Explaining the Personal Growth Project
Over the past 6-8 weeks, I've been blogging publicly on a regular basis about the results of various personality, strengths and interests assessments I've taken over the years.
The idea to put these results out in public came to me when I wrote a post on telling the story of my personal brand. Over the past year or so, I've realized that I need to do a better job of explaining who I am and what I offer.
I know who I am, but I haven't been very proactive in telling my story to the rest of the world. That didn't matter so much in the early days of my professional life when ladders and structures pretty much dictated outcomes.
The great thing is that my strengths, personality and interests are aligned perfectly with the variables necessary to thrive in the new economy. I was made for this era. It excites and energizes me, so I don't want to miss the opportunities to play to my strengths.
Writing Helps Me Think
Since I love figuring out how things work and writing helps me understand, blogging seemed like the perfect venue for this project.
A commitment to writing about my story “in public” ensures that I'll stay at the topic until I've thoroughly covered it, figured out an action plan and moved to take action.
I love to connect-the-dots between disparate bits of information. That's one reason I love the internet and the conceptual opportunities that come from hyperlinking.
When I blog, I can link my thoughts on one topic or idea to something else I've written and begin to see connections that I might otherwise miss. At some point in the late 90s, I began to think of the synapses in my brain as a series of hyperlinks that connected all the various ideas, images, emotions and facts I've stored there.
I also hope that I might inspire others to undertake similar projects to get in touch with who they really are. I try to incorporate the self-awareness mindset in advisees and students who seek out career advice because I don't want to see them pursue a career path that leaves them unfulfilled or stifled.
Authenticity Is Important
Putting all of these results “out there” for the world to see serves, in some ways, as a confirmation that I'm not just spinning who I am and what I offer. These results provide some independent documentation that I'm being authentic and transparent when I talk about my strengths and interests.
Being “real” is important to me. Authenticity is a value that shows up a lot in my assessments and it's something I know I care about.
In the past, my blogging has focused on benign topics, while I've kept a lot of myself in the shadows. I didn't want to write or talk about myself because that just seemed unseemly. I occasionally talked about something personal, but even then I was non-specific.
For the most part, except for my recipe-and-food posts, I ended up writing on generic topics, or giving lectures, instead of telling interesting stories.
One of the main motivations of the Shinecast project is to help others live healthy, happier lives.
To do that, I have to be comfortable talking about my own experiences in facing up to challenges and growing through obstacles. I think my experiences can provide inspiration.
We All Have Fears
As confident as I am, I've also faced obstacles and self-doubt. Courage is, in some ways, like a muscle. By pushing through fear, you learn resilience. And resilience is something I fully understand. It's probably my greatest strength.
I still feel fear at times, but I move on anyway because I've learned that whatever is causing fear usually evaporates in the face of action.
[Tweet “The cause of your fear usually evaporates in the face of action.”]
Writing publicly about myself is a simple exercise in courage, it gets me out of my comfort zone and gives me another arrow in my bravery quiver. And writing also helps me to think through situations that sometimes cause fear.
I've spent the past 5 years trying to adapt to a bad fit and to overcome someone else's misconception of who I am and what I offer, strictly to “prove I could succeed” in a situation that I chose, despite my instinctive understanding that I was making a mistake from the outset. On the plus side, I've used these five years to develop new skills that build on the internet technology skills I developed in the 90s and early 2000s (like WordPress, digital marketing, etc.) and expand my professional network.
I intend for the next phase of my professional life to emphasize projects that allow me to use my strengths and interests to “be more, achieve more” (to steal a phrase from a podcast I listen to regularly.
This personal growth project is all about giving wings to the vision I have for the second half of my life. It's exciting and energizing and I can't wait to experience the vision unfold.