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  • Writer's pictureJerremy Alexander Newsome

What Do You Do vs Who are You

What Do You Do vs Who are You 

It's 7:45 a.m. I am not the biggest fan of single digits on the clock. 7:45 a.m. is pretty early for me. (1st world problems I know). 

I was standing in line at Panera Bread in Brentwood, TN. I was considering what breakfast food to get. I usually eat carrots, apples, bananas or nothing at all. The gentleman besides me asks The Question. You know exactly what question I'm referring to. It's usually the second or third question in a conversation between strangers. 

"So, what do you do"?. I answered him, of course, all the while my brain began some wild magical internal process. You know, my "inside voice". Apparently it's called thinking. I rarely experience this feeling before 10 in the morning. I walked up to the counter and ordered the Chicken Tortellini Alfredo. The gal behind the counter asked "Would you like chicken with that"? I paused for two to three seconds and said, "Yes". 

She is likely not a morning person either. As I began to eat my hearty breakfast, envied by all those stuffing bagels in their mouths, my brain finished its mental conquest and I came to a interesting conclusion that was, indeed, another question.

Why does society base who we are on what we do?

Is it really our jobs that determine what kind of man or woman we are? Now, I understand The Question is often just an ice breaker, a way to end an uncomfortable silence, or a way to strike up a conversation with the hottie at the end of the bar. I've never really given this much thought to such a simple question until recently. 

You see, I answered the guy, "I am a professional day trader". You immediately feel like I am about to sell you something, right? HAHA, relax! No sales pitch here. Just a guy and his thoughts. It's a shame the stock market gets such a bad rap. Is it worse than the reputation of a lawyer? Well, you know, I'm not really sure. Could be an interesting one to look into. What I do know is that everyone knows things about lawyers. Yet investing and trading for a living, a profession that's been around for more than 100 years, is still surrounded by notions of fear, greed, mysticism and gambling. But, I digress...Back to the point of this societal norm. 

I find it fascinating that your status in life, is often times based on your job, income level and what you do from 9 - 5. About that whole 9 thing . . . again . . . not a big fan on the single digits. Sure, when I worked two jobs to pay for my college I had to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to make class and usually went to bed around 1 a.m., but that's because I have grit. I grind! If there's something I want in life I will get it. Simple as that. 

Whoa, are these personality traits? Yep! Sure are! I decided to test my surrounding hypothesis. I was at a friend's house for a small party. One of my buddies' girlfriend walked close to me. I extended my hand and said "Hi, my name is Jerremy." (I have mad game, I know). Approximately 134 seconds later, the conversation was about to come to an end unless I asked The Question

I actually asked her "So, what kind of person are you?" 

Oh, the look on her make up covered face was priceless. 

The look on her face said "Who the heck is this weirdo"? While she stumbled for an answer... "Well, I like cats and reading..." Folks, we have a winner. 

Okay, so I caught her off guard. I get it. Random question, I know.  But is it really? Should it be that random of a question? My belief is throughout our adolescent life and into adulthood, our education system is teaching the creativity out of people. Trust me, this isn't going to turn into an education reform blog or a long-winded speech, but hear me out. 

Anytime a budget cut comes to a school or school district, usually the first things to go are the music and art programs. Kids are being taught to memorize rather than explore, retain rather than innovate, pass rather than learn, and accept rather than yearn.

Mark Twain said "The two greatest days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we find out why". 

How long was it for you before you really knew who you were as a person? What you stood for, what your morals were, who you loved and why, what your fears were and how to approach them? Deep-seeded thoughts for a professional day trader at a Panera Bread, right? 

Well, I do more than trade. I am actually an adult educator, and I see proof of this more and more everyday. Proof that people go their entire lives without knowing who they are. Sure, they know what they do, their field of expertise, their co-workers, the history of their company, but oftentimes, when you begin digging into their core beliefs, dreams, fears, aspirations and relationships, you are left with an exposed and frightened child.You see, I work with money every day. A lot of money. I teach people from all over the world how to do what I do, which is trade the stock market. And when you combine massive losses and gains in a short span of time with the fragile composure of humans who link their very cores to how much money they make and what job they do or do not have, you have an incredible and very explosive environment which shakes souls of humans. It's a beautiful thing!

My encouragement, reader, is this. Go back to when you were six or seven. 

What did you want to do? Now, what are you doing now? Why the discrepancy? When you were six or seven did you dance with reckless abandon, sing with jovial energy, laugh and love with your whole heart and body? 

What changed? Did the social pressure become too much? The desire to fit in? The fear of embarrassment has became overwhelming, hasn't it? Think about that wedding reception you just went to. You just couldn't walk into the middle of the dance floor and dance to your favorite song. You were scared and afraid. You sat there in your seat and probably danced in your head, didn't you? 

The next wedding you go to, notice all of the kids. At some point they will probably be dancing with no alcohol and no shoes and no fear! No embarrassment to speak of, just love and joy in their hearts, because at that time they know who they are and they love it. Friends from around the world, is it money that's truly holding you back from your dreams? Because you can always get more money. It's never our amount of resources, it's our resourcefulness

Ask yourself five times, what do I really want out of life? Your first answer will be good, but then expand it, dig deeper. Ask again four more times. When you get to your fourth answer, take three deep breaths. Then the first thing that comes to mind, write it down.

Then go do it. That's who you are. Don't hold back. Don't let the title, job, or income hold you back. I rarely wake up to an alarm and at the age of 27; I know exactly who I am, why I am here and what I am going to do with this beautiful life. I am not saying this to impress you. I am saying this to impress upon you, anything is still possible even if you are 7,17,or 77. 

If you're seven and you read this whole thing, kudos to you, kid, you are going places.

Know what kind of person you are, know what you want to do, so when I meet you and ask The Question, you'll be eager and zealous to fill my ears with your profound statement. 

Until then!

Jerremy Alexander Newsome CEO - Co-founder of

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