Why I ‘Do’

I got a few responses to my post about taking off to New York congratulating me on pursuing my passions and sticking to what I love.

Not too long ago, I didn’t know what that was.

Last fall, I found myself searching for a new job. On queue, everyone’s first question was “What do you do?” I had an idea, but it was high level and after I would struggle to explain, people replied with, “okay… so what do actually do?”

My project manager and mentor helped me along a path to discover what I do, and more importantly ‘why I do.’ His suggestion, as I worked on my resume was to go through my past jobs and write down my favorite part of each job. These often resulted in the things I had accomplished and most proud of (which translated into a pretty handy skills-based resume.)

The next task was to refine and discover the intrinsic values each accomplishment represented. This wasn’t easy but what I came out with was an answer to “What do you do?” and provided me with the framework to help answer hard questions.

At our #leancoffeeKL meetings we’ve talked a lot about the need to define what your product does, why it does it, and align everything you do to that.

Defining myself is what I had to do.

That’s what I came up with. It sat on my whiteboard for a while to sink in. The more I found myself in a position where I didn’t know what to do, whether it would be day-to-day, or making life decisions like moving my to New York, I came back to this list. It gave me confidence to jump into new things if they were inline with what I was good at and if they fulfilled what I needed to do to be satisfied in my career. My next adventure fills all of these requirements (with exception to point number 5… I’ve still got a long time to do that).

I challenge you to do this. Spend the time (even at that moment when you’re frustrated and think it’s dumb) and you’ll give yourself a manifesto and the confidence to make tough decisions.