« Back to Blog

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Posted August 9, 2017

Why do you do what you do? is a very different question than the most often asked question in day-to-day life, whether in a social setting or the marketplace: What do you do? The latter is a fair question and a reliable conversation starter, one that people are used to answering in a cursory fashion, unless they happen to be unemployed or hate their work, in which case they usually dread the question. People who actually love their work tend to answer the question in a noticeably different and interesting way.

Why do you do what you do? is an important question in career coaching and life coaching. I’m not suggesting that you go around asking other people why they do what they do. They would probably think you were challenging them or implying something negative. What I am suggesting, though, is that you ask this question of yourself, and see where it takes you. Be gentle, curious, open-minded, and compassionate toward yourself. You could find out some very interesting things. Maybe you are more committed to your work than you thought; maybe you haven’t been paying attention to the meaning you could derive from your work; maybe your mindlessness can be transformed into mindfulness. Work that is performed in an unconscious manner, no matter what it is, becomes a meaningless paycheck.

A friend recently attended a non-profit board retreat and was asked a similar question regarding his board participation: Why did you decide to volunteer for this organization? Participants were asked to reflect for a few minutes before writing down their thoughts and before answering the question aloud. (I refer to this as “reflect and capture”, meaning, “Get your thoughts out of your head, into your heart, and onto the paper.”) The answers when shared aloud to the whole group were surprisingly moving and inspirational. As each person shared their story, the group sensed a deeper sense of purpose in their shared commitment. By stopping to reflect and capture their thinking about meaning and purpose, mindlessness was transformed into mindfulness, and their shared commitment became a new thing. That would be the point of a retreat, I imagine, to renew.

In my work, by the end of a series of career/life coaching sessions, I want all of my clients to know why they are doing what they are doing and be able to explain it effectively to other people, whether a husband, a wife, a partner, a relative, a friend, or a potential employer.  What we aim for, and what is most powerful and effective, is the authentic story, the authentic narrative; it begins to emerge all by itself as we dive in and do the work of reflecting and capturing your thinking on several Big Questions you may not have been asking yourself.

I know you have the answers within you. I just help you to hear them and follow them into the future you want. This is what career/life coaching is all about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our monthly Bell e-News.

To get the latest news and updates from us, please fill out the form and click "Subscribe" to receive our e-newsletter.

Market Analysis

White paper feature image
Best Quarter for U.S. Stocks Since 2009
April 5, 2019 The breadth of the U.S. stock market gain in the first quarter of 2019 caused all sectors of the …Read More

Video

video feature image
Flexibility Moves the Market Upwards
April 8, 2019 The U.S. stock market is celebrating its best start to a new year since 1987. Join Bell Investment …Read More

Publication

bellinvest publicaion
Middle Retirement Planning
April 17, 2019 If you read financial planning textbooks, you might be left with the impression that people report …Read More

Latest News

Schwab Phishing Attempt Reported

Bell received notification from our custodian, Charles Schwab, of a text message-based phishing attempt imitating Schwab. The phishing attempt appears to have been sent to a random set of phone numbers, not necessarily clients of Schwab or Bell Investment Advisors. The phishing attempt was conveyed through text messages appearing to come from Schwab, but in …Read More

Latest Tweet

Connect With Us

bellinvest 20 year