“Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? This is a picture of a person I don’t know. What does he want from me? What should I try to be?” Lyrics from “A Chorus Line.” This play is about all of us who are vying for a position in the chorus line of life, as are 100s and 100os of others; how do we stand out above our competition? Why you? What makes you unique?
I once interviewed for a position through the Rotary Club as a non-Rotarian to go overseas for four weeks as an Embassador to help on a Rotarian project. I really wanted to go. The first question that the panel asked was, “Why you?” They didn’t ask about my resume, my background, my experience, they asked about Dee. I was speechless. I hadn’t planned on a personal question, a question that would give them more information about who I really am instead of what was on paper in front of them. Did I get the position? You can probably answer…no. The question gave me pause for a few weeks, but I realized if I didn’t know, who else could answer the question, “Why you?”
When I begin most of my training sessions I get the participants to stand and tell the others in their small groups something about themselves that’s not on their resume. What’s their passion? What makes them smile every time they get involved with it? Some people have a difficult time with the question, as I did those 25 years ago. Are you your resume? Who’s the person outside those black and white characters on the page(s)?
At networking events most of the time when we first meet someone the second question after “What’s your name?” is, “What do you do?” I now ask, “What’s your passion?” and that stumps them. What is your passion? What really makes you eager to start the day, energizes you and helps make the world go around? It could be your work, paid or volunteer, or after-hours coaching children’s sports, or scrap-booking, or political or community work. What makes your heart soar? When you can really be the real you, have your authentic self come through in everything that you do, then the world smiles.
Maybe your parents are lawyers and want you to be part of their law firm, or dentists and want you to take over the practice, or own this or that and know you’re the next generation to take the business to the next level, yet…you want more than anything to be an artist, to join Cirque du Soleil, to devote your life to a special non-profit instead. It’s not about what “they” want you to do, not about “What should I try to be.” No, it’s about what your heart says. When you heart is into the project, your head follows.
Why “try to be” something that you’ll never be? Why “try to be” someone you aren’t? It will play havoc with you until you toss those try-to-be robes and dress in authenticity and passion. It may be hard, and you may not make the money you’re now making, but it will bring rewards far more valuable than money.
Write down your passion on the “objective” part of your resume and see how many people actually invite in for the interview because you were honest and authentic. The company that hires you is the company that will be a good partner for you and your talents.
Who are you anyway?