Wednesday 1 May 2013

What do you do?

Over the last ten years the answer to the question "what do you do" has changed as I've tried to make sense of what I do. The challenge has been to ensure that I stay connected to doing what I'm good at and also what I enjoy doing too.

Here's a flavour of the journey:

1.  Manufacturing direct purchasing
2.  Manufacturing indirect purchasing
3.  Purchasing management of a small team for indirect categories
4.  Purchasing management for a public sector organisation
5.  Category manager for indirect categories for larger organisation

And here's where it got interesting:

6.  Personal development manager
7.  Communication manager
8.  Team coach
9.  Problem solver
10. Facilitator
Then I started working for myself and forgot 6-10 and concentrated on procurement training and coaching (1-5). After all - the phone always rang about that and that paid the mortgage.
Yet that quiet voice within wasn't so quiet. 5-10 were now key to what I did, key to my well being, and key to getting into my flow and yet I'd hidden them away out of sight and mind. Every now and again they were allowed out of the box. At times I've even thought they were the answer in their own right and set off to:
11. Be a life coach
12. Help others find passion in life
13. Landscape your life
14. Be a paddle finder (for when you're up a creek without one)
They all got a look in. Yet they excluded purchasing and business so were no more complete than the procurement best practice work I did. When I thought they were the answer flow certainly stopped, along with the phone calls.
Last year the idea of the purchasing coach formed and that felt like at last I was bringing everything I was passionate, good at and enjoyed together (1-10). It was only then that flow started - when opportunities appeared that ticked all the boxes and I had more work than I knew what to do with.
With all the constant doing I didn't hear that quiet voice within reminding me I still had more to contribute. That what I did was still not complete. This last week I've reconnected with an old friend landscaping your life, a process I developed 13 years ago. This reminded me of the final (for now at least) pieces of the jigsaw that enable the answer to "what do you do" to be one that fully utilises all of my skills and all of my passion because I'm using my:
15. Creativity
16. Intuition
17. Off the wallness,
18. Laughter and
19. Alisonyness
Isn't that what this journey has been about? Realising that the answer to what I do is "offer all of who I am, all my skills and passions, to help make business, and purchasing in particular, a force for good in the world. I realise its not been about me trying to determine which of the skills has most worth to business, or hiding some I think others may judge as 'weird' or worrying people might find my laugh too loud :-). It's standing in front of someone who has asked what I do and knowing it's every part of who I am that needs to be considered. It's then up to both of us to determine if I'm the right fit for them and their team and which of my skills are most appropriate for the challenge in hand.
What aspects of yourself are you hiding away or denying. How would it be different if you embraced all of who you are and realised that is all anyone needs from you.
Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach

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