I have this habit of checking the ages of prominent people to see how old they are. Then I’ll count back to the number of years in the bio to when it seemed they were normal. If they’re a decade older, it usually makes me feel a bit better and then I feel like I still have time.
My entire professional career and personal life have been subconsciously driven in this manner for a bit too long. I’m admitting it here because I’ve read enough “go empowered millennials!” blogs to figure that I’m not the only one. But even if I were, it’s worth sharing anyway.
There was once a time when my professional life seemed to be skyrocketing. I was riding a fairly epic win streak and even when there were losses, it seemed bigger wins were emerging out of the woodwork. I thought I was doing everything right, I felt beyond empowered and like most things in life; it was just getting figured out.
I remember the first professional job I got out of college was funny. The minute I got a business card with a college on it and people found out I worked at the local community college, they all wanted my advice.
“Hey, my computer is doing this.”
“Can you build me a web site?”
“What do you think of all of this Facebook business? Should my daughter be on it who is 11?”
I laughed and thought that all of the attention was weird. I mean, I didn’t get any smarter when someone gave me an office and said “have at it.” But it went that way off and on again for a while. Before too long, people wanted to hear what I had to say or at least, acted like it. It was a pretty fun time.
I don’t really miss those days now, to be honest. I mean, it never felt all that comfortable. I do my best work behind the scenes. While I make a decent candidate, I’m far better as the architect you don’t hear from until it’s necessary to get a point across. In the business of web strategy, teaching is something that comes naturally. I like demystifying the web to the point where people ask, “wait, if it’s this easy why do we need you?”
The future could be composed with many different things. I can go in a lot of different directions. I feel a certain desire to build on what I’ve done to this point. But on the flip side, I want more.
I’m sort of reluctant to say a lot, because it’s akin to taking the wrong turn using GPS, you find yourself recalculating to get back on track. The lack of context this platform provides is a blessing and a curse at the same time. So my goal, in a sense, is to start fleshing the story out more. It’s hard to take people back, so I’d rather take myself forward and just help people fill in the blanks as we go along.
It’d be one thing if I had a caustic background with lots of red flags. Or if my story were that of someone who didn’t have a lot to offer. I’ve learned a lot over the years and I’ve gained a lot of perspective along the way and a ton of experiences that I simply wouldn’t have had sticking to a conventional path.
What I’ve come to realize is the only way to really get yourself where you want to be, is to know it and pursue it earnestly. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. But you can’t measure yourself with someone else’s scale and wonder why it doesn’t work for you.
It never will.