Have you ever noticed, whenmeeting someone for the first time, that the conversation often begins with the question, "what do you do?" It's as if the way we support ourselves is the most important piece of information we can both gather and give to another human being in the process of getting to know one another. Truth be told, it strikes me as a bit odd, really. When you consider the incredible richness of our humanity, how could this possibly be our lead-off question?
Ok, so I’ll concede it’s a comfortable place to start; we don't have to think too hard or give too much of ourselves. Besides, it's a question for which everyone likely has some kind of an answer, right? They run the gamut from "I'm currently looking for a job" (an all-too-common answer in today’s day and time) or “I’m a stay-at-home mom" to “I’m retired.” Regardless, there's a rather quick volley to fill the space between you and the other person.
Consider too, that many of us tend to define ourselves by what we do rather than by who we are, though we rarely acknowledge this to be the truth. In other words, if I tell you what I do, you'll know who I am. If that’s really the case, what might we infer about the unemployed or those who consciously choose not to work? Let's be honest here.
Forget about who you might be in the matter of your work. Who are you in the matter of your life? Just imagine meeting someone at a cocktail party and having that question land in your space. How would you answer? (Would you even have an answer?)
Here are just a few thoughts to get you started:
- What things do you want most out of life?
- What things do you want to see happen on the planet in your lifetime?
- What things do you believe make you unique?
- What things do you want to accomplish in your life right now?
- What things matter to you most?
So, the next time
you go to a party, or find yourself waiting in a long line, or taking a seat next
to a perfect stranger on the train, consider that you'll now have one heckuva
story to share. (And, you’ll have one heckuva question to ask!) Truth is, your story has always been there; you just haven't traveled beneath the surface of what you do and released yourself from the weight of why you're not good enough (deserving enough, etc.) to see the real you and realize your truly unlimited potential.
It's time to grab your scuba gear and dive deep. After all, people are much more interested in what you’re doing to make a life than what you’re doing to make a living. (Aren’t you?)