Don’t be Boring When You Talk About Yourself

You’re at a conference and someone asks, “What do you do?” What they really mean is, “Who’s the big dog?”

Reject the need to impress. Ignite imagination, instead.

explain your passion not your job


  1. I’m VP of …
  2. I’m Director of…
  3. I’m the new …

When someone asks what you do, don’t tell them!

  1. Don’t try to impress.
  2. Don’t give job titles.
  3. Don’t explain job responsibilities.

Explain your passion, not your job.

Passion statements:

I feel awkward when I talk about what I do, but energized when I share my passion.

  1. I save lives in the emergency room. “I’m a doctor,” is boring. “I save lives,” is passionate.
  2. I develop talent and strengthen teams.
  3. I analyze businesses and help them develop new products.
  4. I enable our sales team to serve customers.
  5. I strengthen team relationships with technology.
  6. I create efficiency where there is waste.
  7. I inspire leaders.
  8. I create jobs for disenfranchised workers.
  9. I protect children.
  10. I help people find financial independence.
  11. I protect people from danger.
  12. I help teams and organizations get unstuck.

Tell a story:

My first grade teacher made me feel like I really mattered. Today, my passion is helping people believe they can make a difference.

Passion statement tips:

  1. Say something that touches your heart.
  2. Remember why you chose your field in the first place.
  3. Think about benefits, not the work itself.
  4. How are you making the world better?
  5. What are your best hopes for the impact of your life?

Bonus: How do you want people talking about you at your funeral? How are they talking about you now?

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

How might leaders develop passion statements?

How might leaders help others develop passion statements?

*Thank you Larry Putterman. Our conversation about passion inspired this post.