How many times have you answered the question, “what do you do?” or how many times have you asked the same question and fallen asleep with the answer? Yesterday, I caught a snippet of a presentation that got me thinking. Oh oh you say, we are in trouble now. When someone asks you, “what do you do?” it is usually a conversation filler and answering “what” can be a conversation stopper instead of the opening to an interesting possibility for both participants.do for a living

Instead of answering “what,” try answering “why.” Answering WHY you do something reveals an important fact about yourself giving the questioner an opportunity to explore your passion. Passion would be a great way to start your answer, as in, “I am passionate about finding family homes for people that will significantly increase in value in a short period of time.” Instead of, “I’m a realtor for Remax.”

“I get huge satisfaction from growing heirloom roses and entering them in flower competitions.” “I love watching people, who never thought they could do it, write their first book.” “I get a real kick out of seeing companies increase their bottom line profits by making a small change in their operating procedure.” ” I get a real sense of joy by explaining complex tax matters to people that helps them save money.”

I’m sure you can do better with your answer after a little bit of thought and some trial and error. We have all heard how it is a good idea to have a 30 second elevator pitch ready to answer the question of WHAT you do, but try answering and creating that 30 seconds based on WHY you do what you do. See if it starts a conversation rather than closing it.

So, here’s something I’m really excited about. I will start a new series of blogs next week that will run through the next couple of months that will make a difference, not only in your life, but the lives of your children and grandchildren. Intrigued? If you have ever read the “About” section of this website, you will know that I like learning something that sounds complex and making it understandable for other people. Yep, shoulda been a teacher. I will put together a series of presentations that will allow you to create a legacy that is unique, valuable, wanted, and easy through a step-by-step process that will take only a few minutes each week. And at the end of the series, there will be a free gift for any followers of this website. Sign up now to receive the contents via email and get something for nothing. Great pitch huh?

OK, I will give you all the WHY’S and WHAT’S next week and in the meantime, try answering this week’s question a little differently and let us know what happens.


rear-view-speaker-speaking-microphone-male-public-pointing-isolated-white-background-symbol-leadership-44380781Investment sales is a highly competitive business full of type A’s who sometimes need to expand their universe in order to bring balance to their lives. That was the message from a senior vice president of a very large investment management firm when he asked me to speak to his sales force. He had read my first book and wanted me to share how hiking the West Coast Trail created a pathway for change in my own life. I was only too happy to comply but I was in for a surprise.

Invited into his spacious office by his assistant, he offered me a coffee before my presentation and we sat down to get to know each other. He knew that I had been a stockbroker in my younger days and felt that gave me added credibility and trust to speak to his people in an environment that I understood. He was convinced that my message would help them in both their personal and business lives. I was flattered.

We exchanged the who, what, where, when and why of family and professional life and then he gave me surprise number one: a hard copy of the book that he had written. He, too, was a published author. What a powerful business card because that was what he told me. He used his book as a business card. As I glanced through it, I was surprised to learn about its contents – surprise number two, it wasn’t a book extolling the features and benefits of his service or product. It was a story about a young boy who wanted a new bike. Instead of going to the store and buying it, the boy’s father showed and supported his son in learning how to save for something he wanted.

My host’s book created a learning moment and a teaching moment giving great value to people everywhere. Sure, he included a personal bio and contact info so that readers would be able to discuss their own financial needs with him but he gave value FIRST. I learned that he would often donate copies to various schools and youth groups in addition to giving them to prospective clients. He had not scrimped. This was not a “digital only” book but rather, a professionally bound hard copy with pictures and illustrations that would be impressive to adults and children alike and it taught a lifelong lesson to the reader. Brilliant!

He shared with me the fact that he credited the book with his fast rise up the corporate ladder of his company as the book not only attracted clients but the attention of his superiors (heck, they were using his book to help them in their own families). What a powerful learning lesson this presentation became for me. What an outstanding idea – create a book that offers real time value to its readers as a calling card to attract more business. It had set this gentleman apart from his fellow salespeople and his competitors in other companies. It resulted in more clients, more income and a better position. It could do the same for you.

The big take away here is that in order to make this work, your book needs to give the reader value not just a sales pitch. If you give them the value first, they will give you the time to offer your product or service. Here’s my pitch: if you need help organizing your book, you can find help here. And if you want to float an idea by me, use the contact form on this website and I promise to get back to you with any help that I can give. Oh, and if you think this little story has merit, please pass it along using the “share” buttons.