Tell me who you are and what you do

This is how I start every interview I do on my show, and it’s turned into something that is universally applicable. It’s a deceptively simple question.

The Persona and the Job

Think about the printer guy, the waitress, the mailman, the cashier. Those are all jobs, not people. When people have a strong and identifiable what you do, people tend to think of you that way. It also applies when you deal with customers. They are “Joe Ferguson” who is a standard customer. Or Mr. Williams from ABC company who orders 2k worth of product on average. But that’s not really helpful. if you knew who they were and not just what they do, you may know that Mr. Williams would actually order 12k worth of product if he could trust you for other products. But you don’t know that because you haven’t gained his additional trust because you don’t care about who he is—even though both of you have a son in boot camp at the same time. Because you didn’t ask.

Ask yourself the same question

Imagine that I am interviewing you and I ask you “Tell us who you are and what you do.” No, this is NOT your elevator speech. Nope. There’s no personality in that because it is intentionally devoid of anything like that because it is supposed to be hard hitting and “to the point.” So how would you answer that? It’s not about your name, but it starts with your name. Go to the bathroom mirror, look into your eyes and ask yourself, “Who are you?”

“Fine, I’ll do it myself.”

– Thanos when he realized he had to go get all the stones himself

OK. So you don’t want to do this right now. But you will have to, because it’s in your brain. I guarantee that you will have to do that because you’re going to think about this until you do it. But to make you feel better I will do it right now. And this is not in the podcast, so if you don’t want to know who I am, then you can skip this and just listen to the recording.

OK Mark, tell me who you are and what you do?

I’m Mark Bradford. I’ve had an interesting life, the last of eight children who grew up literally as an accident, five years after the last kid. It was a very poor upbringing and not at all a happy or healthy childhood. It taught me how not to parent, how not to give up, and how not to close my mind.

I’ve worked as an IT person because I’m very good at that. Fifteen or more years ago I went out on my own as a tech and web development person. I went through an unusual divorce and ended up dealing with that, my children’s sanity, and trying to stay in business. I ended up with them full time. In taking them to a psychologist to make sure they were OK, it was brought to my attention in no uncertain terms that I was doing a wonderful job for them, but doing absolutely nothing for me.

Balance. That’s when balance hit me like a cartoon piano. So I founded Alchemy for Life, figured out what life was made of, and that’s where Time, Energy and Resources™ came from. I went out to create a coaching system (both as a procedural system and literally a programmatic system on line (remember: web developer). I then built a dating site after being put through the scammy wringer of online dating (you did know that match, Chemistry, Tinder and 18+ others are all owned by the same company?). I then wrote two books and a card game about how we all connect, one about spirituality and then finally one about the whole Alchemy for Life concept. I started a podcast because I wanted to explore this, and was absolutely obsessive about how anyone and everyone spends their time, energy and resources (seriously, how much time to you screw around at work? Do you always have lunch? Do you watch four hours of TV? Do you really work out seven days a week? How much time is spent in meetings talking about the things you are going to do instead of just doing them? How much ‘me’ time to you get?

Alchemy for Life: Formulas for Success is essentially a life coach in a book for 25 bucks.

Then I took a walk in a cemetery and heard voices*, and wrote an epic duet.

So, I’m a technical person, an author, a podcast host and someone who deeply enjoys exploring new things and ideas. And I’m single. That’s important because that’s part of my current existence. It affects what I do, and how I look at life.

My technical business is called Bradford Web, my dating site is called Only a Glance, my coaching system (and podcast) is called Alchemy for Life™, my books (and card game) on relationships are called The Status Game™ and my recent epic duet is called The Sword and the Sunflower.

That’s who I am and what I do. As you can see the two are very intermingled and thread back and forth up each other. That’s just me. Or maybe that’s how you are? There’s no wrong way to do it. You may work at a pharmaceutical company 10 hours a day, and then just read. Or maybe you are an artist who is a waitress to pay the bills. Or maybe you are a CEO who really doesn’t think much about fun other than the vacation your spouse forces you to go on every year, or maybe you are single and miserable and that is all you define yourself as right now.

If reading that made you uncomfortable, then we are in it together, because it made me uncomfortable to tell you all that. But that’s who I am. So if I can do it, so can you. So go look into the eyes of the most important person in your life, and say “This is who I am.”

*No, not those kind of voices.