Why is that people in todays society are so inclined to pigeon hole themselves as one thing. Civil Engineer, Dentist, Marketer, Sales Representative, Artist, Rotary JungleFowl Technician etc etc. In my opinion those of us whom are between 30 and 60 have grown up being asked "What do you want to be when your grow up?", "What A levels are you going to do?" "What degree?", "What Job?". We were essentially programmed to believe we can only do one thing at a time. Why is this the case? Why can't I be a Civil Engineer, an Artist, a Writer and a Rotary JungleFowl Technician? Although you and I may have studied and learnt on the job a very specific set of skills we need to learn how to apply these skills to your chosen path, in this case Blogging.
Identify your Current Strengths
Many of you reading this will be contemplating writing a blog or undertaking some other extra curricular adventure. The formative years of your career will have given you a set of skills that can be applied to your blog, you just might not know it. Initially I suggest contemplating your current strengths. If you have worked in the corporate world, you have probably done this in a yearly review, well I'm suggesting doing the same. These skills may be:
- Communication and report writing.
- Managing time and maintaining schedules
- Problem Solving
- Building on relationships
- Working in a team or working in isolation
- Attention to detail
- Big picture
Start brainstorming, make a list, it's just for you so go nuts, there is no boss this time and it won't affect your salary.
Don't Forget your Weaknesses
Even superman has his weaknesses, that's right, he absolutely hates vegemite, and is terrible at filing his paperwork. Take the opportunity to note your weaknesses, use this to identify a plan of action. For instance I am a very poor speler [sic], and my word bank is not the best so I have purchased scrabble and I'm challenging myself to read more.
Make a Plan of Action
Taking your two lists you can now develop a strategy for going forward. if in your previous/current job role you assess problems and identify and recommend solutions then apply this to your next venture. If you are methodical, apply a methodical approach, plan, why not use the skills you have developed.
As a Civil Engineer and Project Manager (please visit my about me page to learn a bit more about me ), I have experience in planning large projects. When my partner and I decided to move to Australia, I approached it as a project, I identified the tasks required and the proposed durations and built a programme. This worked for me, it might not work for everyone.
So I have applied this approach to my blog. I've reviewed my strengths and weaknesses and identified a solution and a plan of action. I'm now into the delivery phase.
Do things your own Way
Don't forget the reasons you are undertaking a new adventure, there may be aspects of your current role or job that you hate. Obviously isolate this and try to rectify it. After all blogging is all about the sharing of information, stories and content, but if you're not enjoying what you do then why do it.
The Next Steps
In any review or project plan there are the next steps. This may be win more work, gain more skills, go for a promotion. Everyone needs a target, the target doesn't have to be big, but it should be measurable. For example - Make the Blog Popular. How can you assess what is popular, how do you know when this is achieved. Therefore assign a value.
For me, my next target is to get 200 unique visits to my blog in a day. This may seem like a small figure to some of you, but believe me it's going to take some hard work.
Break things down into smaller achievements and tick them off as you go.
In the corporate world this is called Key Performance Indicators or KPIs and you either love them or hate them.
Be whoever and Whatever you want to be
I started this post stating that why should we be only one thing. I'd like to finish this with some examples of successful people whom haven't let themselves be pigeon holed.
5 Successful people that won't be pigeon holed
Isimbard Kingdom Brunel - The Engineering Allrounder
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a son of a French Engineer and started his working life as a clockmakers apprentice before becoming arguable the greatest Civil Engineer the world has seen. Brunel transferred his skills from designing and building Tunnels to Bridges (Clifton Suspension Bridge to Buildings (Paddington Station) then to railway to steam engines and then to steamships to cross the Atlantic.
Richard Branson - To Infinity and Beyond??
Entrepreneur, record shop owner, radio station owner, banking, space travel . Love him or hate him the man can not be pigeon holed.
Tom Selleck - From Mustache and Cut Offs to Farmer (presumable still in Cut Offs)
Sex bomb, hearthrob. actor, but what you might not know, is that he runs and operates an avocado farm.
Scroobius Pip - The British Poet with a Million Interests
The wildcard in the list (Just because i am a huge fan). Poet, Spoken Word, Rapper, Podcaster, Author, UFC commentator, Record Label Manager, promotor and comic book nerd. Who knows what he will do next. Check out the distraction pieces podcast for an eclectic and well considered interviews ranging from Russell Brand through to interviews with Asylum Seekers through to Fact Checking not for profit organisations
Jeremy Renner - The Avenger and House Flipper
Mr Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, not only a superhero and spy. But when he isn't fighting bad guys on the silver screen he flips houses playing the real estate gamble.
Now i challenge anyone to find a list as eclectic as that.
Overall just enjoy what you do. Learn from experiences and apply those skills as best you can.
Thanks for Reading,
Love N Stuff
Andy @ DesignUntapped.