Who Are You and What Do You Do?

by Robin Anderson


Last week as I was flying to South Carolina to meet with a client onsite, I posted an update on my Facebook page that referenced being on an airplane. I received a response asking, “What do you do?” My knee jerk reaction was to write “I work for Pivot Group in Portland as a marketing consultant.”  But as I began thinking about it, I realized that’s not REALLY what I do.

I think as individuals we sometimes forget what we do. Each of us can answer what we do as defined by the company we work for, the job we hold, the job description that is given to us on day one. But is that really “what we do”? Every business out there was started for a reason… at Pivot we call it your “why.”  Your “why” is what resonates with people. It’s where your passion is. In the independent telecom industry, it was farmers getting together, stringing wire, saying, “Hey, we deserve better and we’re going to make it happen ourselves, we care about people and want to stay connected to them.”

You can take this a step further beyond “what do you do” to “who are you?”, another question that will generate an off-the-cuff response that is often tied back to the same answer as “what do you do.”  As I think about that question myself, my first thought is this.

Robin Anderson. Mother to Bridger, Cedar and Dawsyn. Glenn’s wife. Marketing Consultant for Pivot Group. Wrestling club board member. Co-chair of NTCA Marketing Committee. Co-Marketing Director of NDHSRA. Vice President of Home Operations which includes, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, making doctor/dentist appointments, and running around like crazy.

Really? Is that really who I am? And if so, says who? Maybe everyone, I don’t know.  But what I do know is that we need to be careful in defining our lives on all of those titles that we become along the way. They no more explain who we are than wearing a cowboy hat every day makes someone a cowboy.

So back to the original question… What do you do?  This is what I posted to my Facebook page:

I help keep people connected… to share laughs, hear voices of loved ones, watch movies together, shop, play and just plain be entertained… AND… I get to work with the coolest people in the world to do that. It’s a good gig.

And the second question… Who are you? As I think hard about it, this is what I would say:

I’m a 42 year-old woman who loves to be around people and hear them laugh. I’m a dreamer and believe that anything is truly possible and more than likely will actually happen if I believe in it enough. I’m insanely proud of my kids. I’m fiercely loyal to my friends and would do most anything for those close to me. I love to travel. I love big conversations that make you think and may even cause you to think differently. I’m insecure about many things in my life and confident about many others. I make mistakes and believe in second chances. And more than anything, I try to live with no regrets. 

What we do and who we are evolves over time. The important thing is knowing what the answer is. Not the off-the-cuff answer that includes job titles or job descriptions… or in the case of your business, you may name products or services you offer. But what do you really do and who are you? I challenge you to ask yourself that question and be completely honest with your answer. If you don’t know the answer spend some time thinking about it.

In your business, let people know who you are and what your “why” is. One of the corporate giants that understands and gets this well is Apple. They explain it best in this ad.

And for yourself, think about who you are and your personal “why.” It’s something I often struggle with. A good friend reminded me recently that beyond all of those things that we are tied to, exactly who you are, at your core, without anything else… “is enough.” It’s sometimes a tough concept for us to remember as we get so caught up in being everything for everyone else.  Be kind to yourself.  You are enough.

ViewHide Comments(7)

7 Responses

  1. Jeremy Graves says:

    Beautifully written Robin and so spot on. Love the way your mind works and that I get to share the journey with you personally and professionally.

  2. Leslie Kraich says:

    Your article answered many questions today. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nicole Lardy says:

    <3 makes me smile!

  4. Kristin says:

    Robin – Another great read! So very true…I think that getting to our “why” is where we find our greatest gifts.

  5. Jeff Wilson says:

    Robin – thanks for sharing your thoughts. When following your heart, its hard to go wrong.

  6. Allison Brausen says:

    Another thought-provoking post Robin! So many times we try to make ourselves fit into specific labels people can identify with: marketer, mother, wife, but really, we are so much more than that. And it’s important to remind ourselves that the what and the who does evolve, and it’s easier to let it change vs. fight it.

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