CAPTION: I set this shot up in a bar in Kansas City, MO, for a self-promotion advertising campaign I did. My assistant snapped the photo while I was sporting an Advertising Club Gold Omni Award (now called an Addy) that I was awarded in my first year in business. The Caption was, “Me. In 15 years. If I don’t do great work – today.” ©Copyright 1987, 2018 Daniel J Klein
What ’s Your Sign?
No, not an Astrology Sign. But what if you were going to put one of those vinyl stickers on your car or vehicle advertising your company or business, what would you advertise? Or in Multipotentialite terms, which one would you advertise? (Go Directly to Survey!)
This is what I’m considering (wrestling) with at this hour on this day (says a lot, hey?).
I want to put vinyl lettering and a logo in my rear Jeep windows for one area of my life/business to advertise and generate a little buzz for it. I live in Los Angeles, and so just driving around you can generate leads that way. “Leads”. Ha! I never use a term like that. We’ll call it followers, in the vein of our social media-driven society.
Then I created an Apple Pages document1 to approximate what the sticker would look like on my black Jeep Grand Cherokee (despite a few dings and scratches I am fretting about their meaning thereof). The sign looked great. A big, bright red website address – without the “www” so I could make it even bigger. And a tag line below in smaller white lettering that was catchy.
I set my laptop at one end of our apartment with a “tinted window” background behind the text and went to the other end to see if it was readable. It still looked great and was quite readable. I had my wife give her take on it. “Increase the font size even bigger.” was what she said. So I did.
So there I find myself, on a sign-making website with the lettering layout ready, the order in the shopping cart. It would be a three day turnaround and I couldn’t even wait that long to get it on my car, so I was going to expedite the shipping. The calls and emails would be streaming in, money flowing – I could buy a new leather belt to replace the torn and frayed one I had been wearing for some time (more out of habit than destitution).
This particular business was one (of many) that I was really good at – that I had won awards in; that was severely needed; and was one I got some satisfaction in helping people with. It had a highly visible and associated name with. I could even do it from my home, or on the road traveling, which is what we were planning to do.
And then I had to leave the house for a while. I left the website open through the evening while I was gone, ready to click the Purchase button at any point when I returned.
While I was out, I began to consider what it really was that I was about to do. I would be telling people they could count on me to provide a service they needed. It was a snowball that might just grow, rolling down the hill of social media popularity gaining in size and responsibility. I was about to commit to an activity – maybe even a career – that I would be spending the majority of my time on. I was also preparing to, as a result, severely curtail all the other things I wanted to do.
I was about to announce to the world,
THIS is what I do.
THIS is Who I Am.
But what about my love of photography and the business I dreamed about building around it someday? What about my cool essay writing blog that was languishing and that I envisioned creating a thriving writing business around – someday? Or that potentially profitable new music device I was talking about partnering on with a grammy-winning friend? Or what if I actually put some real effort and time into marketing and pursuing my voiceover career – which I loved doing and was really good at? Couldn’t that make me some ongoing income someday that I could do from anywhere? The list doesn’t stop there.
If you put any stock at all into the Chinese zodiac – you know, sign of the rat, the sheep, the rabbit – you have to realize you’re lumped into one big group with many others. It means you and every one of your fellow classmates from high school are exactly the same and have the same personalities and life outcomes. Does that work for you to be categorized, pigeon-holed, or labeled that way? Didn’t think so.
And even if you follow the western zodiac astrology2 signs like Aquarius (me), Libra, or the others, that’s still not accounting for your rising sign, your birth time and how the other planets were aligned. That discipline is unable to pinpoint what makes YOU tick or quantify how the path you’ve zigzagged down in life has brought you to Here and informed and equipped you to do what you do so well.
What’s my sign? I dunno. One of my closest friends is a caring pragmatist and a great provider, father, and husband who has gone a safer and more responsible route, finding smaller and alternative ways to satisfy his more creative gifts while working a job that affords him those admirable qualities. He says I should do what’s most likely to get me a steady income so that I can take care of my financial obligations first and then look at building what it is I am really passionate about. And he is absolutely right, of course. But.
