“So, what do you do for a living?”

It was a simple enough question; yet you would have thought that I was asked how to solve world peace!

“Um, well…I…um, coach managers…help them manage better,” I said apologetically, clearly sounding like I was the one who needed the coaching.

“You’re kidding! I need a coach,” cried my new friend, smiling as if it was his lucky day.

Frankly, I was just happy that he was still talking to me after my initial blunder. Okay, maybe I’m being a little hard on myself, but what happened to that guy who was confident and clear on what he does for a living? Where did he go?

You see, part of my problem these days is that I wear so many hats that I have trouble describing what I do in a clear and concise way. One moment I’m an author…or a blogger…or a radio talk show host. The next moment I’m a graduate school professor. Last week I was a conflict mediator and this week I was a leadership coach and workshop facilitator.

Maybe solving world peace would be easier than trying to describe what I do.

There was a time when I used to call myself a management consultant. I figured that was broad enough to include everything I did and then some. In hindsight it was probably a little too broad…given all the times I’d be asked to expound on what I actually did as a management consultant.

A little over a year ago I attended a workshop called Yes to Success in Chicago where we had to come up with a single sentence to describe what we did for a living. The idea was to start the sentence with a verb in order to show an action instead of merely stating a title. My sentence was, “I teach leadership and personal growth.” I remember how easily that rolled off my tongue. Why even the instructor raved about my choice of words. Yet despite the accolades, something still didn’t resonate for me about that sentence. I didn’t have the right words.

What’s your sentence? Beginning with a verb, how do you describe what you do?

I have a “Silent Retreat” this coming weekend and plan to blog about the experience in next week’s blog. At that time I’d also like to present to you a few different sentences describing what I do and ask for your feedback on each one. Would you be willing to do that?

Email me your sentence to greg@greggiesen.com.



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