Answering the dreadful question: “what do you do?”

Updated: Mar 10

Do you, like me, have a hard time with the question "what do you do?". Even when I had a conventional job the answer I am an Engagement Manager at an AI company seemed incomplete. The most important was always left out.

Now, its even harder to answer: Am I a coach? Yes but coaching is only a tool I use. Am I a researcher? Yes as well, but my research just feeds into what I do. Am I a sales effectiveness expert? Sure but again, it's just an expertise I have that does not communicate what I am really about...

Well, I found a remedy to that In Latin America.

When Argentinians, Chileans or Colombians ask you about what you do they ask "A que te dedicas?" which literally translates into "what do you dedicate yourself to?". I find this question to be much more inspiring.

In fact, I can answer it in a heart beat:

"I am dedicated to understanding the inner workings of human potential so as to empower myself, my loved ones and my clients to reach higher levels of fulfillment & success".

Also, this response usually creates a lot more interesting conversation.

Peak performance experts like Fred Kofman, Simon Sinek and many, many, more talk about "your job being the goal that you pursue Vs what you do". Why? Because when you are in touch with the real reason you are doing the work you do, the impact you are wanting to create, your "why", your mission... it gives meaning to all of the fancy job titles and that increases your level of engagement exponentially.

Also, communicating that to other people yields very different, rapport building interactions.

I've tried it. It's a blast.

If you are feeling bold, next time you encounter someone, ask them "What do you dedicate yourself to?" instead of "what do you do?". See what happens.

Try it on as well, when asked ”what do you do?” answer by sharing what you dedicate yourself to.

Notice what will happen to your demeanor and the quality of your conversations.


© 2019 by Elie Dagher.