Saturday, June 08, 2013

Punch Windows In The Walls Of The Self

"Careers are things you can only look at in reverse." Who would want to work one job their whole life anyway? By the time my generation has grandkids, we'll look back at our careers and see a plethora of jobs, occupations, work trajectories and professional experiences. But here's my hunch. As diversified as our careers become, as powerful as technology gets, and as evolved as our identities become, we're still going to be the same. Whoever we were at age five, remnants of that same kindergartner will always manifest. Inspired by an video interview with Mitch Joel.

"The privilege of having yourself as a client." Every artist needs to save something just for themselves. Some expression, some output, some passion––unencumbered by the pressures of quality and audience and commerce––that we can do whatever we want with. For me, it's songwriting. That's the one place where I don't have to answer to anybody, I can be whoever I want, do whatever I want and never have to worry about any yeah-buts nipping at my heels. Very healthy.

"Punch windows in the walls of the self." Love this interview with Anne Carson about artistic identity. Years ago, my mom coined a term for this––living larger than your labels. Literally and figuratively. It's a reminder that we don't have to brand ourselves into a corner. We can tell our minds that there are other things, other outlets, other mediums, other pursuits and other passions. Between you, me and the Internet, I never thought I'd work for someone else. But sure enough, here I am. A bona fide employee. And I couldn't be happier. And it's only because I called bullshit on my beliefs and gave myself permission diversify my identity.

"I felt like I got through a door just as it was closing." I know that feeling too well. Part the reason I left the world of publishing, consulting and public speaking is because of the state of the state. I didn't like what the industry had become or where the industry was going. Too saturated, to incestuous, too systemized. Too many experts, too many mediocre books and too many amateurs playing dress-up at pointless networking events. So I left. And in the year that I've been gone, I've never looked back. Inspired by an interview with Hunter S. Thompson.

"Ditch the pitch and start an energy exchange." It's all about infection. Transferring the passion and excitement and meaningfulness to the other people in the room. That trumps everything. The theater of presenting the idea is just as important as the idea itself. We have to gift happiness as part of the sales process, otherwise the client will never buy. Inspired by a research report on memes.