It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, it only matters who you are!
This is a common enough phrase but let’s examine it more closely. So many of us get caught up in being validated by other people’s opinions that we often ignore potential professions because they might not be “good enough.”
What is good enough? Is it a particular title or salary or is it a deep satisfaction with who you are and what you do? How often do you judge people by what they do and thus limit yourself to potential dream job opportunities and prevent yourself from accepting them for who they are?
I have a friend who owns a multi-million dollar business. He made the business so successful purely by just being himself and how he interacts with every person he meets. He is truly one of the most endearing, genuine, and emotionally sensitive people you could ever meet. When you speak with him, he gives you unspoken permission to truly be yourself with all of your emotions, feelings and sensitive qualities.
I have seen him interact with people for only 10 minutes and these people wind up sharing their life stories with him even though they’ve just met him. Once he was on an airplane and struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to him. This man was a pilot from another airline and was, at first glance, a stereotypical “macho tough guy” who was certainly not the emotional type. My friend began speaking with him and by the end of the flight, the pilot was not only sharing parts of his life he had never shared before, but was actually crying in my friend’s arms!
I’ve spent many weekends and days with him and I am always astonished how deeply people are touched by him because he sees all of who they are. Almost every person who meets my friend actually experiences their true selves by his seeing who they are and all that they most want to be. What a gift to give yourself and others!
I hope after sharing this that you want to meet this wonderful man and want to know what he does. He’s not a therapist, nor corporate mogul? Is he a salesman? No, my friend is a pool cleaner.
How much would you have wanted to meet this multi-millionaire had I told you his profession at the beginning? Being a pool cleaner isn’t a validated profession in many people’s eyes and most of us would have even gone so far as to refer to him as “only” a pool cleaner.
When I talk to my clients who come to me because they want to find a career coach, I can see how judgment can get in the way of effectiveness. Now let’s look at a real-world consequence of looking down on someone just because of what they do. During the air traffic controllers strike of the 1980’s Terry Paulson, author of the book They Shoot Managers, Don’t They watched an irate executive belittle a baggage handler that was supposedly moving a little bit too slowly. When Paulson tried to extend his sympathy, the baggage handler immediately shrugged off the incident, saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve gotten even.”
After a brief pause, Paulson, “What do you mean.” The baggage boy said with a smile on his face, “He’s going to Chicago, but his luggage is going to Japan.”
When clients find a career coach, they mistakenly believe the coach’s first task is to help them determine what they want to do for a living. On the contrary, the focus should be on determining who you are. With that in mind, I’d like to ask everyone reading this to do the following:
- When you meet people, be concerned with who “they” are and not what “they” do.
- Realize YOU have a powerful influence on how you treat everyone you meet.
- Open your eyes to new perspectives: it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, it only matters who you are! Accept others for who they are.
- Allow the person you are speaking with to come alive by realizing how incredible they truly are.
- Be the first one to share your emotions and feelings with others!
- Allow all of yourself to come forward so you can shine your own light on others.
- Bring your authentic self to each and every moment of your life.
Most importantly don’t judge others by what they do. Remember, everyone has a “pool cleaner” or a “baggage handler” inside of them or you might just find out the hard way what the Bible refers to as the “least among you all, the same shall be great.”