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Hi, I'mKevin Shoffner

What do you do?

Over the course of the last twenty years, I’ve asked myself and seen so many of my friends and family ask “what should I do with my life/career?” For some, they seem born with their purpose, while others it takes much more time. What do you do?

When someone asks

What do you do?

do you find yourself stumbling to answer? Not because you don’t know, but because you’re afraid to own it?

We’re afraid of owning the role(s) we’ve created for ourselves. I’m not talking about what your job description upstairs assigns you, but instead, one’s we proclaim for ourselves.

Entrepreneur. Writer. Musician. Photographer. Programmer. Comedian. Parent. Sibling. Spouse.

I struggled with this early in my teenage years because I went between being a secret agent, backup singer, farmer (due to a highly influential family member), or shrimp boat captain (for a much lesser reason of Forest Gump). The secret agent gig didn’t pan out (or you won’t ever know if it did), farming was a passing phase after cleaning chicken coops and sterilizing Angus bulls. Shrimping would have got me on the ocean much more, but I love eating shrimp too much that it could have been a hazard to my health.

Today, I still struggle between what to say – Developer, Designer, Father, Entrepreneur. Whenever I say anything about the web, most people just gloss over with that “oh boy, another geek talking about some new social media thing” face. If I start off that I am a father in the wrong company there is that “great you are going to talk on and on about your kids and show me a bunch of pictures of your baby” look.

Most days, I am quite certain what I am NOT, but having just one definition for “what I do” seems to hard to define some times.

I believe some of this hesitation to confidently declare who we are and what we do comes from being young and the feeling of being inexperienced. It can also comes from feeling too old and afraid to make a shift in career. It comes from people telling us that we’re just kidding ourselves. It comes from feeling like we can’t possibly keep up with all the awesomeness happening around us.

But as is with anything, practice makes perfect.
No matter who you are or what you do.

So go and declare who you are to a family member, spouse, or friend, your dog. Don’t put this step off. By getting it out in the open, you are obligating yourself to push forward with your declaration. Start building your pose of supporters and believers with the people that matter most in your life. Don’t put this off, because you will continue to find excuses.

Then, stick to your guns and own it. When people ask, tell them. Reach out to your community, church, Twitter followers, social groups, or a complete stranger you meet at the grocery store.

So stop procrastinating and convincing yourself from simply believing you are something/somebody to owning and doing it – and living it.

Will you help build a path, a solid foundation, or walls to the special people in your life?

So – 
What do you do?

1 comment
  • cooldeb | October 13, 2013

    excellent post Kevin. I’ll share my perspective, even though it will be marketing (read geek like you) based.
    Personally, I’ve identified my passions in the marketing communication sphere to define who I am: marketer, strategist, socialnista and data nerd. Marcom is so broadly defined these days; I wanted to claim my own strengths and then build them up. Professionally, you hit a topical nail on the head. It seems companies talk about who they are not rather than who they are. I’m advocating for the latter and inviting all to stand firmly in that trench and own the identity. #dsba

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