to be described with this word: Dynamic!
    I am usually described with this word: Mellow. (Or “Laid back”….two words.) I gave up on trying to be dynamic a long time ago, but that was my youthful wish!

    With prayers for you!

    Comment by Don R. | September 21, 2009

  6. Hmmmmmmm. I think of myself as “Happy!”

    I think most people would say that about me too, because I sincerely try to show happiness and fun (when it’s OK to do it, of course!) D.

    Comment by denisek | September 21, 2009

  7. Hi, Tina! I would describe myself most of the time as being conscientious. I asked a good friend, who also works near me, what she thought I should say and she said, “Obsessed.” I guess that’s two different ways to look at it!

    Comment by notadonutfan | September 21, 2009

  8. Tina says: Thanks to all of you for the comments.
    Don, I would like to be described as mellow, but it isn’t going to happen! I think Dedicated would be good for you.

    Denise: I think Vibrant is another good word for you. Or, Energized. Or, Bubbly!

    NADF: The difference between conscientious and obsessed is just a teeny tiny nuance. Really. 🙂

    Comment by TLR | September 21, 2009

  9. I asked my 17 year old daughter how she would like to be described and she said, “rich.” I thought it was funny even though it isn’t exactly what you had in mind. When she thought about it more she said, “caring.” Later she called me and said she had asked her friends. So, this gave me something to talk to her about, which turned out to be interesting for both of us.

    Comment by J.J. | September 24, 2009

  10. Your presentation on gaining influence was awesome! I’m going to take you up on your offer for some advice about work, so be prepared! Thanks again for all you’ve done in your career for being such a fun person. Every time I see purple, I’ll think of you!! The one word I picked was “Determined!”

    Comment by Trisha K. | September 25, 2009

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