Just over a year ago I made a decision that has changed my life and the direction of my career.
I was sitting on the beach thinking about thirty-years of working. It is filled with ups and downs; I learned a lot along the way. I knew enough to be successful not from my formal education but from going to the school of experience. My classes were: trial, error, success, failure, bounce back, keep going, pain and celebration.
On this day I was listening to music and picked up my iPad. I figured it was time to start writing all this stuff down. I had known that my current gig was likely to be my last formal corporate job. My desire is to give back by teaching. This job will be a final swing at the plate. I believe it will be important to have a portfolio of published work to point to. My plan is to walk into any college that will have me and apply to be an adjunct. They won’t be impressed by where I went to college, major, or GPA. A 3.0 in Sociology from Lycoming College doesn’t bang down doors or shatter windows, believe me.
What I hope will impress someone is what I have done.
So I wrote Trust! I published it on LinkedIn Pulse on May 17, 2015. My journey into writing had started. I promised myself I would produce a post a week. Our brain is a muscle I reasoned, and I need to keep creating content. I remember thinking about what the experience would be like.
What if no one reads my writing?
That answer came quickly.
So what! I have tried and failed at so many things I’ll just add writing to the list of stuff that didn’t work out. That’s where the best lessons come from anyway.
I set a goal that one-hundred views of something I wrote would be success. I set the bar low, remember I am a marketing and sales executive. A year later and this is my 78th post on Pulse. Across platforms, I have written over one-hundred pieces. It is hard work but rewarding. I recruited a friend I have worked with to proofread my posts. She unearth’s the land mines of grammar and typos that I produce with great regularity. I bought some technology tools that help me be more succinct and direct in my writing.
But there is something that comes from within me. A year ago I found my voice, garbled and stuttered as it was, I found it. The constant flexing of my brain to form those thoughts and words into a phrase that tells a story have changed. My voice is more refined. At the same time, I have branched out and written about many topics.
At first, I thought I would only write about business. But, I have written about politics, guns, rape, terrorism, death and love. Some have questioned me on my level of authority on any of these topics. I respond, “I am a human being, and I have experiences and opinions about each of those topics and more. In fact, even more than I know right now. If I want to write it down and put it out there that is my prerogative. Reading it is yours.”
It’s funny over the past year I believe I have done some of my best work in business. My decision-making is clearer. My creativity spiked. It’s too early to tell yet, but I feel like the results will be coming in soon. I continue to have a voracious appetite for music and consume it every day. It is the fuel that keeps the muse going.
Here are some facts. The views of my posts have exceeded my expectations by 20x. My work has been featured on The Good Men Project, BeBee.com, BusinessGists.com and LinkedIn Pulse. I am a contributing writer for the Huffington Post and BusinessGists.com. I did an interview with super talented writer and networker, Melissa (G) Wilson. You might remember her; she had a book featured on Oprah’s Book Club. My social media connections have increased over 15 times. I worked with and became friends with John White from Social Marketing Solutions.
My connections now include many authors, artists and other cool people who create things. I treasure my network. I receive emails from people offering help and advice from all over the world. Many people from my past have surfaced and provided encouragement.
Perhaps the most fulfilling change for me has come through Facebook. Friends from my town share my writing with their sons and daughters who are mostly college age. Considering that is where I want to teach I feel this is a good sign.
So why does anyone care?
Finding my voice, my words and my story have had a profound impact on my career and my life. My relationship with my family has changed. My wife reads most of what I write before I publish. We discuss and debate some of the topics and my opinions. Colleagues and friends past and present interact with me. Just last week a friend saw me walking my dog. He did a U-turn in the middle of the road and stopped to talk to me about my writing.
The point here is anyone with the desire can do this. I have no special skills, training or education. In fact, I would argue the statement our parents drilled into our heads years ago rings true here. You can be anything you want to be.
I only have one more step, and that is, Professor.
My best, Chris