"What Do You Do?" - embracing my greatest talents without sacrificing my versatility
“What do you do?”
I live, work and play in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. I couldn’t avoid that question if I tried. It’s more prevalent in my life than illogical traffic patterns, overpriced brunch menus, and sassy group chats.
I’ve never been a fan of surface level conversations with strangers about the things we do to pay our bills, but those conversations can be beneficial to leverage and costly to avoid.
"I’m a go-getter and a risk taker, so I have to make the most of every day, every conversation, and every (potential) opportunity."
Life moves quickly, and being able to give people we meet easy shortcuts to remembering our worth can be the difference between a one time conversation and a gateway to new opportunities.
I’m a go-getter and a risk taker, so I have to make the most of every day, every conversation, and every (potential) opportunity. Being able to categorize my work in ways that are easily palatable to potential clients, partners, and investors is financially beneficial, because it allows them to more easily see how I can be of value to them. At the same time, I don’t like offering up labels and titles that serve as weak substitutes for a conversation that actually reveals elements of who I am as a person. Why expend energy talking to someone who doesn't care to learn anything about you beyond what they could easily find on your LinkedIn profile?
We classify ourselves for the sake of professional prosperity, and sometimes even survival. We hold on to descriptive terms that tell people what we do, but not who we are. Lately, I’ve realized that I tend to resolve the dissonance between “who I am, personally” and “what I do, categorically” by adopting my actions, thought process, and digital footprint to mirror the latter.
"We hold on to descriptive terms that tell people what we do, but not who we are."
That train of thought can bleed over into my actual work process, if I’m not careful. I’m not a neatly pre-packaged “creative” who is the archetypical standard for one particular career path. To approach my creative process with the belief that I'm easily categorizable would create a self-imposed ceiling.
I believe that I am at my best when I embrace all of my interests, and find unique ways to build off of the way that they intersection. I've felt this way for a while, but was hesitant to act on it because it didn't seem like the "experts" agreed with my sentiments. Eventually, I started to find articles from reputable sources that helped me to overcome my doubts.
I became aware of the word “multipotentialite” in 2016. I don't remember where I first read about it, but I know that it’s a term for people with many creative interests and pursuits - people who don’t have one true calling. As I began to do my research, I felt more confident in my own path. I breathed a sigh of relief as I read multiple perspectives affirming my versatility, and realized that I wasn’t necessarily doing things the wrong way.
I’ve never been the guy who has been known for just one thing, and that’s not going to change any time soon. Embracing entrepreneurism has only served to amplify my versatility. I rewrite my "job description" as I continue to learn about myself and the world. My 2018 business plan includes income streams for everything from print books to social media coaching to brunch party tickets.
My versatility doesn’t take away from my belief that I was born to be a writer, before anything else. My mother made sure that I was reading at an extremely early point in my childhood, which led to me being a two time spelling bee champion at Henderson Elementary School in good old Montclair, Virginia. As I matured into an annoying middle schooler with a perfectly sculpted afro and 0% muscle mass, that enthusiasm for reading led to a passion for writing.
To this day, that passion runs deep. Writing is a difficult undertaking for me, because the majority of my writing is personal. It touches on dark memories and forces me to reassess my thought process about every topic that I engage. It resonates with people because I put my heart into it. When I manage to devote the time, energy, and focus necessary to create something worth reading, it’s one of my most satisfying accomplishments.
I’ve been afraid to devote time and energy to writing consistently. I often wonder if it’s a waste of my time. I wonder if it will pay off. I wonder if I’d be better suited spending time creating something that’s tied directly to something that will pay next month’s rent. Yet, I feel a degree of guilt when I don’t write, because I know in my heart that it’s a foundational piece of what I was put on this Earth to accomplish.
"I can’t afford to be indecisive. I’d rather make the wrong choice and learn from it than to stand at a crossroads forever."
I don’t enjoy the process of wrestling with my own thoughts, but dilemmas such as these frequently lead me to a point of indecision and subsequent inaction. I am the President, Founder, and Co-founder of Overthinkers, LLC. I can’t afford to be indecisive. I’d rather make the wrong choice and learn from it than to stand at a crossroads forever.
Here’s the thought process that I’ve chosen to believe about my writing, my unique career path, and the “best” version of me. I know that I have multiple talents. I also know that writing is my strongest talent. Given the nature of the world we live in, I can’t just write long form articles and expect to maximize my impact - which is why I diversify my skill set, but continue to use my writing as the anchor point of every new venture that I embark upon.
When I help clients as a social media coach, my writing helps me to communicate ideas in different ways so that I can find the best way to instruct and empower every individual client.
When I publish content as a social media influencer, my writing allows me to tell intriguing stories or advocate for a cause that I believe in without sacrificing the authenticity of my voice or the clarity of my message.
When I build buzz as an event curator, my writing equips me to describe my event in a way that distinguishes it from the countless other events that might be happening the same weekend.
When I go live for on-camera interviews, my writing serves as a preparatory tool that puts me in position to deliver answers that are as polished and on point as possible.
I've developed an array of different skills to support my writing. I'm constantly researching best practices. I spend a significant amount of time investing in self-education. Still, I use writing as my creative foundation. It's the distinguishing factor for every pitch that I make and every plan that I draw up.
As I came to terms with the fact that I don’t have to limit myself to traditional forms of writing to use my talent, I simultaneously decided that I would commit to writing more consistently. Writing has been the focal point of my success in so many different arenas. I would be sleeping on myself if I didn’t put myself in position to keep writing at the center of my creative plan.
When people ask me, “what do you do?,” my answer is still likely to depend on my perception of how I could potentially be of value to whoever I’m talking with. I might lead with a category that I fit into, such as “social media influencer,” “social media coach,” or “event curator.” However, I’ll be following that job title with a personalized description. I won’t offer any more introductions that inform people about what I do without offering a window into who I am.
I won’t offer any more introductions that inform people about what I do without offering a window into who I am.
I WROTE YOU A 33-PAGE E-BOOK THAT WILL HELP YOU TO ACHIEVE SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS ON YOUR OWN TERMS.
THE BOOK INCLUDES...
1. My personal story of overcoming stagnation and breaking rules en route to finding my own path to success as a social entrepreneur and cultural curator.
2. Five tenets of a mentality that will engineer long term social media success without sacrificing individuality.
3. Six bonus worksheets that will allow you to act immediately on the principles that are outlined as you refine your current strategy.
4. Five business affirmations that will equip you to push past doubts and win on your own terms.
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