what do you do

A Better Way to Answer the Question “What Do You Do?”

Rob Anspach wrote a short blog article entitled “Just 6 Words to Create Curiosity” which, as you might expect, worked perfectly at baiting my own curiosity to try to guess what those six words were.


Mentally, I started brainstorming:  guess, info, what, why, only, never, ?

I thought that I would have at least one or two of them correct.  But, after clicking the article, the first thing that came up was a big black box with 6 white words written in it.

I have something to tell you.

Ah..like a magic trick revealed!

I immediately thought:  Okay, I can memorize that phrase as the answer to the question. It’s not 6 distinct words, but a sentence made up of six words.  You got me, Rob Anspach!

But, in his copywriting genius, he goes on to reveal the true nature of his article which is about replacing your typical elevator pitch (that’s the 30 second response you give to people when they ask you what you do for a living) with ANY six words that will peak their curiosity to learn more about what you do.

He gave some examples.  But basically, start with the word “I” and follow up with what.

It’s harder than it sounds.

Of course, I immediately got curious about what six words describe what I do. First, I’m thinking about who I am.

I’m a social worker and a play therapist.  I’m a mom with young children. I’m a military spouse.  

What I do is harder:

I write articles about play therapy and parenting. I teach other therapists about play therapy. I sell play therapy courses that you can complete online. I help people cope with their challenging lives. I help parents cope with the challenges of parenting.

But, in the end, what I came up with is:

I help people get stuff done.

The next question, according to Rob Anspanch, is another 6 word zinger:

“Want me to tell you how?”

Well,  I provide play therapy supervision, training and a networking community.  I help seasoned therapists bring their content online so that they can focus on creating content without the hassle of the rest of the things that slow them down.  I help parents figure out how to have more meaningful time with their kids through play and joyful experiences. I take big projects or problems and break them down into manageable steps and then hold people accountable to those plans.

I do all sorts of things, really.

But, the thing that I am known for and the thing that I am best at, really is that:

I help people get things done by: 

  • Untangling the things that they think are too hard to tackle.
  • Supporting ideas that they think are a little too crazy.  
  • Encouraging people to try things that haven’t been done before.  
  • Holding people accountable to the things that they thought they’d never finish. 

I ask people what they are hoping to achieve, what inspires them, and what scares them.  We discuss their favorite things and their least favorite things. I encourage them to go places and try things with me.  I ask them to be brave and to experiment and to take risks.

By asking questions and staying very curious about the answers, I help people get stuff done.  

What is on your “I’ve always wanted to do that list?”

What is holding you back from achieving your dreams?

How can we break that down into smaller steps that are more manageable?

What obstacles do you see?  How does that resonate with you as you think about it? 

If you are a mental health clinician and especially if you are in private practice, you need to be keenly aware of what you really do for people? What are your superpowers and how can you use them to get people more curious about you? 

So take some time to think about it and let me know -what six words describe what you do?

If you want to follow along with ways that I incorporate play therapy techniques and theories into my mental health services, please subscribe to the mailing list.

About the Author Jen Taylor

Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at info@jentaylorplaytherapy.com

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