So, what do you do?

I have been waiting for ages to attend a good wedding. When I say ages, I mean years.

Then this June the Wedding Gods decided to play a little joke. They gathered every wedding, from every past year and showered me with great fistfuls of wedding invite confetti. I’ve officially had FIVE weddings to attend this month, with the final one on Friday in Sicily.

Weddings.

Such wonderful things!

What begins as a bunch of loosely connected family and friends who sit nervously around, trying not to look too stiff in their brand new outfits and bizarre clip-on head feathers, soon becomes a raucous affair. The booze flows, the clangers are dropped, the dancing gets worse (or better depending on your company) and new friendships are forged. 

Inevitably, at some point during a wedding you can’t help but get captured – or capture someone else – and mid conversation ask that vital question. 

“So, what do you do?”

Translated, this means …

“Who exactly ARE you? Define yourself now!”

Thanks to the current flash flood of weddings, I have answered this question a number of times. I’ve said things like …

“Well I was doing this ……. and now I’m doing this …….”

“I am an artist and writer.”

“I am in the midst of setting up a transformational training company.”

“I am a presenter/public speaker/workshop facilitator.”

 “I work in schools.”

During one of my later conversations I added, “But what I really love is this book I make. It’s called Grow Your Own Gorgeousness.”

When I said this the person I was talking to nodded with feigned interest. She smiled sweetly. “Oh, that’s a nice hobby.”

A hobby.

A HOBBY?

Aren’t hobbies those insignificant, nondescript activities that we do to bring us mild enjoyment … like French knitting? Or chess? Or cross stitch?

There was a moment of tension as I stared at the poor woman. I swallowed, trying to resist this strange temptation to grab the front of her blouse and declare “Lady! This isn’t a hobby. This is my passion!”

And this is when I really got the Define Yourself conversation. You see, we are not about what we do. We are not our job title, our pay packet, our day to day activities.

We are about what we love.

Our passions and our loves are what sculpt our lives, fuel us up, give us the fire we need to become trail brazers throughout the world. How often is a job really a passion? How often does our job serve as a means to lift our passion to a higher level, enabling us to achieve it?

My dad was a head teacher but his passion was his part time homeopathy practise. I once knew a man who owned a training company, yet his passion was creating reconciliation retreats for people who were at odds with each other and had come to the end of all other options.  

Define Yourself Exercise

1. Imagine you are in a bar buying a drink. You get chatting to someone at the bar and they ask you, “What do you do?” Answer in the way that you have always answered. Define yourself as if you would on any normal day. Grab a pen and write down your answers.

2. Now close your eyes, relax your body and take some deep, flowing breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this again and again until you feel yourself becoming centred within your body. Now imagine a pure white light flowing down. It comes in through the top of your head and melts down through your body. It fills every cell, every finger, every corner of your physical, emotional and spiritual self. Feel the love that this light is. Feel the peace, joy and happiness at being the wonderful being you are.

3. Finally imagine yourself in a bar buying a drink once again. You get chatting to the person next to you and just like before they ask what you do.

Tell them.

Have your answers have changed? I’d love to hear what they are …

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4 thoughts on “So, what do you do?

  1. Ah the H- word!! This is why I don’t like to go to wedding, whenever I get this question and give my answer loud & proud, I get the same reaction, “Oh, what a nice hobby! I write too from time to time. But what is your real job?” and when I repeat myself, saying that writing is NOT my hobby but my ‘real’ job, my passion I get this long, awkward pause and this weird stare which is usually followed by a change of topic 🙂
    “”Lady! This isn’t a hobby. This is my passion!”
    I think getting this tattooed on our foreheads might be an effective solution Bethan 😉

  2. Funny but whenever I say I am a writer, no one has ever said the H word. Not ever.
    I do get asked how much I make though, which is far ruder and harder to answer…..
    My favourite thing to answer “What do you do?” is tell people I am a high class courtesan and watch them think what to say next…that’s priceless!

  3. Before I tell you the answers I want to say that I am so fed up with how our society wants to categorise us and define us by what we do, where we live, our social status and a job title that means nothing. It is just another way of sticking labels on us.

    Anyway, my answers to the question of “what do you do” depends on the situation, but my favourite ones (which also gets the finniest reactions) are: “It depends on when you ask me” which results in the person trying to find a comfortable escape from the conversation or sometimes it leads to “what do you do for a living?”
    My favourite answer to that question is: “I breathe!”

    Have fun in Sicily

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