Develop a Unique Voice: Assignment from Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course

Lecture 44: Exercise

Archetypes-SethGodin

Question: If you could chose an archetype or extreme (edgecraft), what do you want your brand or work to be known for? 

  • Helpful
  • Giving
  • Fun
  • Humorous
  • Informative
  • Supportive
  • Warm
  • Trustworthy
  • Exciting
  • Powerful
  • Generous
  • Inspiring
  • Unstoppable
  • Possible

Question: List 5 ways that you could express these attributes:

  1. Sharing as much information as possible with readers/listeners.
  2. Encouraging audience to share information with one another – to be a community.
  3. Make processes towards success feel like clear and attainable goals for audience.
  4. Make audience feel like being who they are and making a living doing so is more joyful than stressful.
  5. Offer them stories about people, from a similar demographic as theirs, who worked there way towards their path of truth which lead them to success.
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Who are You? Assignment from Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course

I just enrolled in Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course on Udemy for a discounted rate that seems like a steal.seth-godin-marketing

In response to the first assignment, which is exercise 5: Who are you?, my replies are below.

Seth suggests: Do these exercises online, in public. Blog them or put them on Facebook. Speak up. Speak out.

Question: What do you want to do? (Not your job, but your work, now, tomorrow, and in the future)* Who do you want to change, and how do you want to change them? *If you’re having trouble answering this, you’re going to have trouble moving up, because you’ve abdicated your dream to whomever walks in the door next

 I want to write, to blog, to podcast and to help others. I want to interview successful freelancers and entrepreneurs in order to understand their common threads, and then I want to simplify that formula and share it with an audience who might not have believed they could do the same. Once the formula is broken down, the dream seems attainable.

Question: Who do you want to change, and how do you want to change them?

Anyone who needs to feel empowered, but right now my heart is leaning towards specializing in the mother and maybe the single parent demographic because this is where I’m at currently. 

I have a deep thirst for having a more flexible schedule for my daughter, I want to show her that we can be successful as creatives and I want to have more streams of income for us. I know there are so many like me out there and we need guidance. I hope to mentor others in this category one day.

I want them to be changed by feeling capable, informed and transmitted into our new reality of where income can be sourced from. Then, they will share, too.

 Question: How much risk? (from 1 [a little] to 10 [bet everything]), how much are you willing to put at stake to make the change that you seek?

Risk almost always feels like I won’t be able to pay the bills at the end of the day if I dare take one. That’s always been my obstacle. I grew up below the LICO (Low Income Cut Off), so security has always overshadowed dreams, art, creativity and success. Take the job, get the bills paid and sleep well that night. Repeat.

Now that I have a child, the thought of poverty is choking. The thought of not living my truth hurts almost as much.

Take away that immense fear obstacle and I’d risk at level 8. With that fear, a 2. Maybe those numbers are actually higher because I’m surely risking getting fired every day by being complacent.

I’m willing to give away any toxic relationships and/or time with anyone who isn’t supportive or open-minded.

Question: How much work are you willing to do to get there? Be specific about the details.

When I consider how much I would love what I’m doing and the positive impact it can have, the answer is a lot of work. It wouldn’t feel like work. I’d be quite unwilling to take away from my precious time with my little one, but I can put in time while commuting, at lunch, at night, during peanut’s naps and I may be able to squeeze in some research during work. Wink. Wink.

Question: Does this project matter enough for the risk and the effort you’re putting into it?

Hell, ya. It seems as if there is no better time than now for creatives to make a living. Our platform has arrived. Anything we want to learn is at our fingertips. Almost anyone we want to reach out to is online; it’s as though the six degrees of separation is now two – maximum three degrees.

I’ve waited 42 years to start believing in myself – that I have value to offer to others. It’s risky, but it feels so right and effortless because I love the process.

Question: Is it possible – has anyone with your resources ever pulled this off?

I believe that many with less resources have pulled this off. Maybe they were hungrier. Maybe they were better executioners. Maybe they had a higher self esteem. Maybe they were smarter. Maybe they were more focused. Maybe they were foolish. I don’t know, but I plan to find them and ask them to be generous enough to share their stories with anyone who will listen.


