Whatcha Got Already?

Today, Doug and I are taking stock of the skills and abilities we already possess. We’re making a list of current skills, and will look at them with a fresh mindset. This list won’t tell us much about our future path, but it will show us where we’ve been, and where we’ve expended our efforts.

Making a list of current skills and abilities will give us an overview of what we currently have to offer others as far as a career is concerned. Even more importantly, writing this list will allow us to see patterns and make connections we otherwise may miss. We’re visual monkeys, and lists always help us distill information down and then create new insights.

We’re listing all of our skills, whether we think there is a market for them  (yet) or not. Our list looks like this:

  • Creative
  • Artistic
  • Well Read
  • Intelligent
  • Outside of the Box Thinker
  • Solutions Monkey
  • Quick Thinker
  • Clear Thinker
  • Drive to “know”.

We’re not going to fall into the easy route with this list. This isn’t a list of who or what we are and will be. It’s just an inventory of what we think our strengths are, and where we come from.

Looking at the list, Doug and I immediately notice that creative and artistic are at the top. Those are the easy answers since we’ve worked in art related fields most of our lives. Next down is well read and intelligent. Again, this isn’t a surprise. Our education is in history. The first few answers are the “us” that others probably perceive. The more we add to the list, the closer we come to how we see ourselves.

It’s a bit enlightening to read our list. Once we got the stock answers out of the way, we began to see glimpses of the real monkeys below.  We see ourselves as thinkers and problem solvers (who knew?). To put it into a description, our base perception of ourselves seems to be as a Thinker who creatively defines solutions. Our art career and pursuit of history makes sense now when viewed through this lens. The keywords in our self description are necessary for the pursuit of art and for the study of history.

So, now that we realize we are a “thinker who creatively defines solutions”, we can begin thinking about what path we wish to pursue. While we have been artists most of our lives, we do not have to continue to be. Now that we have defined who we are, we can see that art was a natural outlet for us to express our talents through. There are other outlets though, and we will find and define them…

Exercise

Think about your abilities and your skills. What have you done in the past for work? What are your hobbies? What do you see as your strengths? Make a list of your skills and abilities, even if you have never earned money with them. If you can read 400 words a minute with one eye shut, put it on the list. It might be a bit difficult to translate that particular skill into a career, but it can be done!

Read over your list. Your standard answers of who you are will probably be at the top. Look at the bottom answers. See if you can spot an underlying theme. What phrase can you come up with to describe your current and past skills? At first it may seem like your list is a random collection with nothing in common. Keep thinking about it, until you find the “you” phrase. Write your you phrase as ” I am a_________________________________”.

Congratulations.  You now have a concise idea of who you were and who you are. Now, we’ll take that idea, break it up, add some new ingredients, and see what comes out of the oven. Meet us in the kitchen for part 2.

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