I travel with my husband, Phil Cooke who speaks to large and diverse groups regularly. Whenever I accompany him, and I am not speaking or teaching myself, I am enviably asked, “and…what do you do?” I know most inquirers are just curious but sometimes it’s the tone of the question that raises the hair on the back of my head. Most of the time I jokingly say, “I make sure my husband stays out of jail” or “what hour of the day are you referring to?”
For most women this question hits directly on their self worth. It doesn’t matter if you’re a women climbing the ladder in your career, changing directions, or are indeed achieving wonderful accomplishments, it hits a significant nerve and can feel demeaning.
So how do you handle this question?
1) Use grace and understand that most of the time it’s a question of curiosity so don’t get defensive. See this question as a time to practice your “elevator pitch” – that 2-3 minute concise monologue of passionate facts, goals and yes… achievements.
2) Have an intelligent answer. The question is going to be asked so be prepared. Keep redefining, reassessing, and freshening your answer as your goals change and grow so that your answer is interesting and compelling.
3) Finally, win friends and influence people by being witty. I often wish I could think fast on my feet. I am married to a man who does this flawlessly but it’s not my strength, I usually think of a great answer 5 minutes later. Consequently, I try and think ahead and prepare witty answers to predictable questions and keep them fun and spontaneous in their delivery.
So… what do you do?
I do the same thing, lol (“I usually think of a great answer 5 minutes later”). Tuesday Kevin taught a cartooning class for Winsor McCay day (he’s the father of animation in America), and as I sat in the back of the class, all I could think was how shy I was to even look at him, didn’t even feel good enough to be around him, though I’m his wife, lol! – Kristen Collier
Kristen – thanks for your input! I do think guys handle this question and intimidating situations much better than women in many times. But if we can get past the intimidation and know that we are always still growing, learning, and there is no way we can EVER know it all and that’s ok…. we will come out on top overtime!
It’s funny, Kev was teasing me last night about being a better author than me, lol, and I was like, I DON’T CARE–my identity has NEVER been about me as an author, I could care LESS. My dream was to be an Olympic dressage rider (the pic is of me and Calais at Erie, MANY yrs ago), so the whole writing thing, yes, I try to do it to the best of my ability, but it was never my dream, I just got into it when God downloaded a book into my head overnight. I remember when we were first married thinking it’s good that it’s NOT my dream, because so many of the authors we knew, if they were married to him, would have been jealous of his talent (because who writes their first book in 22 evenings and it’s called “a masterpiece of communication”?! Only someone who’s been inspired by God.). So, it’s good that it was never my dream, or I would have been jealous, lol!!