A Lesson from My Bosshole’s Boss

BossholesBoss1

Other than the fact tsecret you’ve been enabling this jack*** for years, we totally respect you sir. I swear.

If you’ve read a previous post about my bosshole, you know a little of our history. If you haven’t, that’s ok – here’s the short of the long: he’s an arrogant, alcoholic adulterer. Otherwise, I like working for him. Really, he has some redeeming qualities that make him tolerable sometimes, such as his pleasant, humorous demeanor during his current health stint where he hasn’t drank in two weeks. What a hero.

I digress.

I have been admittedly distracted at work for various reasons; I’m going through a drawn out break-up with my spousehole, I’d rather be writing or something equally creative for a living, and Bosshole has really been getting on my nerves these days because it’s becoming increasingly harder to hold him in high esteem. Our mutual boss, who we’ll call “Mr. Slate”, caught on to my mood last week and was kind enough to take me aside to ask what’s up my craw. I tried to dance around it stating I wasn’t challenged enough at work lately, but he saw through me like Wonder Woman’s airplane. And then the secrets that I’d been holding onto for three years came out like a tsunami. I told him everything about how often Bosshole shows up at the office wasted to the trips he takes with his HR mistress all courtesy of the company. Initially, I felt such a douche for ratting Bosshole out. I felt like I was weak for not being able to contain myself; for leaking like a sphincter after an Olestra binge.

But then the relief came. The quandary is now Mr. Slate’s to deliberate, not mine. The itchy monkey on my back had been ejected. Hallelujah.

People on Quora, including an HR professional, had advised me to seriously consider quitting when the behaviour of such a person as Bosshole is tolerated. I tried and the job hunt didn’t go so well. For now, I’m glad it didn’t. All I had to do was drop the holier-than-thou loyal assistant nonsense and just tell someone with integrity the truth. I wish I’d done it a long time ago, as it would’ve spared me months of internal grief. Other people’s sullied secrets are the baggage of the subservient.

Mr. Slate promised that he’ll never throw me under the bus and was empathetic about what it must have been like for me to have to deal with day in and day out. He also said it wouldn’t be a witch hunt on Bosshole – just that moving forward he’ll keep his eyes open. But then he mulled over it over the weekend and started feeling foolish for not noticing all of the signs of the drinking and affairs. He subsequently came in on Monday morning ready to tear Bosshole a new ***hole. That’s when I got motioned into a private room for a cautioning (so principal’s office like).

“You know, Imu, there is one thing that’s been bothering me all weekend and I lost sleep over it.” <stomach drops> “Shame on you for getting so buddy buddy with Bosshole that he felt he could divulge his infidelities to you. Do you understand the message here? What are you doing putting yourself in a position where he confesses his sins to you? He’s your supervisor, not your friend. Make the line between you very clear. It’s not just professionally shrewd for managers to not get too up close and personal with their subordinates – the same goes the other way around. Look at the load it put on you. I hope I’m not speaking out of turn. It’s just that I value you, you deserve to be respected and you should require that of others.”

Duly noted, sir. Duly noted.

 

The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep. – E.W. Howe

How to Turn Your Bosshole into Your Muse

bosshole2

Er, perhaps switch to white wine, sir.

I have a bosshole. He has some redeeming qualities, but his faults have been screaming so loud lately that I can barely concentrate at work.

What makes him a bosshole? He has a drinking problem, becomes arrogant when intoxicated (the guy likes his long lunches), he is having an extramarital affair with a colleague (his second co-worker that I know of since marriage) and has become so vocal about his cynicism that it’s demoralizing. It’s been so hard to ignore that I even contacted the company psychologist to try to learn to detach from his idiocies.

Today I decided that enough is enough. I’m not the moral police. I wasn’t hired to judge this guy. I will just allow him to dig his own grave and promise myself to not be here to go down with his ship. Now his bossholeness and wine teeth will be fuel to start my own venture; he will be my muse.

I have been doing a load of research lately on lifestyle businesses, listening to podcasts, have joined facebook groups with like-minded individuals and am doing a lot of interesting reading. It’s all so inspirational and it’s time that I delve into a success plan, so I’m going to take a leap and talk about one of the things that I want to do.

