I’m jealous of people who have mastered hard skills. We see a dancer and go “Wow, she dances beautifully. She’s really talented.” We can look a painting and say “Look at all those brush strokes. It must have taken forever to paint that! Impressive.”
Then we look at ourselves and think, “I can’t dance. I can’t really paint. I don’t even know how to juggle. What am I good at?”
We’re good at a lot of things. Even if those things are works in progress or not as obvious as a painted masterpiece. Today I am highlighting what I’m good at. Degrees, courses, bizarre skills aside, these are the three things about me that bring value to any environment.
1) I am a driven self-learner.
At 15 I started my own baking business. I had no formal experience except for a few classes at my local Jo-Anne’s Fabrics and whatever my dad taught me throughout the years. The rest came from watching YouTube videos, copying other cake artists’ work and just learning on the go. People would tell me my cakes were beautiful, original and delicious. Then I’d feel like I was on top of the world for a little while.
When I started Praxis, I was a millennial terrified of coding and technology. At the time I said it just wasn’t for me, but now I realize I was scared. Then I got an opportunity I couldn’t refuse and set out to build my first website for a client. I took some time to get familiar with HTML basics and realized coding wasn’t so bad. This month, I’ll be done with my first Adobe Illustrator course. After that, I’m planning to jump into more in depth studies of Photoshop and InDesign. With a little organization and drive, anything can be learned.
2) I am a clear and passionate communicator.
Fears, memories, dreams and experiences. I value these elements of the human journey above most. That’s why when I write, I try to be as concise and honest as possible. I try to strike an emotion in others that will bring them back to a memory, feeling or just something familiar. I believe appealing to the human in all of us is the best way to make people feel fulfilled, uphold important relationships (business and casual) and invoke inspiration in others.
I carry similar values in my verbal communications. I want people to leave a conversation with me feeling warm, fulfilled and safe. When I was a nanny, I met so many parents who just couldn’t find the right sitter for their family. After they’d hire me, many told me that after their first conversation with me, they knew I’d be the right fit for their family. People, especially parents, need to feel like they know you already after the first time you interact with them.
3) I am a perfectionist.
I guess I’m pulling a Michael Scott, “my weaknesses are my strengths” move. Being a perfectionist can go both ways. The times I have successfully used it as a strength, it has gotten me farther than any other skill I possess. Other times, it has fallen flat as a weakness and cost me opportunities.
I take pride in my work. Publicizing personal work is terrifying. Which means I need to feel good about what I’m putting out there. This translates into having a strong eye for details and being able to organize the steps towards reaching a vision. I realized I was interested in the visual design track when I was building websites and obsessing over color palettes, composition layouts, and fonts.
When I was asked to make a pitch video for a job opportunity, I had a very clear vision of how I wanted it to feel, appear and deliver. I had little to no experience with video cameras and video editing, but I had great friend who was. Working together, we collaborated on forming a story board, picking the right shots, and delivering the desired message. It was an amazing experience for learning a ton about a new area as well as the satisfaction of bringing an idea to fruition. I could have settled for a normal video of me sputtering in front of a camera, but I chose to go with a vision and interpretation that impassioned me.
When we value the aspects of ourselves that are rooted in authenticity, love and courage we encourage the world to do the same. I love discovering the things that make me shed my inhibitions, love more and take action with more grit.