Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Friday, 18 March 2022 13:42
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Picture the scene. It’s one of those networking events most of us have – at some stage of our lives – been forced to attend. Unknown person sidles up. Drink in hand. You just know what the question is going to be: “So, what do you do?”

For many of us that is such an irksome question, especially, says Adam Leipzig, when what you seem to do is not what you really do or what you do is not how you define yourself or if you’re feeling vulnerable, if you’re between things or if what you do isn’t all that easy to describe.

Some people answer this question with a job title, others mention the name of the company they work for, many entrepreneurs try to describe the chief-cook-bottle-washer scenario and others feel as if they’re expected to be “selling themselves”.

“Frightening for many artists is promoting themselves. They feel it is artificial and not what we want to be known for. Yet if we start thinking about what we do as . . . important to offer to people, not to sell . . . it allows us to shift the way we think about promoting ourselves,” Adam says.

In his TEDx talk, Adam explains exactly how to make this shift. You change the focus from what you’re doing to who you’re doing it for. Willing to try it, girlfriend? Then answer the following five questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you like to do?
  3. Who do you do it for?
  4. What do those people want or need?
  5. How do people change as a result of what you do for them?

Of course the answer to the first question is your name. No hidden mysteries there. Now, what do you love to do? Not everybody is supposed to love the same things. Are you in heaven when sewing clothes? I certainly am not. Neither am I supposed to be. Does it make your heart sing to cook or to potter in the garden? If something doesn’t ring a ‘Woohoo!’ for you, the answer is no. There are no wrong or right answers here.

Adam says that if there are many things you love to do, focus it down by asking yourself: What is the one thing that you feel supremely qualified to teach other people? Now, think about who you do it for; picture them in your mind. What do they want or need that you can give them? And then, lastly, how do they change as a result of what you’ve given them? This last one, says Adam, is the answer you give the next time somebody asks you what you do.

You can say, “I give children awesome dreams”, if what you do is: “I write books for children, so they can fall asleep at night, so they can have awesome dreams.”

Or you might say: “I help people look and feel their best,” if what you do is: “I design apparel for men and women who need affordable choices, so they can look and feel their best.”

Or, “I help people get great work into the world,” if what you do is: “I train entrepreneurs and creative people to take decisive actions, so they can get their greatest work into the world.”

This illuminates more than merely what you do; it makes your life purpose clear to yourself. Yet, Laura Berman Fortgang writes that finding one’s purpose in life is certainly not a destination. “Once you recognize it, own it and begin to fulfill it, you have launched yourself on a journey of twist and turns that will take the rest of your life to complete.”

“The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives,” says James Altucher, author of ‘Choose Yourself’. Fact is, you can do many things during your lifetime. Make two columns, James says. In one, list your ideas. In the other, make a list of ‘First Steps’ – “only the first step, because you have no idea where that first step will take you.” He says that business is just a vehicle for transforming the ideas in your head into something tangible, which improves the lives of others.

So, girlfriend, find whatever it is that sets your heart on fire. “Then combust.” As James says, “One candle can light a thousand other candles and still remain lit itself. Be that candle.”

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