I have hundreds of people to thank for guiding me along in my career. Every hiring manager, mentor, and deep professional conversation helped. Within those hundreds, I have a casual Top 50 of those who really helped advance me along. After a recent chance conversation at a thrift store with one of my Top 4 career contributors, I wanted to celebrate their contributions, to maybe inspire you as well. Their names are obscured by the TMNT crew:
In my last summer without obligations, between high school and college, I spent most of that innocent time writing a foundational element to “The Story” References stars John (left) as “everSOL the Valiant,” crash-lander on a strange planet that is driven to find his dearest friend “Trisha” (right). I forgot about References to become a salaryman. After rescuing it from this almost-lost disk, what’s available is online, unmodified. Let’s talk about my successful failure: References.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (just recollections, regrets, reinforcements…) WANNA LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES TO BETTER IMPLEMENT YOUR BIGGEST IDEAS AND DREAMS? CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!
“What did that [overhead announcement] mean? It sounded cool!” “It meant [basically] in 30 minutes, all hands on deck[1,2].” Coming up on 5 years ago, I was just bumming around in life, and ended up working at a thrift store for the hell of it. While looking for new junk is my primary reason for going, I also like going to remind myself of the times I hopped into gnarly trailers full of donations to salvage rarities.
Another 70 posts in the can! Compared to when I was first getting my footing with this website nearly 400 posts ago, things are coalescing now into a finely-tuned machine that seemingly spits out content daily. What if you told me then that I’d be spending an average of three hours daily writing, sometimes waking up at 3AM to write, all to chase my dreams? I’d say good! This dream is the only good fight there is:
I don’t hide behind my pseudonym because I’m nervous about what I’ve written. If I posted the more pointed content from this series on professional networking websites, I’m sure there’d be equal parts appreciation and aggression. It’s mainly practicality necessitating innocently witnessing manipulation tactics in action, so I can later write about those parlor tricks. When/if there’s a point where my name is synonymous with my content, then they’d know I can see their hand.
Words mean nothing when you’re stressed out and longing for that familiar, harmful way to decompress. Even close to five years later, the numbness of having a drink or five is still ingrained in my psyche as the ideal evening. We must instead practice alternative actions. Since I don’t think as clearly in the evenings, after constantly confronting stress, I go to sleep early to subconsciously wade through that stress to arrive at actionable solutions.
Words mean nothing? If only it were that easy to ignore the comments of others! Especially when I haven’t been confident with my abilities or even my sense of self, even subtly critical statements would dig deep. Now it’s not so much that I don’t care, it’s just I really take a critical look at the sender. Do I know this person? Do I trust this person’s judgement in this area? If not, trash it!
Words mean nothing, which is funny coming from an individual that wants to be a professional writer. The problem with words is that people hide behind them. Instead of taking direct action, people instead hide behind implication and strict definitions. I’ve noticed the biggest factor determining whether someone will succeed or fail in their professional career depends not on what that person says, rather, what that person does. Here are five examples of my actions.
In ten years, how will writing change? I imagine, firstly, we’ll be able to write more efficiently. I wrote this thought on my smartphone while waiting for an oil change, this before entering thrift store, this after not finding anything, and returned to my computer for this final draft. That flexibility in 2008 would have been great! How might that look in 2028? Let’s ask ourselves, via this open letter, how we can build better writing tools!
In ten years, will I have this spider’s confidence? It stared right at me. To not be skittish around anyone I don’t fully know? To not feel embarrassed over the most minor, benign, and otherwise harmless social faux paus? The courage to talk to anyone? Compared to ten years ago, I do have more self-confidence, so I imagine in ten more years of practice, I’ll be closer. I have had glimpses of this spider’s confidence…