I recently developed a brief answer to the question “what do you do?” after watching a 2013 TEDx Talk on “How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 minutes” by Adam Leipzig. He called it a personal rather than business version of “an elevator pitch”. (NOTE: When you’re trying to raise venture capital or make a big sale in business, the elevator pitch is the quick summary you can deliver to a prospective funder or client in the time it takes for the elevator to reach your floor.)
Want to come up with your own personal elevator pitch too? Get a piece of paper and then watch Adam’s TEDx talk. His talk isn’t perfect and the process felt kind of forced and dorky — but I went along and did what he asked us to do, including answering out loud. I think I was willing to do so because he started by talking about his 25th college reunion, how unhappy most people were, and how the happy ones differed from the unhappy ones. And then the actual exercise was surprisingly meaningful and very quick.
Afterwards, Adam pointed out an important feature of the kind of answer he had us design: it makes most listeners want to ask a follow up question: “HOW do you do that?” And then there is an opportunity for a real conversation.
Here’s my answer to the question about what I do (as of spring 2016):
“Because of what I do, people feel inspired to make changes for the better — and because they also feel more willing, prepared, and confident, they actually start doing things in a new way.”
So now, are you curious HOW and WHERE and WHEN I do that?
Doing this exercise was really satisfying. I keep a copy of my answer handy. That single sentence has made me feel clearer and calmer inside about the unusual commitments and drive, talents, and unearned gifts with which I was endowed by my maker (thank you God or random chance). I can feel deep in my bones how much I love serving as a channel through which the new energy that creates better outcomes is released. Sometimes I think of myself as a “midwife for possibility”.