Ask What’s your story, Instead of What do you do?

One of the first questions we ask a person after meeting them is, “What do you do?” The reason this question is so important is because our culture places value on people based on their profession. People put so much emphasis on their career, that if they become unemployed, they feel as though they lack an identity.

Here’s the problem with making judgments about a person’s status or value based on their profession. We can miss out on where that person is headed or the potential they have. A janitor could aspire to start their own janitorial business or be a talented artist that’s working a job until their art is able to bring in a consistent income. We could miss out on a diamond in the rough.

Instead, a better question is what’s something you’re working on that you’re passionate about? By asking this question, you can learn more interesting parts of a person’s story and what they’re really about. I have a friend that does billing for healthcare companies but on the side she’s an entrepreneur that aspires to get a product sold in stores. When I met her, I asked her this question and she told me about her product. I loved the idea so much that I offered to help her figure out how to launch her product.

If I had asked her what’s your profession, she probably would have told me that she works in medical billing and most likely that would have been the end of the conversation. Both of us would have missed out on what we have in common and how we could help each other.

I challenge you the next time you’re networking or meeting someone new, ask them what’s something you’re working on that you’re passionate about? It will probably be a more interesting conversation and you never know, a connection could come out of it.


Did You Give It Your Best Shot?

So what happens when you gave your goals your best shot but nothing much has changed? I personally have been going through a period of stagnation and have learned how to deal with it from a healthy perspective.

Last year I did everything possible to advance The Connect with Your Calling Project. I was able to help a few people get connections to advance their careers and I’m grateful that some are making progress. With one client in particular we went through the casting process for 2 national TV shows and almost got selected both times but then towards the end we were cut. Needless to say this was an emotionally draining process and very disappointing.

We haven’t given up and decided to keep moving forward but we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. I’ve made a conscious decision that I’m not going to let my happiness be dependent on whether or not we achieve our goal. I’ll be thrilled to help my client get her product on national TV but the outcome is not under my control. I’ve decided to be content regardless of the outcome to maintain my peace and happiness.

Going after your dreams is a bruising process so here are a few suggestions that came from an article written by Bishop Joseph W. Walker III.

  1. Find contentment. When you know you’ve done your best and given your all, you can live with no regrets.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Visualize where you want to be this time next year and come up with a strategy with small measurable steps.
  3. Set realistic goals. Don’t overdo it. Recognize that you are only one person and it’s better to do a few things well than do many things horribly.
  4. Be intentional about prioritizing. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary compromises that may set you back.

How to get a Response to your Request

In order to be effective at crowdsourcing, you need to get people engaged in what you’re trying to accomplish. Basically, if they don’t care about what you’re doing, they won’t help you with your need. If you struggle in the area of getting others involved in your cause, here’s some advice that can help. This technique, called Monroe’s Motivational Sequence has been used by some of the most persuasive motivational speakers throughout history.

If you’re speaking to a group:

• Attention
o Get the attention of your audience using a detailed story, shocking example, dramatic statistic, quotations, etc.
• Need
o Show that the problem about which you’re speaking exists, that it’s significant, and that it won’t go away by itself. Use statistics, examples, etc. Convince your audience that there’s a need for action to be taken.
• Satisfy
o You need to solve the issue. Provide specific and viable solutions that the government or communities can implement to solve the problem.
• Visualization
o Tell the audience what will happen if the solution is implemented or doesn’t take place. Be visual and detailed.
• Action
o Tell the audience what action they can take personally to solve the problem.

In a private conversation, use examples that relate to that specific person:

• 1. Attention: Hey! Listen to me, I have a PROBLEM!
• 2. Need: Let me EXPLAIN the problem.
• 3. Satisfy: But, I have a SOLUTION!
• 4. Visualization: If we IMPLEMENT my solution, this is what will happen. Or, if we don’t implement my solution, this is what will happen.
• 5. Action: You can help me in this specific way. Can you help me?

The advantage of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is that it emphasizes what the audience can do. Too often the audience feels like a situation is hopeless; Monroe’s motivated sequence emphasizes the action the audience can take.

Crowdsourcing for Solutions

I would like to discuss how crowdsourcing can be used in everyday life. Your network can be used to solve a spectrum of issues in addition to your career needs. So I would like to give you some examples of how to effectively crowdsource some of your goals.

Let’s start off with career, I would like to share a story given to me by career coach, Terrence Devlin. An engineering company that was a large employer in the area went out of business so there was a saturation of engineers looking for work in that particular market. In a case where there’s a lot of competition, you have to get more creative in your job search. Terrence advised his clients to meet face-to-face with people in their network, hand them a copy of their resume and ask them if they knew of anyone that may be looking to hire someone with their particular job skills. In most cases, the person did have at least one lead for an engineering connection in their network to give them. Using Linkedin, the person could research their professional network pretty easily. The reason he suggested a face-to-face meeting is because people are more likely to help you when you express a need in person as apposed to over the phone or email.

This same approach can be used in a variety of ways. If you’re looking to lose weight or another common goal, ask people in your network if they know of another person that’s also looking to do the same thing (for instance lose weight) so you can support each other or if they know of an expert that can provide their services to give you the tools you need. This technique has proven to effective because when you get referrals from your network, they come from a trusted source, therefore they’re more likely to produce results. Also, asking them in person puts a immediate need in front of them while you have their undivided attention.