In a nutshell, I love trying new things and if I can leverage my previous sales and business experience, as well as writing, speaking and training leadership – great.
We live in a culture where we are defined by our careers. We have all participated in the dance of discovery at a party or event where we meet someone for the first time. Most times the opening question sounds like this, “So, what do you do?”
It is the great leveler and it is how we decide who has the upper hand, the most power, the most clout, or the most interesting life. This may have had more to do with the always delicate male ego in the past but it has easily crossed the gender boundary in today’s world. When we ask the question, we want the answer to be short and clear, and preferably one word, so that we can get to our own story as quickly as possible.
The HOME page of a personal website takes the two way dialogue out of the equation and allows the owner to expound at great length about his or her wonderful qualities, experiences, and unique gift to the world – WELCOME!
At various times in my life I have answered “salesperson,” “manager,” “business owner,” “stockbroker,” “vice-president,” “house-fixer-upper-and-seller,” and the always popular, “consultant.” For the past several years I have usually listed “writer,” “speaker,” or “workshop facilitator.” This has not prevented me from enjoying some part time and contract work for various government departments while continuing to write for myself and help others accomplish their own writing goals.
One night recently my daughter asked what I would like to be, assuming no conditions, no impediments, regardless of any training, education or financial implications – just, “what would you really like to be, what’s your passion?”
“A teacher or trainer,” I replied.
“How boring,” as only a daughter can voice.
“Dad, do what you always taught us to do and dream big. If you could be anything you wanted in this world, what would you be?”
Oh, I thought to myself.
Both my wife and daughter said, “Yes, I can see that.”
I’ve perhaps waited a bit too long to become a Hollywood heartthrob but not too long to find passion and fulfillment. And I can find a connection between acting and some of my other roles. I spent over 30 years in a variety of sales and management positions, some good, some great and some; well let’s say less than satisfying. My last sales position came to an end as a result of an ownership transition but I was in my own transition, too. Sales allowed me to step on to a stage that required organization, knowledge of my customer, and knowledge of what I had to offer, and then present myself in a convincing and believable fashion. I had already published my first book and was working on my second when that curtain came down.
I am happiest taking on leadership roles in work, leisure, and volunteer activities which naturally led to many opportunities to speak to groups as big as 5,000, on one occasion, in Berlin. I like doing that – maybe it is the power or the control but it is always a great feeling to accept the opportunity and then find that people have become motivated, inspired, or simply entertained by my words.
I felt uncomfortable replying “writer” when asked what I was doing because it implied that I had been doing it for my entire career. However, I began to realize that when people asked about my work and they heard the “writer” word, they often shared their own wishes to do the same. Many expressed their frustration with writing attempts and I began to shape an opportunity to help others realize their own dreams of becoming an author.
The entire book and publishing landscape is undergoing enormous changes as everyone involved tries to determine how to move forward. In the meantime, tremendous opportunities exist for aspiring authors to make their work public through the digital world. It really is true now; as the bard said, – “all the world’s a stage” – and the whole world is open to someone courageous enough to put their thoughts into a book.
This reality has moved me into publishing a third book about how to write a book and on into presenting workshops to groups who wish to author their own books but need a bit of guidance and occasionally, some one-on-one coaching, to get their own book written.
This may be a good place to report on my friend and hiking partner from my first book, “THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time.” Gord was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and passed away on September 22, 2013. It is difficult to put into words the mixed emotions and feelings of losing such a good friend. I was honored to be asked to present a tribute to that friendship at his memorial service on September 26 but his passing leaves a big hole in the lives of many. Please allow me to repeat my closing words, “Happy Trails my friend. It was a helluva an adventure.”
In a constantly evolving world, I must admit a love hate relationship with technology (perhaps this website is a perfect example) but the changes brought on by the World Wide Web, and the hardware and software developed to harness it, are nothing short of mind boggling. The entire world has been opened to anyone with “access” and I embrace all of it. I just wish that people in third world countries and those in closed societies had the same ability.
Sometimes, I am a bit jealous of those people who can answer the “what do you do” question in one word – doctor, engineer, lawyer, etc. But, I must admit that I cannot imagine doing the same thing day after day throughout my life and so I continue to indulge a variety of interests and passions, never losing sight of the fact that being a “bad actor” will always be a proud period in my life.
Bob at RobertjBannon.com (written like that to avoid spam)