Bit of an autobiographical feel to this post. Don’t worry if this is not to your taste, there will be more tips tomorrow!
In my post about what memes are I invited anyone to tag me with a meme in return for a link and a free copy of my forthcoming ebook.
Bonnie tagged me for a Multiple Choice Meme. I choose to answer the question “What talent or skill would you most like to have?“. I’m actually going to cheat and cover two questions with my answer. The other question I will answer is “What did you want to be when you grew up?“.
When I was a kid, actually right up to leaving school, I wanted to be an illustrator. From an early age I had enjoyed comic books. I dreamed of being a comic book artist, cartoonist or an illustrator for childrens books. I drew pictures all the time. Between playing with my friends, reading, drawing and spending time on the computer my parents never saw me.
As I got older the dream felt less and less realistic. It is one thing to be able to draw well enough to please friends and family, quite another to make a living out of it. While the motivation dwindled I still kept at it. I even sent off some greetings cards designs to Hallmark, things could have turned out very different!
You might think the talent I wish I had would be drawing and painting, but actually I am glad things worked out the way they did. I enjoy drawing pictures for my little girl but I think I would have made a poor artist.
At age 16 I had the choice of continuing education or getting a job. I hated school and everything about it. Plus I knew my parents couldn’t support me financially through university. Cut a long story short, I turned (eventually) to my other hobby, computers.
You might have gathered I was a pretty solitary kid, computers (at that time), drawing, reading. I was painfully shy, I couldn’t face even ordering fast food, I would blush or stammer at the slightest provocation. This had to change.
Being someone who always had his nose in a book my solution inevitably was to read a bunch of stuff on interpersonal communication and self help. You name it I read it. Body language, NLP, hypnosis, confidence, positive thinking. Some of it helped but I came to the conclusion I would need to actually do something rather than read a bunch of stuff.
When someone is afraid of flying they take them up on a flight, if you are afraid of spiders then you can go to the zoo and hold a tarantula. I enrolled on a teaching course.
The transformation wasn’t immediate but it was dramatic. Going from not being able to say the words “big mac meal please” to giving a talk in front of hundreds of people in a filled lecture theatre in several painful, sweaty, nauseous, stages.
Coming out the other side of it I realised I loved to teach. Of course I still got frightened with public speaking, and I am still shy meeting people for the first time, but something switches on inside of me when I help other people understand something new. It also dawned on me that I was most energised in my IT day job when I was helping people with their computer problems. I had been teaching all along.
I ended up a consultant. Which is a kind of teacher when you think about it. Inevitably I would get drawn into programming, which is not something I enjoy any longer, but this led to co-authoring programming books and running programming training courses which I did very much enjoy. Now I help people learn blogging and internet marketing, even better!
Had I shown more aptitude for the cartooning I would never have got to this point. I am grateful I didn’t have the talent I wanted 😀
So to continue this meme, I am going to ask the following people …
“When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?” and “if things had turned out different, what might your career have been?”
Should be an interesting mix of answers, I know in particular Darren and Brian have had some fascinating career changes between them!
Don’t wait to be tagged yourself, the invitation is there for anyone to participate.