You are more than what you do!

What do you do?  I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked and I have answered this question.  In most situations I answer with what I do for a living, the "paying job" that brings home the bacon.  There is nothing wrong with this answer, but it seems to me that most of us are much more than what we do.  I know I am, or at least I try to be.

If we are more than what we do, then how do we describe this to others?  This can be a challenge for me, but here is how I try to boil it down when I really get down to the heart of the matter:

  • I see my role as being a connector, one who helps others find the role or situation that best fits their skills, experience or interest.  Sometimes I get paid for this, but in many cases the return is much greater than can be measured in any currency.

Think about that statement.  I can reflect on many occasions where I  have had the unique opportunity to help someone "build a bridge" from where they are to where they want to go.  If I told you I was a bridge builder, you might think I worked as a contractor or a structural engineer.  In the literal sense I am not a bridge builder, but in the greater scheme I am very much a bridge builder and I love having the opportunity to help others build their bridges.  There are occasions where I cannot help someone build that bridge, but in those cases I try to still instill hope and encouragement for their journey.

What do you do?  How can you better identify what you really do for a living?  Listed below are a few steps that have worked for me to better understand what I do best:

  • Develop better self awareness; I need to know how others receive the messages I deliver and I also need to ensure that what I think I am saying is what the other person is really hearing.
  • Learn what I like to do; There are many ways to do this and I always encourage others to use a number of assessments to better identify their strengths.
  • Learn what I am good at; Again, some of this is intuitive, but much of this can be learned by talking with others who have worked with me or seen my work.  Getting specific and timely feedback from others can go a long way in determining what I am good at doing.
  • What is my passion?  Passion is a key ingredient in finding what you do best and I have found my passion exists when I work in those areas where my strengths and my interests intersect.  If you can determine this overlap, you will find where you need to spend your time.

This is certainly not the complete answer, but the next time someone asks you "What do you do" you might think about how your answer could be a little more comprehensive than your daily job.  I am sure what you do is much greater than what brings home your paycheck.  Finding that "sweet spot" may take some time, but arriving in that destination can make all of the difference in the passion you exude in your life.