Daily Archives: July 6, 2010

Why? A Tangent Worth Taking

Sometimes I like to wander off the beaten path… Today is one of those days.

Whenever we meet someone new, it seems the same question comes up… “What do you do for a living?”

What.

“What ARE you?” they want to know.

People may be hoping to connect with us by asking this question, but the question itself is really only suited to gathering surface information.

Once we answer with “I’m a —“, we instantly become a rigid quantity.

A category in someone’s iPhone address program.

A widget.

(Yuck.)

But what if we don’t allow ourselves to get bogged down in the ‘What’?

What if we mentally shift past What to Why?

Sure, I work as a dialect consultant, you work as an actor, a director, a producer, an agent. But those work titles don’t even begin to scratch the surface of who we really are or how we aim to impact the world, do they?

We each have our own core beliefs and motivations that have led us to choose the actions and activities we have pursued. Sharing with people how the things we personally believe in are related to what we have chosen to do for a living allows us a real opportunity to connect with others on a truly human level.

By including the Why, we are suddenly no longer ‘an actor’ ‘an agent’ ‘a dialect consultant.’

We are a particular person with a specific world view who happens to work as an actor, an agent or a dialect consultant.

This happens because people are programmed to connect with other people and their ideas, rather than with job titles.

So—

Why are you an actor?

Why are you a casting director?

Beyond monetary gain, what got you interested in your job in the first place and what is keeping you there?

What is it that you believe about life and the world that you are able to manifest or practice via your career?

And… what if next time someone asks what you do for a living, you include a good dose of Why in your answer?

To close today, I offer you two videos–

The first is of voice coach Patsy Rodenberg speaking about why she does theater. If you’ve not seen this yet (and even if you have), I heartily recommend it. (I also heartily recommend Patsy.)

The second is my very favorite vintage Sesame Street animated short. By now, you already know I’m a dialect consultant, but you may not know any of my Whys. One of my Whys is that I believe that the greatest opportunity I have as a human being while on planet Earth is that of personal growth. In my experience, nothing helps you grow like a nice shift of perspective…

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