Everybody has a skill. Identifying yours is your first priority

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There’s what you want to do, and what you can do already. One is an aspiration, the other lives within you. In essence everything is learned. Things which were once unobtainable become so via perspiration and commitment.

But as you stare at the screen nearing your next challenge, the feeling becomes acute. You know you’re good at some things, or at least one, but the grass looks to be greener on the other side and you feel drawn.

Crisis points come in all forms. Long term ones come after stasis in a job, or the feeling you’re treading water. It’s also relative. What may seem dramatic to you, may be small beer to a friend when you start saying, you need a career change. But everybody has a skill. Identifying yours is your priority.

It’s difficult, but having taught at Masters level for so many years and observed many students, a couple of things come through.

  1. The Network Theory. No not that one, this one. This one says find time to become part of a network, a community, or surrounded by friends. There are those that will say yes! You don’t want those. You want those who aren’t afraid to pick you up, but when necessary put you down. Your best and worst critic.
  2. Find a space, I call your “Golden Hour” when you and your thoughts are unpolluted. That is no media, no distractions. This is about your well being. Mine is typically in the morning between 6.00 am and 7.30 am.
  3. Find yourself a ‘grand mother’ or grand father’. Typically, this has nothing to do with age, but someone whom you consider wise enough to talk to. You might call them mentors. Part of the ellipses of despair is the starvation of new knowledge and interaction which you’ll get from them.
  4. Take a target — as ambitious as it is and break it down into smaller bits. I can’t tell you about the number of ex students who are now doing well through managing ambition, as a series of small baby step goals. The world may seem like it’s whizzing by you, but advance at your own rate. Life is not a race.
  5. Do what you’re good at frequently, whilst you’re looking at the horizon.
  6. Be selfless and share. It’s amazing how that payback will return.
  7. Treat yourself to something new or different. Getting out of a routine is a tonic for letting the mind think you can do anything. Today, the gym. Tomorrow, Space.
  8. Smile more…

David is a top writer in journalism on @medium. He is a visiting professor in Journalism at the University of British Columbia and heads up the digital and interactive storytelling LAB at the University of Westminster. He is the recipient of several awards for his work and counts his former students as some of his good friends.

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Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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