Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Inch by Inch, Step by Step...


Finding your own path instead of taking one already marked out is an interesting thing.  If you start yourself working at a company, it is fairly easy to track your progress by annual reviews, title, and salary.  When you let go of the security of the known path and decide to venture on your own, things are less defined.  I think its personal preference if you are able to handle not having things not as clearly defined.

For me, at first journeying off the path was exhilarating, followed by some apprehension/fear, and once again, exhilarating.  Because I've had in idea of what I wanted, ever since I've come out to California I have surrounded myself by the complimentary/nurturing atmosphere.  While here I've been taking time to build my networks, go to as many lectures/classes/talks/events that pique my interest, and learn and do as much as possible.  By taking such a broad stance on the matter it makes it quite impossible to track my progress incrementally.  Getting one more business card, one more contact, one more piece of knowledge doesn't have a clear tangible effect that is easy to keep track.  But there is a feeling I have that tells me I'm closer... to ... something.

I'm a big picture person.  I see how it all fits together, but the way I do things is by no means linear.  I've been improving my networks, business, marketing, technical knowledge, experience, and other ability in such a way that if you were to sit down and converse with me, it'd be clear that I am knowledgeable in various subject areas. I can hold a conversation about pretty much anything.  The difficult part in all of this is translating that kind of knowledge into something as static as a resume, the standard document that gets your foot in the door.  For nonlinear thinkers such as myself, I recommend putting what you know into more non conventional means... such as a blog or online portfolio.  Don't let black and white 12point font be the only way that people find out about you.  Make sure to try and express yourself to others in a way that is appropriate for yourself.  And hopefully this way, you'll attract the kinds of people who will truly appreciate what you have to offer and it will form a greater connection with those around you.

Put yourself out there.  Attend events with the that you want to get closer to.  Talk to people you normally wouldn't think to, and you may be able to have a meaningful conversation with someone that you wouldn't have even considered talking with before.  This can lead to further introductions or knowledge transfer or possibly even a referral to a person or company.  Make sure your intentions are genuine.  I'm a believer that most people can sense intention before the words even come out of your mouth.  Be yourself, be true, be real...

So far this advice has lead me to great things, and it doesn't gradually happen.  You just get yourself closer and closer to what you want, and work hard towards getting there.  And, from one moment of not having it, you will go to the next of having a great opportunity.  In one day I went from getting step by step closer...to...something... Then suddenly I landed a weekly gig of teaching kids to design with legos and robotics...a scheduled meeting with my personal hero...an interview with a company that I'm extremely interested in, and having a great conversation with a university advisor about their school's Industrial Design program.

When you take the appropriate steps toward your life goals, you may not see your progress incrementally and tangibly, but its something that you 'feel' like you are getting somewhere with.  People around you may not completely understand your driving force, but it is imperative to have complete confidence in yourself and be relentless and persistence in your actions.  You need to believe in yourself first, and then others will believe in you.  It never works the other way around.  Be yourself, be something that you believe in, be persistent, get there step by step, and eventually, success will follow.

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