Friday, April 1, 2016

3 of 2eLLLve. I've Got A Story.

New month, new challenge.  This month, I focused on becoming a better story teller.

Over the past several months, I have shifted my focus from highly personal blog posts to contributing a weekly business set of writings.  This has been a totally different experience for me, and while often painful, I find writing the personal stuff far easier.  Why, you may ask?

I don't like editing myself.  When I write for myself, I have the ability to say what I want, and frame it the way makes sense to me.  What I truly care about is that my voice is authentic to me; not worrying about how many people are reading my posts.  With business writing, someone edits me.  They make tweaks based on what will resonate best with the audience, while still trying to keep my voice.  It's not awful, but I have realized if I want to make an impact in my field, I need to be mindful about what I say and how I say it.  If you know me well, you'll know this takes considerable effort.

The last three months have built on each other.  January was about building a bigger social media presence from a business perspective.  February I spent time focusing on getting smarter every day through a variety of different mediums.  This month, I took an online writing course.

I was excited to have a new project.  I have a lot to say, and I want to be mindful about marrying my personal voice with my professional knowledge.  I get notifications for online programs often, and have historically disregarded them without even so much as a glance.  However, this program, from IDEO, seemed to speak to me.  I was intrigued by the pace and the content.  It provided a variety of video lessons paired with content exercises.  All super useful.  

The piece I didn't find particularly helpful was that participants were set up in teams intended to provide feedback and critique on our stories.  I was excited about this part; the chance for anonymous people to share candid words with the sole purpose of helping each other to make our work better.  It didn't exactly play out that way.  You know when you walk into jury duty, look around the waiting room, and think to yourself, "I'm glad it's not me on trial, because if this is a jury of my peers, I'm f*cked."  That is how I felt about my assigned team.  I'm sure they are all super nice, bright people.  That said, it made me realize why I spend so much energy attempting to attract and retain amazing people at work; when you have a strong team it makes all the difference.  I don't find much value in people only trying to be nice and encouraging; we were together to help each other raise our game.  

Overall though, this was a great format of learning for me.  It was a quick month program, it provided deadlines to keep you on track, and you had to be self-motivated to get it done.  It provided value in terms of how I approach my writing a little differently now, and gave me a great "a-ha" on how to take the next step on the next big project in April.

So far, 2016 has been a productive one for me.  While I am missing the candace of writing every day like I used to, I have replaced it with the discipline of tackling a new project or learning every day for a month.  Three months in, and I'm feeling like I'm making progress to the bigger goal.