One thing I’ve worried about most in my career and this process of evolving it is how to show concrete actions reflecting my values, skills and abilities. As a ambivert leaning towards more introversion, socially, I’ve always been amazed by people in school, college and career who seem to effortlessly flow and participate. Those who are class president, in student government, sports, clubs, volunteering and community groups on top of just being students or employees.
I have never done those things. I always marveled at what seemed the endless time and energy of people able to do all of that…much less wanting to. I usually felt close to my limit of output and patience, leading to a feeling of inadequacy because others seemed so mature and adult and well rounded and accomplished, with levels of output that amazed me, while I seemed to only reflect mediocrity.
But then I had a private practice and learned that I could do more, when necessary.
On my own time I spent hours researching how to manage people, social potency and male versus female leadership, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I understand that issue and have corrected my mistakes, but I still do constant reading and research partially evidenced by my sidebar Scoopit feed of collected career reading. I knew how to create and enhance a team, but something of the art of captaining the ship eluded me and became my next project. Then…I came to my current job and was smacked head on by progressively steamrolling process, team and leadership dysfunction the likes of which I could never have imagined.
And suddenly out came my “side hustle.” A part of me that had slept for close to 40 years, without me realizing it was there.
I always admired my siblings for their gifts and talents, and as almost the youngest, but not yet the baby, I’d grown up feeling inadequate. My oldest brother is super fit and an amazing musician. Second oldest can work magic with plants. I was 35 before I tried growing my own flowers. My oldest sister is the most amazing parent to her kids. I was almost 40 before I felt I could trust myself to maybe raise one. My other sister was almost too talented and fabulous for words in everything she set her mind to. It would take me 6 years after her death to finally accept that I had all of that in me too, I just chose not to use it. My baby brother built a 3 foot tall scale replica of the Eiffel Tower out of legos alone in the basement unbeknownst to all until he was finished, when he was still in elementary school. I’m not sure what kind of awesome sauce he was fed, but I sure didn’t drink it.
When I came here to Saudi Arabia I suddenly had free time. (Meaning, there’s really nothing else to do.) So when I’d get a random thought about a craft or thing I wanted to make, there was really nothing inside or out there holding me back from just doing it. I had never tried to make anything before, even though creating, re-purposing and inventing was a constant thing in our home growing up. All my sibs are artists (I’m the only one who cannot doodle or even draw a decent circle) so I didn’t see the point in trying to compete least of all just to make myself happy. Apparently though, I picked a lot up by osmosis.
When I started making things I realized I do have a voice and ideas that aren’t automatically going to suck just because somebody else has always been better. My attention to detail, high standards and snobbish taste don’t add up to artistic ability, but they do add up to quality output. And why not be proud of that?
When I started this job I was suddenly faced with the requirement to give presentations to an entire department, and sometimes an entire hospital, of licensed clinical professionals. Not an easy audience. But I’ve never tried to be a “scientist” or present myself as the expert or authority on anything in my field. When I try to, I stumble over my words and end up looking and sounding like I never attended college. That’s part of what happens when you take the wrong path. A textbook memorizer and reciter, I am not. I speak to my patients on a second grade level, because that’s what I had heard the average person understands in medicine. Make it as simple as possible and as brief, so you don’t overwhelm with unnecessary info the person won’t ever remember. When they’re ready, they’ll ask for more. They always do.
Now I suddenly have to speak the full level of my knowledge, in science-speak, to people who will likely (insert paranoid gremlin here) catch every mistake. This is nothing, if you used to be the class president. It’s huge if you have always deferred to others knowledge and authority. And as the frosting on that pie, only 4-8 people out of 100 in our department speak English as a first language, with at least a dozen countries and more languages and dialects represented.
To the class hyper-participator its just a presentation, no biggie. To me it’s dozens of brains I have to connect with in a way that benefits them and with all the management, leadership, social science, education and psychology reading I do, this is obviously something very important to me.
Like with creating crafts, what cropped up in my favor is my unique ability to recognize it’s less important that I overwhelm and impress everybody and far far more important that I include everybody and every level of knowledge as much as possible. Simplify, clarify and organize my presentations in written and visual form so that every type of learner is hopefully honored and addressed in some way.
That perspective magically wiped away my fear of being seen as not good enough, because even if a fact or two are wrong I know that I’ve addressed more than just the requirement to talk for 50 minutes.
I do have side hustle despite a lifetime of unconsciously believing I
didn’t couldn’t. Even if much of the action and evidence of that hustle is only thought and research, rolling around in my brain, and not come corporeal yet, it’s there.
I’ve managed to put together this web page which a couple
years months ago was unthinkable. I started work a few years ago on my idea for a neurology teaching tool for visual and hands on learners…it’s stalled when I realized how much a patent would cost me but the idea still germinates. I’m not just one dimensional but I don’t have to generate product like a factory either. My effort towards detail and quality, in art or teaching, outweighs the small volume of output I used to guilt myself over.
I’m so grateful that I learned to see this over time.
So in keeping with the article about side hustle that I linked to above, linked with this interesting piece about How to Smack People in the Face with your Resume I have started really looking at my output, gathering together what examples I can and compiling them here hopefully to illustrate what I’m capable of. I’ve added two links in the top menu bar under Work Output of a couple of my presentations which are viewable as powerpoints online.
Does anybody know of other websites or systems that help to gather or generate examples of your work and talents? A good start would be: about.me, LinkedIn & Slideboom.