Okay, I’m going to let everyone reading this in on a little secret. Despite being on my sixth year of authoring this column under the name Jay Juffre, my real name is not Jay. It is William. My dad’s name is William. His dad’s name was William. Heck, I named my son William. You get the idea.
However, although my real first name is historically prominent in my family, from the day I was born, everyone has called me “Jay”. I should say, almost everyone. The exception was teachers on the first day of school and almost anytime I am in a medical setting. Why is that? Why is there a need to be so formal in that environment? Just sit near a waiting room and listen to folks being called in one at a time: “James”, “Robert”, “Kimberly”. It has the formality of a district court or the DMV.
We know that most of the names our teams are using are not what they go by when they are with their family and friends. So why would we? I had not really thought about this until a few months ago when a new receptionist at my doctor asked me, ‘do you go by William?’ Given the opportunity, I corrected her and watched her as she made a notation in the computer. The simple clarification resulted in something rather remarkable. Suddenly everyone I saw in that office, the nurse, the PA and even my doctor began effortlessly calling me “Jay” for the first time since I started going there.
What was even more significant is how it made me feel. Despite my familiarity with the office and most of the staff, it just made me more comfortable; a little more relaxed than usual. This makes complete sense. The most beautiful sound a person can hear is their own name. We would be crazy not to use the correct one.