What do you tell people you do for a living? This question is up because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I do professionally.
I don’t recall puzzling over it this much since 1998, when I was reading Dreams Into Action, a brilliant book for creatives written by Broadway and movie director Milton Katselas. I was elated when I arrived at a decisive answer, i.e., I’m a communicator. I determined that as long as my career involved communicating I would be happy and able to make a difference. The career pivot following that epiphany proved it true.
In Simon Sinek’s TED talk (over 27 million views), he encourages us to start with why, not what, we do. “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” Your passion. Your motivation. The place where your commitment comes to full life. Not surprisingly, his staff includes their why’s on Sinek’s web site.
My Why is to produce breakthroughs so that great things come to life.
How? Listening to executives and asking questions that cut through mayhem, and by collaborating to align and mobilize.
No doubt communication still plays a big part in my work. Now, however, instead of telling the story for organizations, I work to shape it.