When people used to ask me what do you, I used to answer: “I’m just a writer.”
People who knew me used to scold me, saying I did much more than that.
To be sure, the output would change; sometimes I’d write articles, at others video scripts, then essays, training programs, speeches, reports and so on.
The primary task, however, remained thinking and writing.
I began to realise what I did was far less intriguing than why I did it. After all, to paraphrase Nietzsche, we can endure anything, as long as we know why.
To guide my thinking about why I found being able to answer the following five questions helpful:
1. Who you are.
2. What you do.
3. Whom you do it for.
4. What they need.
5. How they change.
Notice that only two of the five questions are about you; the other three are about your effect on other people.
So, in my case
1. Who I am: Rod.
2. What I do: Write and teach.
3. For whom I do it: People working in the security domain, notably young people.
4. What they need: Education in thinking and communication.
5. How they change: They become more effective security people through clearer thinking and more effective communication skills.
Ask me now: “What do you do?”
My answer becomes: “I endeavour to improve security through education, focusing on helping security people become better at thinking and communicating.”
My answer invariably leads to a lot more questions, now, rather than the usual comments about always having wanted to be a writer.
So, what do you do?