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What Do You Do?

“What do you do?”

I heard the question and then, paused for a moment trying to figure out the best way to answer. Even though I spend the bulk of each week “doing”, trying to boil everything down into a specific title proved to be exceptionally difficult.

The question is rather common – particularly during holiday times or when visiting relatives as everyone is eager to catch up. In some career fields, the answer is rather straightforward – an optometrist or chemical engineer doesn’t really require any additional explanation.

This particular occasion was the first time I was seeing many of my family members since making the switch from full-time personal training into a variety of other interests and avenues. Typically, I say that I work in Digital Advertising, but the truth of the matter is that I wear multiple hats. I also do quite a bit of freelance writing, editing, and website maintenance. On the side, I also teach some fitness classes and am constantly exploring other avenues to pick up additional projects.

Fitting all of that into one particular title is difficult at best.

What You Do Doesn’t Define You

I’m a firm believer in being passionate about whatever jobs/projects you pursue. These day-to-day actions are a result of your overall passion and vision. They don’t define you as a person, but rather, they should support your overall mission.

When I worked as a personal trainer, I wrote a ton of workouts. I also consulted with new clients, sold sessions, ran bootcamps, and led continuing education classes. While these bullet points are important and certainly help to breakdown the title on my resume for future employers, they don’t define what I actually did.

If you were to ask me at that time “What do you do?”. I likely would have rattled off some action items from my daily routine. However, my actually purpose and passion was to help other people live a healthier, happier life. That’s far more important than writing thousands of workouts or leading thirty to forty sessions in a week.

Be Bigger Than a Task

The typical chores of your daily routine shouldn’t define what you do. They’re action items that are dictated by your overall passion. Sure, they’re important for breaking down how you stay busy during the week, but they don’t actually tell people what gets you up out of bed in the morning and gets you to work.

You’re bigger than a list of to-do items.

Think about what really lights a fire inside of you. That is what other people can relate to. That is the bigger picture. That is the why.

Your daily to-do list is boring and mundane. Instead, speak about your true passion. That’s the magic of what you do day after day. What is the end result you’re trying to accomplish? Are you trying to help others, build the next ____, or change the world?

What I Do

Truth be told, I didn’t have this answer handy during the myriad amount of times I was asked this past weekend, but I’ve had some time to think it over.

I help individuals publish and spread their ideas.

That’s it. That’s what gets me up at 4AM to write and work every morning. I find it astonishing that literally anyone can hop on the computer and hit the publish button to spread their thoughts to millions of potential viewers. It doesn’t matter if the message is coming from a single dad that’s trying to figure out the parenting thing and speaks to a handful of readers or from a mom that inspires millions.

The art of publishing is powerful.

That overall guiding message helps determine my daily actions. These items support that mission and goal. It could be through writing, editing, ghostwriting, coding, advertising, tweeting, or a handful of other actions. But, in the end, it comes down to helping people – whether young, old, big, or small – to put their ideas out there.

What do you do?

Leave a Thought

  1. I really liked this article Jeremey, and often find myself being asked this question. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a better answer next time!

    Rest assured, however, that you’re awesome at what you do. You’ve been a massive help to me over the past few months, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the help you’ve given me. Thanks for everything!

  2. This a tough and thought provoking question, but I really like your answer. As a personal trainer (at this point in my life) when I’m asked what I do, I respond “I change lives and make people’s dreams come true”, and just leave it at that