What I do.
I decided to use today’s blog writing time to craft the 600-word note required for the preliminary application.
What I didn’t notice was that there was a second part of the application. On the next page, one section reads, “Check the boxes below for any skill where you're in the top 5% of your field and have the work to show for it…”
With that, I knew that I wasn’t ready for this opportunity. Not because I’m not an amazing writer but because I don’t have the work to show for it.
Not that I don’t have work to show. Just that it’s not the work I want to show.
I do not keep it a secret that I lied my way into my first marketing job. I even went so far as to pass someone else’s work off as my own. This is not something I’m proud of and it also gave me the leg up I needed to get to where I am now.
(Not surprisingly, at the time, I was fairly disinterested in the Moral Line that I use as a part of my coaching client assessments. Now, the Moral Line is one of my favourites as its development supports us in doing our best work.)
This position at Seth Godin’s studio, however, is not one I could lie my way into even if I still did that. More importantly, should the opportunity ever present itself again, I want to be able to know that I’m able to show my best work.
So, I’m going back to planning what that will look like over the next year. Fortunately, I am not waiting for someone—even if that someone is Seth Godin—to pick me.
In the meantime, here’s what I wrote in my application:
What I do is help people get out of their own way so they can do their best work. I do this as a writer and marketer when I work with coaches to help them clarify their message, get specific on who they want to serve, and access the people who will benefit from what they have to offer. I do this as a coach when I work with writers and creators to help them to better manage their finances and time, skillfully express their emotions, and build relationships that will allow them to have greater impact through their art.
My approach to writing, marketing, and coaching focus on being generous with sharing what I know, disrupting the culture of coaching and creating through execution, and constant iteration. Rather than privilege perfection, I try to create creative and human processes that work and that can be effectively adapted by others. Whatever failures I experience become the spark for my next projects. What I do is care deeply about my work and my clients and I keep sharing my art as an ongoing practice instead of a singular outcome.
Where I’m headed is decentralizing my knowledge of writing, marketing, and coaching so that more people have access to the tools, information, and practices they need to do their best work. As one human, there are only so many people I can write for and coach in a day. So I’m moving into a process of experimentation that involves sharing as much I can for free through various mediums—my blog, video, workshops, etc.—in service of helping whoever is interested use what I have learned to be more able to create their art.
I am curious what happens when there’s greater access the information and connections that people need before it’s possible for them to do their best work. My plans include free online and in-person courses/workshops that cover budgeting, content strategy, and a clearer process for people who want to pick themselves instead of hustling to be picked by someone else. I’m also going to be returning to making and using puppets as a teaching tool because people will listen to puppets where they won’t always listen to other people. Where I’m headed is somewhere that allows me to be even more generous through the work that I do.
I think this might be a good fit because, at the end of the day, I am an artist and I will always seek out what is collective, engaging, and wakes people up. Over the past 10+ years, I have operated almost exclusively in a studio of my own making. Initiative is the only place I know how to work from and on the few—and horrible—occasions when I’ve been in situations that demanded compliance, I did not last long. On the flip side, working collaboratively as a part of a small team in a way that is respectful, responsible, and impactful is how I do my best work.
This unclear position with such human parameters is exciting to me because it offers the opportunity for me to stretch my art in new ways while supporting other people on the team to do the same. I am most delighted when a project relies on what I am specifically able to contribute and on my ability to adapt and learn in order to better execute it. I think this might be a good fit because, at the end of the day, I will show up and care and create this position as it evolves so I can do my best work with you.
Reading this over, what do you do, where are you headed, and why do you think you might be a good fit for the opportunities you’re pursuing?