What Do You Really Do?

We know what we do for a living. Most of us have our 30 second elevator speech and our 25, 50, and 100 word descriptions of our businesses. But what do we really do? Why do you do what you describe in your elevator speech?

My friend Rhoda Israelov, who is now a ghost blogger, once told me that she has always been a teacher. During a successful career as a financial planner, she collected new clients by conducting educational seminars and writing informational columns that taught people about their personal finances.  Now, she helps her customers teach others about their businesses thru blogging. Sure they hire her to get them search results, but she teaches because that’s what she does.

My wife, Susie, is a caretaker. She has worked in banking, finance, and legal occupations, but in whatever position she holds, she is taking care of her customers, clients, and co-workers. It’s what she does. If she started working tomorrow as a bouncer in a bar, she’d be the most care-giving bouncer in the world.

I found out recently that I’m a coach. Others have known it for a while I imagine, but it just hit me as I came to the end of my middle schoolers’ Cross Country season the other day. I have one of the worst teams in the city. They complain about practice every day. They feign sickness and injury to avoid running in a meet. Yet in spite of themselves, they’ve come to appreciate running in the few weeks our season lasted. In fact, many have surprised themselves with their increased capacity for running. They still have a long way to go before they are contenders for ribbons, medals, and trophies, but these kids surpassed their beliefs in themselves. It’s the most thrilling thing I get to do.

But, like Rhoda and Susie, I coach wherever I go and whatever I do. It’s how I work with my customers and my staff. It’s how I raised my children and how I interact with my friends.

What do you really do? If you peel back all the titles and job descriptions, what’s left that carries thru all that you’ve done. Find that single thing and do more of it in whatever you do. The world will be a better place.

Susie is a nurturer.

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