I am going to find entrepreneurs within my demographic – those who have started from nothing, who didn’t have handouts, and who perhaps made some major mistakes along the way. Converse with their humble beginnings, they realised that there was something out there that gave them a charge, something out there that they could share with the masses, and then they took that idea and rose above their cubicle like a resurrection to bring it to life. Did you hear the heavens open up when that last sentence ended? I know, I know – you also want to be that person with the gumption to do what they did. That’s why I’m going to find them, interview them, study their formula and give it to you.

There. I said it. Now I have to do it. I’ve never interviewed anyone before. But I will. I will trip while doing it, but at least I can say I tried.

Maybe you also have a bosshole. Or a spousehole. Whatever kind of ***hole they are, rather than being your deflation, let them be your inspiration.

The Straw That Broke the Subordinate’s Back

thestraw-twit

Grin and bear it. For now.

What is your maximum limit of capacity before you break? How long before doing something about your work problems becomes your number one action item? What work problems? The problem is that you’re working for someone else and you don’t really want to be there. That’s our common denominator.

My back isn’t quite broken, but I can feel that if the cracks keep on crackling, I may do something rash like accept one of the other job offers I’ve received instead of holding out to start my own venture. If I do that, then I won’t have the time that I pilfer in-between my work projects to plan my exit strategy. If you’ve been at your current job long enough that you know your tasks so well that it feels like you’re in a hypnotic trance by the time five o’clock rolls in, then you can find time somewhere in there to map out your future. Stay there long enough so that you can squirrel away some knowledge, a fistful of start-up cash, and enough clients/dependable income to sustain you.

I have always wanted to do something other than what I was/am doing for work. Year after year. Paper push after paper push. File after frigging file. Ditto for you, right? My straw started to splinter during a performance review with my boss, which was going swimmingly until I told him that I had planned to apply for another job within the company, but due to a change in my health, I decided to hold off until things were more stable. His swift response was, “Oh, you wouldn’t want that position anyway…it’s not a cushy office job.”  <insert car crash sound effect> Knowing that my reaction could profoundly influence my upcoming bonus, I had to swallow that jagged pill immediately.  After years of working for this guy, my suspicions that he has no idea what my capabilities are, outside of being his underling, were suddenly validated. Therefore, he will never promote me. We have two choices in this situation:

  1. Accept it and get peed on through to retirement, whilst wearing a bogus smile all the way. If you choose this, you are also opting to renounce your right to ever complain about it.
  2. Pretend to accept it and use your time wisely to find a source of income that feeds your soul.  If you chose this and actually work towards it, you earn the right to complain.

You may think I don’t like my job and boss. That’s simply not true, but since said review, a lot more splinters have surfaced – some almost too painful to turn a blind eye to. These are the pesky reminders that I need to gear for above selection number 2.

Fellow cubicle conqueror, how is your straw looking these days? Please share your story.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

– Maya Angelou

Cubicle Interrupted: Let’s Resolve to Resign

I’m in my early 40’s and am still trying to find a way to be myself and get paid for it. Now that that has been typed, it seems kind of desperate.

I’ve been doing months of research about marketing myself – how to doll up my skills into a product that everyone wants to buy in order to start my own business so that I can flip the bird once and for all to my day job. However, I’m starting to question the legitimacy of this whole, trendy “personal branding” shit and am leaning on just being myself instead in order to validate to others, like you, that being our creative selves is enough. Sugar-coating our true identities and proficiencies will inevitably combust. Magna est veritas et prævalebit.

Cubicle Interrupted is going to be an experiment in formulating an exit strategy to rise from employee to entrepreneur. An accountability experiment in being ballsy* enough to choose ourselves. And in the meantime, also a place to pen survival tips/office hacks while we’re still minions because we do need to try to stay stimulated in order to maintain our sanity, as well as upholding some pride in our work so that we don’t get fired before we quit.

Join the exodus. Undoubtedly, it will be your most richly deserved celebration when you do it, finally. Our call to action: Let’s start planning our party immediately.

*Would “vagi” be more fitting? After all, their elasticity combined with their post-childbirth resilience seems way tougher than balls, no? Vagi it is.