Know what I like? Writing.
I liked it in high school. As in, I was that kid that was laughing to himself during the english final, because he was having so much fun coming up with an essay topic.
Then I went to college, and had a prof who was so ruthless that she completely took the joy out of it for me. For a decade. Grammar. Syntax. Verb tense. When you're smart, you're not allowed to play fast and loose with language. You have to write like a smart person. I agree with this to an extent. You lose people if you distract them with bad grammar. But you also lose them if you lose the forest for the trees.
So I started blogging. My english prof will never read it. But if she does, she might bristle when I start a sentence with "but". But (hah - twice in a row) she'd probably get over it. Her job was to teach me how to write papers, not blogs. But (3) blogs are all about finding your personal voice. I get to make the rules. Cause really, I don't know if anyone's going to read this. I just write it the way I think it. And if you find it interesting... weird.
So, thanks, blog, for helping me find my voice back and enjoy writing.
And that's kind of the point. If you're trying to develop yourself, personally or professionally, it might be a good idea to figure out what you enjoy. And then work on it.
So many of us detach our work from our strength. Your job is to swing a hammer. To punch keys on a calculator or keyboard. To sell widgets. Our job is so rigidly defined that there's no room for us to develop with in it.
I had a cool conversation with a friend this past week. One of the things I came away with was the fact that it is never a bad thing to strengthen your strengths. If I have a way of communicating that people respond to, it's probably a really good idea for me to develop that.
Does it make sense that you are becoming the best version of yourself when you practice the things you're naturally built for?
I have a long back and short legs. I'm like a human daschund. If I wanted to become a sprinter, I'd have a natural disadvantage, regardless of how much training I did. Usain Bolt's legs are twice the length of mine (I made that up, but it feels true). But maybe I'd have made a heck of a greco-roman wrestler, or cyclist. Or circus clown.
Spend a little time figuring out what you're like. What your skills are. Interact with new people, and figure out what sets you apart from other people you encounter. What do YOU do that people really respond to? The more you do those things, the more you tease out your unique skills and attributes to the surface. And when you have a strong sense of yourself, and what skills you can offer to the world, the more your purpose will become clear.
Purpose is like a GPS connection. A plane is off course 99% of the time it's in the air. But it knows its destination so well that it can make a million tiny corrections, and get there almost as though it had been going in a straight line the whole time.
In the same way, if you know your strengths, your purpose, your best explanation for being right where you ended up, your daily tasks and your job will all reorganize under a new context. Each decision you make becomes a tiny calculation slightly closer to your purpose.
But if you never strengthen your strengths, how would you know which direction to grow toward? To make decisions toward?
Perhaps storytelling and idea communication isn't the most important skill in my current job. But as a person, if it's something I'm skilled at, why wouldn't I want to hone that? Having those strengths means that I will find opportunities to use them. Opportunities that will leave me feeling fulfilled and purposeful. If I hadn't practiced, perhaps people wouldn't know to refer me, or make me aware of the opportunity.
Few things are more rewarding than doing something you love, that you know you're good at, that benefits others.
And the rest of us are going to find you a LOT more interesting when we meet you, and you are SO good at, and SO passionate about what it is that you're doing.
What skills are laying dormant in YOU?