As some of you know, I took a career break this summer. My first break from working since I was 14 1/2 years old. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. One of the by-products of that break was being able to connect with people I previously felt too busy to connect with, and provide them with any expertise, crazy ideas, or just goofiness they desired.
I spent time in classrooms co-teaching or observing lessons with teacher friends, as well as dispensing tech support and professional trainings for clerical (aka classified in edu world) staff. I also volunteered as a Designer-in-Residence at UCSD, and have been enjoying stretching my brain in the world of academia. In fact, yesterday I sat in a room full of computer science students and listened to Professor Ravi Chugh talk about “Bi-Directional Programming with Direct Manipulation.” I may even be able to fool you into thinking I understood the talk if I throw out acronyms like PL and GUI and terms like output-directed programming 😛.
The Curse of Averageness, or is it?
This opportunity to expand and immerse reinforced a concept I read recently in Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@%!: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. Mark writes:
Most of us are pretty average at most things we do. Even if you’re exceptional at one thing, chances are you’re average or below average at most other things.Mark Manson
Assuming that’s true, then it would make sense to seek out those who may be exceptional in an area in which we are average (or below, gasp!) and improve our own skillset. But the fact of the matter is, we don’t. Instead, we internally judge ourselves for not being up to par because society (aka the media) focuses on the exceptional only, not the average. The best of the best… and the worst of the worst. It sells. Can’t deny it.
It’s crazy. We all have something to offer. Sure, we may not be extraordinary, but we have something dang nabbit! I may never be able to create a PL to GUI bi-directional platform for programmers, but I can certainly help streamline your Gmail madness, or recover a lost password for your (okay my) grandpa’s bank account. And I can certainly ramble on and on about the talks I have listened to, or books I read, in an attempt to provide a nugget of inspiration for someone else. It’s not extraordinary, but it’s me. It’s what I have to offer.
So How May I Be Of Service to You?
So here it is… I started two new ventures to share my averageness with the world, and I hope it brings you some extraordinary value.
YouTube – I have no desire to be a YouTube star, as you’ll see by the low-fidelity quality of my videos. But I am starting to post some tech tips on there. These are tips that illicited “oohs” and “ahhs” when I shared them at a recent professional development. Short, relevant, and (hopefully) applicable.
Podcast – Again, no desire to be a podcast star, but sometimes I have ideas, and I share them with people and then I think, that’s too much energy to try to write in my blog. And then, poof, it’s gone. So after chatting with Paula last night about hackathons and entrepreneurs, I grabbed my phone and recorded my thoughts. And so here’s the first episode. I don’t know how often I’ll post these, but I will. And who knows – maybe you’ll be in the next one. Again, super low fidelity. In fact, episode 1 was recorded in my car sitting in traffic (hands-free of course).
I hope that these ventures in sharing encourage others to share their little bit of above average with others. After all, it’s the community that helps us grow.
And since you’re here, and reading this, do me a favor…leave a comment. Let me know what you’re thinking… what’s your above-averageness that you can share with others? What do you wish I would share with you?
And then, subscribe. Subscribe to this blog, or the YouTube, or the podcast, or all of it. Because those subscriptions show love, and value, and make me feel like maybe being average is a pretty cool feeling to have.