Monday, September 16, 2013

What Do You Love to Do?

Quite often, the first thing people ask when meeting someone for the first time is: “What do you do?” It’s a perfectly reasonable question, designed to break the ice, so to speak, and provide us with information about the other person……but, does it really? Does what we do professionally define us? For those who of us who are lucky enough to be doing work that we are passionate about, what we do and who we are tend to be interconnected on a core values level; we consider our work as a natural extension of who we are and how we move through the world. Unfortunately, most of the people that I meet rarely feel passionate about or deeply connected to the work that they do. In the past, when I asked the “What do you do?” question, I usually received an answer similar to a thirty second elevator speech, a mini life-summary that quickly shut down the probability of an open and authentic conversation. I rarely, if ever, ask that question anymore.

Over time, I learned to ask a different question when initially meeting someone. My question of choice now is “What do you love to do?” This question tends to initially surprise most people. A brief and fertile moment of silence usually follows and then something magical happens to the conversation. As people engage in thinking and talking about what provides deep enjoyment in their lives, their entire physiology changes and a conversational opening occurs. Through asking “What do you love to do?” I have learned so much about others’, skills, gifts, hopes, dreams and what feeds their spirit. I have learned to discard initial assumptions based on how people look, where they come from, what their goals are and what they do or do not do in their professional life. I have had the privilege of looking under the hood, so to speak, with regard to the special gifts that we bring into this world and the amazing things that people create and contribute to others and the world we live in.

What do I love to do? I love to write and invite people to step into transformational conversations. I love travel adventures that expand my learning and comfort/competence zones. I love to create the space for open and authentic communication for individuals and organizations. I love empowering the next generation of paradigm shifters through my strategic change work with individuals and organizations.

What do you love to do?


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this suggestion, Janet. Someone once asked me "What are you passionate about?" and I also paused to think.

    I'm meeting new people next week and will be taking your phrase with me.