How do you feel when someone asks, “What do you do?”
Does it spark frustration? Confusion? Disinterest?
What if it that age-old question was one of your greatest opportunities for connection, spreading your message and moving your ambitions forward?
Trust me, I get it. We now live in an economy where many of us are doing more than one thing. Our description of working and living goes beyond a title and job description.
Doctor. Lawyer. Consultant. Designer.
Painter. Musician. Writer. Developer.
Mother. Father. Husband. Wife.
It’s not that simple anymore.
We have the husband and consultant who works from home, creates and sells art in his downtime, and volunteers with troubled youth.
We have the freelance writer who runs a farm-to-table dinner series on the side, and spends weekends on the farm.
We have the investment banker who travels and photographs the world in his free time, inspiring people to explore and play.
As our interests and doings become varied and multi-disciplinary, the ease at which we describe what we do lessens.
So how on earth can you describe what you do and do so simply? Let’s break it down into a real-life before and after example.
Him: So what do you do?
Me: I’m a writer.
// end conversation // end opportunity for connection //
Him: So what do you do?
Me: Everything I do is rooted in redefining Ambition. I’m interested in shifting the conversation from one of “Getting ahead” to one of “Coming alive.”
Him: Oh wow. That’s really interesting. What do you mean by that?
Me: We’ve been taught that in order to be successful, we must get ahead. But what happens is that we often lose ourself and what really matters in the process.
Him: I really connect with that. This is totally up my sister’s alley too. What do you mean by coming alive?
Me: To come alive is to tap into the truest and most natural expression of who you are, making sure your life is an expression of that. So I support people in shifting from fear-led decisions to heart-led choices, self-doubting to self-expression, focusing on competition to fostering collaboration, and chasing what’s next to fully experiencing what’s right now. That sort of thing.
Him: This is awesome. My sister needs to hear about this. She’s an amazing artist but self-doubt keeps blocking her. How do you go about doing this work?
Me: I write, speak, lead retreats and experiences for creatives and entrepreneurs, and occasionally work with the right inspired companies or individuals one-on-one. I’m also writing a book.
Him: Oh awesome! When and where can I buy this book?!
And off we go into soul-connected paradise…
In sharing what we do, when we focus on the mission driving us and why we do it, we create the opportunity to quickly connect in a deep and intimate way. We also increase our odds for moving our ambitions forward in an organic way.
"My sister NEEDS to be at your next retreat."
"I have an Editor I want to introduce you to."
"This conference sounds like a perfect place for you to speak."
Now it’s your turn. Are you ready to try out this new approach?
Start by answering and getting clear on this: What is the mission that I’m here to serve? And why do I do what I do?
For example: Maybe you work in healthcare but what drives you is removing the barriers around accessibility so you can create a world with more happiness. Maybe you’re a designer but what moves you is the power of love and supporting people in seeing their greatness. Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur who experienced a spiritual awakening, and now you’re motivated to show people the power of slowing down, being present and cultivating the joy within.
Your story is unique. And your message matters. Whatever it is that you do, there’s a reason for it. There’s a deeper force motivating you to show up day and after. There’s a nut you’re trying to crack in your own life. What is it?
If you get stuck or want to share, let’s jam in the comments below. I’m here for you.
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Thanks to Payal for inspiring this post, and Geada and Farhad for reading the draft. Photo found here.
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