What do you do?

Photo courtesy of Chris Valentine (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Chris Valentine (Creative Commons)

You meet someone new, shake hands, and start talking, usually by asking a common question.

“So what do you do?”

Most of us answer that question, “I work for (fill in the blank)” or “I am a (waiter, teller, writer, etc.)”.

But is your job, you?

Are we defined by the job or do we define our lives and the job is just one part of it?

I’ve recently signed up for The Owner’s Path online course with Chris Brogan, New York Times bestselling author and publisher of Owner magazine. I’m not even through with lesson one and I’m already rethinking my reasons for doing what I do.

Side note: He’s offering a special on all his online courses right now if you want to take advantage – click here (affiliate link). I HIGHLY recommend his classes if you want to improve yourself.

I realize that my focus needs to be on my mission – on my reason for being. My mission (in rough form) is “to impact people in a positive way.” So when you ask me what I do, I need to phrase my response in terms of “I impact people by…”

What an eye-opening realization! That changes my motivation – that can turn a difficult day into a day filled with opportunities to have a positive influence on someone else.

It spills over into other choices as well – my volunteer work, my writing, my running – all are ways I can impact someone else.

Will I always know that I have? No, but I can work with that goal in mind. And not for any glory or recognition, but simply the intention of giving of myself to improve someone’s day or making things a little better for them.

This changes my justification for saying no. It validates saying yes to new opportunities.

So let me ask you, “what do you do?”