Doing what you’re good at

I’ve resigned from my job. This is an act that can best be described as reckless. The simple explanation is that enjoyment comes from doing something that you’re good at, and while the job I was doing was perfectly pleasant in many ways, I spent very little time doing the things I’m good at. Which meant I didn’t enjoy it very much.

Now you may be able to help.  Because apparently the key when you’re looking for a change is to spend as much time as possible doing the things you’re good at. There’s some theory of inter-connectedness that has it that by focussing on doing specific things you create the opportunity to do more of those things (which I know sounds uncomfortably like a theory Deepak Chopra might espouse, but then someone I follow did retweet something of his the other day and that new-age stuff is virulent).

I find this all rather difficult, because to do lots of what you’re good at, you have to be comfortable claiming to be good at something. And I’m very uncomfortable claiming to be good at anything. Not just mildly uncomfortable, either. I find it properly, kidney-punchingly, uncomfortable, like the time I bumped into my client as he exited the ‘adult’ section of the video store. (True story. Hi, Hugh.)

So with a deep breath and an apology for being so hideously conceited, I am good at a couple of things and I’m hoping you might be able to help me do more of them.

I’m good at public speaking.  Apparently being called on to speak in public is most people’s greatest fear.  They fear it more than spiders, more than flying, more than heights. More than dying, even. But not me. I love public speaking. In fact I’m never happier than when speaking to a group of people, ideally in a very high place on the subject of spiders. Because I know no fear.

(That’s not true. I fear the Lace Monitor lizard, pictured below.  I once encountered one when running in Noosa National Park. I rounded a corner and it was standing in the middle of the track, languidly masticating.  Locals tried to tell me that Monitor Lizards are vegetarian.  Bollocks they are. They look vegetarian like Demi Moore looks 48.)

So, if you find yourself in need of someone to speak publicly, I’m your guy. I can talk about pretty much anything.  Marketing and advertising stuff, obviously, and spiders. But I’ll give any subject a go. (As evidence, I once gave a speech on what Carlos Spencer can teach us about effective corporate culture.)

I’m also good at writing. That said, I only have one way of writing. I always sound like me – a middle-class, slightly-pretentious, faux-intellectual, anglophile with a fondness for parentheses. That generally doesn’t work too badly for advertising and marketing stuff because, let’s be honest, a decent chunk of that audience is middle-class, slightly-pretentious, faux-intellectual anglophiles. So if you want something written in that voice, I’m your man.

On that subject, I have massive admiration for people who can write in different voices. I have a friend who used to write the letters that American Express sent to its high value customers as well as the replies to the little girls who wrote to tell Barbie that they hated their brothers and wanted to swap them for puppies. (True story. Hi, Andy.)

So there you have it. If you need something written, or you need something spoken, I’m your guy.  Just let me know.

Doing what you’re good at