The Greatest Question Of All

Let me begin with a confession: I despise being asked what I do because while I love saying ”I’m a writer” there is much more to me than that.  I mean, how do I start answering that question?  Are you interested in only knowing what I do to pay the bills or what qualifies me to do what I do today or what I did ten years ago to get to where I am today?

I know many people are intimidated by the question ‘Who are you?’ because they’re either still blind to their own magnificence or too stubbornly married to their profession.  When I worked in finance  I was responsible for the creation of that particular investment bank’s first ever call centre and was tasked with hiring over twenty people.  I made a point of asking every interviewee who they were and let’s just say it’s a pity this was back in the day when YouTube wasn’t even a blip on Google’s radar.  I would have given up my gold crown to have recorded all their slack-jaw expressions for posterity.

Needless to say EVERY single person answered that question by telling me what they did at their previous job or current job or what they qualified in or what they’re hoping to qualify in.

I let it go.

But what I really wanted to do was pound my desk like a gorilla in a pinstriped suit and shout:

You (dearly beloved!)are not your job!”

When was the last time you met someone at a party or a function and they introduced themselves to you by giving their name and profession or qualification.

‘I’m Jo.  I’m a project manager.”

‘I’m Anne. I have an MBA from Harvard.”

I bet it wasn’t so long ago.  I bet it happened just yesterday or last week that someone tried to impress you with titles and credentials.  And I bet you weren’t impressed.  Because titles and designations while they give you insight into a person’s skill set doesn’t tell you anything about that person’s heart.

These snappy descriptions of ourselves communicate only one aspect of our crazy wonderful lives.  Take for example the fact that I worked in finance (and still do part-time) for just under two decades in various roles ranging from administration to marketing to finally HR and Training and Development.  While from the above you may deduce that I am driven and extremely capable 😀 you will not know that

  • I write fiction as well as non-fiction
  • I’m a curious George.  I love trivia (my husband says I’m a fountain of useless information)
  • I’m an app geek
  • I love cooking and trying out new recipes

I believe that each and every time we position ourselves as a neat one-label package we sell ourselves short.  Refuse to define yourself without taking into account your unique gifts, your values and your strengths.  You’ll be surprised at just how immensely experienced and gifted you are when you start looking at who are you.

Who are you?  Really.  I want to know.

 

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10 thoughts on “The Greatest Question Of All

  1. It’s so nice to meet the real you, Yolanda! To me, titles mean nothing, we’re all equal in this world in terms of our importance. The one title I do strive to live up to is “honest, compassionate and loyal partner, daugther and friend.”

    • Exactly Jill! Wouldn’t the world be a far better place if we strived to be better people rather than “entitled” by power and position? Have a wonderful Friday 😀

  2. My husband says “I’m retired” – if I’m asked I say “I write a blog” or “I walk”. But most of the time people don’t ask me anything – they’re happy to tell me endless details of their lives. (?)

  3. When I was a ‘home mother’ looking after two young children I was married to a high flying govt official (I’m now divorced) who was an assistant to a Senator. We would go out to functions that were very snobby and people would ask me what I did for a living. When I’d tell them I was at home looking after children they’d quickly move away from me (LOL). So I changed my ‘job role’ and would then say, ‘I produce and develop the most important resource in the world’ – they’d say ‘WOW – what’s that?’ and I’d say ‘children’ – hehehehe 😀

    My job has never defined me and I love this post 😉

    • My husband says I’m a woman with one too many “firm” opinions 😀 Here’s one: There is no greater calling or “job” than being a mother (biological or otherwise). Thank you for sharing your experience Dianne 🙂

  4. Oh dear! I can sooo relate to this Yolanda. I totally agree with you. I do feel intimidated and I do hate those introduction circles at workshops and so on where you have to tell your name and what you do in life. In fact whenever anybody asks me what I do for a living I now answer “I live!!” and then I have to bite my tongue to not have it followed by “..and how about you? are you living or just breathing?” I was actually thinking about writing the same blog..I might eventually still do that 🙂

    • I hope you do write a similar post Karin. I think most people ask ‘what do you do?’ because it is (sadly) seen as more polite than asking “who are you?’ but I do hope the day will come when we can look each other in the eye and with genuine curiosity and deep love ask questions like ‘what makes your soul sing?’. 🙂

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