Those of you fellow PuttyTribe members (putty-like, as in malleable and adaptable) know what I’m about to say. That there is something that just plain drives us to pursue multiple interests – makes us crazy and depressed and anxious if we don’t. And I believe that we might have an obligation to ourselves; to the world, even; and maybe ultimately, to our Creator to use and even indulge in those multiple talents, skills, interests, and, yes – gifts.
Where does one turn to for help with something like this? There are only one or two people that have known me long enough to have seen me excel at many different careers; win awards in them. Most of my close friends know me chiefly as a photographer, or as a writer, or only as a tech person, etc. Are there career coaches that can handle this type of conundrum? How does a Recruiter cope with multi-talented people3? What existing job descriptions work for you – might work for an employer? I certainly pray a lot about this and believe that at some point, I will get an answer – whether it’s directly from God or from Him through another person or web article or such.
In my life, I’ve known of only one job description – one sign – that adequately described my ideal and fitting position at a company. That was the position of Creative Paradox, titled, owned, and completely deserved by the late Gordon MacKenzie while he was with Hallmark Cards. Naturally, that title and position did not have any job description attached to it.
I was very fortunate to have lunch with Gordon a couple of times in the company cafeteria while I was shooting for Hallmark back in the late ’80’s. Gordon was, in fact, highly prized and appreciated for his ability to shift from designing a line of cards to designing a managers’ retreat to virtually anything that didn’t have a solution or specialized description for it. There’s a great, short interview with Gordon on FastCompany.com. Gordon’s best-selling book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, was a real inspiration to me. During our lunches, he gave me some wonderful words of wisdom which, unfortunately, have been drained from my memory by the succession of unfulfilling jobs and struggles I’ve been through since then.
Aside from only dreaming about a job like Gordon’s job ever since, I recently had a shot at a job title that might have had some potential for this Multipotentialite. It was the newly created position of Chief Innovation Officer at a preeminent independent K-12 school here in California.
As I understood it, I was one of three national finalists for the position. I was a Dark Horse, though. I had no education administration experience, no college degree (I don’t even have a proper high-school degree!), and maybe even no business applying for the position. I hadn’t ever had as much as a thought about the theme of “The Intersection of Innovation, Technology, Education” or what my Educational Philosophy was before applying for this position. It got clarified pretty fast, though! Here’s a link to the video version of the presentation I was requested to make for the 20-member hiring committee. Might be interesting to someone – I present a couple of pretty revolutionary ideas and innovations that may never see the light of day otherwise.
I did have, however, a wide and deep range of experience and expertise in many areas that might have outweighed any credential requirements. I guess that’s why I was granted a final interview which was characterized as “the most remarkable interview” they had ever had. (Shoulder shrug)
When I didn’t get the position, I was totally okay. I understood that the position might not have worked out to be what I had envisioned for it. The school had different ideas for the position than I had. And besides, my goal of late is to totally trust in the One-Who-Made-Me’s plan for me – that simply getting that opportunity might just have been to show me something about myself – and about His plan for me.
So, what’s my sign? You tell me.
What’s your sign? I’d like to know! If you don’t know what it would be, would you want me or someone else to tell you? Or do you want to determine that for yourself? Either way, it would be great to learn that secret sooner than later, wouldn’t it? If it’s too late for sooner, then better later than never, hey?
What sign am I going to put on my Jeep? Want to have some input? Check out this survey . I think your responses will probably surprise me.
- If you have a Mac and you’re using Microsoft Word, put the “L” sign on your your forehead with your fingers. I’m not normally biased about which platform you use, but this is an exception. If you want to know why that is, please ask – I’d be happy to explain or debate! 🙂
- As a Christian, I don’t endorse astrology, palm reading, tarot cards, or the like. My belief, from studying them, is that while they can sometimes quite accurately describe tendencies in our life, they can provide no predictive attributes that can prophesy what I’m truly meant for or that would supersede what God Himself has planned for me: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16 NIV.
- Just to be clear, being a multi-talented/multipotentialite/polymath, etc. doesn’t guarantee you to be a better human being than anyone else. That takes other qualities altogether, yes?