Remember! Don’t Wait For Your Next Audience To Package Your Experience For You
Leadership Lesson: Do not wait until your skills, attributes, and value are called upon, noticed, and appreciated by an audience, to continue building, demonstrating, and packaging what you’re all about.
We’re all performers.
No, we don’t all perform in the traditional sense of dancing, singing, or acting in front of others. But in the course of both life and careers, we are demonstrating who we are and what we’re capable of to others. Those others who see, love, appreciate, critique, deny, or pay us, among other things, are our “audience.”
Yes, this happens in relationships of love, friendship, community, and career. You want people to notice the best in you, so you can then go on in that relationship to feel your greatest satisfaction.
The toughest part of it all? Finding the right audience.
Finding the right audience at any given time is tricky because life is an ongoing sequence of refining oneself and one’s audience, trying to reconcile to the right match. Whether we’re seeking quality in a friend, a partner, a community, or a career, we never get it right at first try. It can be a sequence of false starts, and ebbs of disappointment and frustration, with flows of fulfillment and satisfaction.
And, obviously, some of the most difficult moments in our experiences are the times in between, the transition periods when we move from one audience to the next, whether it’s in relationships, job interviews, etc. We’re left at the mercy of that next audience’s impression of us, which can dictate whether or not we make a connection.
But, keep in mind, as much as we want to expect of that audience, our worth shouldn’t be paralyzed until, and our work shouldn’t only begin when, we get in front of that audience. Our work should always be on. Our desire to be better should always be fired up. The packaging of our message of who we are and what we can do should always be ready to go.
Don’t wait on anyone to move you forward and get you to your best.
I’m writing this after having spoken to a colleague who asked to talk about the frustration of his job search. He had been sending out multiple resumes to various companies seeking a position in project management, without much response to show for it. I could sense his disappointment, frustration, and discouragement.
And my colleague knows I am not a career coach, but sought my consult anyway with regard to how to stay motivated.
In my conversation with him, I sought to remind him of how much value he has gained from their career of 20+ years in the hospitality industry. There is so much any corporation with a little bit of imagination could gain from someone armed with a master’s degree in business and 20+ years’ experience working in bars and restaurants — but I’ll leave that for another post.
In this post I want to focus on, again, what people don’t recognize on their own – the true value of their path. Most of us may fall into a cycle where the value we hold isn’t harnessed or revealed until someone extracts it out of us.
So, when you’re not able to reach the audience you’d like to right away, or have to wait longer for whatever reason, keep motivated by utilizing these basic ideas below.
Keep Your Past In Mind
One of the worst things someone can do is forfeit their future success by underestimating – or forgetting — their past performance.
So many people lose sight of what they’ve done in the past – what they’ve really done. They know what their resume says, and they know the bullet points they’ve prepared, but they forget the detail, the hard work, and the moments they lived in their experiences.
What would someone say about your work ethic, your past, your experiences, if they were able to watch you when you were executing at your best in your past performances?
You need to convey that to them.
But you need to first remember it yourself in order to convey it to others.
Catalogue Your Ideas and Experience
Once you’ve revisited your past, you need to look at it with fresh eyes.
We tend to live in past experiences in those moments, and then remember them when looking back from later on down the road. But for what we need here, we need to actually relive them. You need to break down what you did with the new eyes of experience you’ve gained since then.
I guarantee you’ll view the day-in-day-out work you did then differently today than when you lived them. Today, you’ll know what lessons to draw out. You’ll know how to explain to others, in a better fashion, what it is you did. You’ll be able to spot the value and share the lessons.
Put it all together into a lesson. How would you draw your lessons from your experience? How would you break it all down and outline it?
Package Your Experience
Beyond revisiting the past and cataloguing your experiences, you then have to package it into something someone else can understand, read, hear, or view. At the very least, if you’re feeling lost between audiences, you should do this for yourself, in order to bolster your self-knowledge, assurance, and confidence.
The colleague I referenced above, when he told me what he did in the past — the various employers, clients, and consulting jobs he had had, where he carried out work in what at times is the hell that is hospitality work — I automatically started connecting how that experience could apply to the traditional workplace.
If you want to share the value of your path with someone else, it’s not enough to know what you did and tell someone. Depending on the new audience you need, you can’t just regurgitate the experience bullet points on a resume. You need to recognize your past and study your audience enough to understand how you can make the connections — and transfers knowledge — between what you’ve done and what they need.
And, at this point, if you haven’t found your audience – or they haven’t appreciated you — for yourself, then, collect those ideas. Write them down in a journal, put them together in a book or a manual, record them in a podcast. Do something that – for yourself – packages the catalog of experiences.
After going back and revisiting the past and organizing your ideas and experiences, how are you going to reflect it to others – and to yourself?
Don’t wait on anyone to allow you to be who you are — or for you to see it yourself.
Above is a basic explanation of an exercise that can get very detailed once you begin putting your pen to paper to outline how it works out for your life and what you want.
Run this by someone. Run this by your friends and colleagues. Run this by people you trust, people who will be honest with you, and those who will challenge you to be your best. Also, return the favor, and see if you can assist in their own exercise for themselves. Challenge each other!
Wait on no one’s permission to demonstrate your best.
Until you get the right people to notice what you can deliver, it’s on you to see it, organize it, and package it, both for your confidence and development today and their awareness and benefit later.
Don’t lose sight of where you’ve been. Take into consideration the experiences of the past, and combine them with what you’ve learned since then to deliver your next successes — whether that be for someone else or for yourself.