That One Thing…
This morning’s release of the new unemployment numbers (9.2%) made me think about a few things. Initially, I had planned to (and have written) another post about things I’ve learned in Internet Detox. That will either wait or never be published, because I’d rather briefly mention something I’ve learned in my one and a half years of “The Great Unpaid,” sprinkled with the occasional contract giglet.
I had a comfy (if stressful) gig running a non-profit Foundation. Really loved it (for the most part). When that job ended in December of 2009, I was despondent. I shotgun applied to jobs, sending out nearly 600 résumés in the six months following D-Day. I made myself into whoever I needed to be to get an interview. And still nothing came.
Then I became myself. I scuttled the one-page résumé in favor of a new “in my own words” and designed look. I halted “full-time” hunting. This came down to the most valuable lesson I’ve found, one that has helped me keep my sanity when the world weighs down on your shoulders and you feel that you have no choice but to bow down and take it up the ass.
Every single one of you has a talent. Every. Single. One. The thing you have to learn is how to find that one thing and love every second of doing it. You have to have the courage to step away from what’s expected and step forward with what is truly you. Then you have to figure out a way to monetize that. I’ve learned that if you fight hard enough, and you love the work, the monetization will come. It won’t be much, but it will build.
I’m a writer. In spite of whatever label I throw on top of it (transmedia, filmmaker, blogger), I’m a writer. Everything I do starts with the blank page. That blank page is the single most cost effective tool in my arsenal. Zero monetary investment for potential maximum return. And on top of it? I love every single second of it. Every single hair pull. Every single annoyed slap on the head. I adore it.
In May, I finally added “Paid Writer” to my résumé. This was momentous. After all these years, finally something broke. I’m not making Dan Brown income here (nor am I churning out his level of crap), but I’m making money writing.
You have that potential in you. Every single one of you. You can find something you love and turn it into something that helps you live. In spite of rosy forecasts and political mudslinging, those unemployment numbers will not rise. We are in a new economy, a creative economy, a service economy; the economy of the past is no more. For those of us with creativity in us, it’s our time.
Have the courage to prove it. Share it. There’s nothing I hate more than wasted potential. Find that one thing and love every second of it. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.