…..It was in me
Do you have an outlet for all the stuff flying around in your head? Processing those thoughts can be cathartic and liberating.
Is anything in your head something that could help others?
Would it help you to get your thoughts out there?
Here’s my journey to finding my own voice and being comfortable with it.
Take a look at this sadly anonymous post about why you should journal.
TL;DR here are the headlines:
- Establish Future Goals
- Problem Solving
- Writing Skills
- A Memory to Remember
- Personal Growth
- Tap Inner Creativity
I love the concept of journalling, I even tried in my first year at Uni. But I had no idea what I was doing and what I was trying to achieve. I didn’t really know who I was or who I wanted to be. This was very private and as with many things in life, where there was no tangible measure of success or reason for doing it, it waned and disappeared.
I also tried using Tumblr a decade later, it made no sense, I talked about dreams or things I was interested in, but again it lacked any focus, while it technically wasn’t private, it wasn’t anything that anyone would want to read. I never found a satisfactory outlet for my thoughts.
Then there comes the idea of just writing things down, be them ideas, song lyrics, anything.
Did I really have anything within me that was of value? What could I contribute? Could what I have to say help anyone? What was stopping me?
History is full of enlightenments, moments of inspiration, eurekas if you will.
We all are that way inclined. We discover more about who we are, what we believe, what we stand for, what our sense of right and wrong is? It is fluid, it changes over time, and that’s a good thing. The world doesn’t stand still and fail to evolve, and neither should we.
Learning to fail and accept failures is important as well, I don’t think we learn anywhere near as much without failing.
This week, I received from my parents a manila folder of paperwork of me. They included some golden items like old gymnastics score sheets, school play programmes, certificates of achievement and school records.
It was a lot of fun to read through, in all honesty, who isn’t interested in themselves and their own history?
It was also very sobering. A lot of my school reports were broken records. I stand (metaphorically) before you a man who through his academic years, coasted. Lots of comments where I didn’t meet my potential, where I was good when I engaged etc.
My maths teacher coined the term, that I has superlative scores in some areas and then a complete lack of knowledge elsewhere.
If I enjoyed something, then I engaged and ran with it.
I hadn’t found what I could truly engage with, and so didn’t stick with anything.
Testing wasn’t something that I fell in love with immediately. It was a job that I was reasonably good at, I got to tell people that I played video games for a living and it was better than working in retail.
It was never a career……until I attended a testing conference….then I discovered all the testers on Twitter…..then I discovered all the blogs, the Slack feeds, the books, the webinars etc.
I blogged on staying relevant in the industry here.
Testers are cool, inclusive and generous people. I needed to let others know about this amazing secret I’d discovered. I had to try and give back….what was my voice?
I applied to speak at a conference…..I covered that topic here. But, didn’t get anywhere with it, actually the feedback was generally pretty positive, but I didn’t know what I was doing still. I am still answering calls for papers and one day it will happen, I hope.
So, my big change was when I changed company and into more of a role of leadership.
How do I see leadership?
I also believe that leaders should be setting an example, and walk the talk.
I began by defining my role, by asking my colleagues how they perceived the role, so that I could shape it that way.
I started our monthly test team meetings, a community of practice if you will (shout out to Lee Marshall – The Pirate Tester).
I started looking through blogs and spamming our team chat.
But none of this was my voice, this was me finding things that I liked, or agreed with, crowd sourced decision making etc.
So, I decided to start blogging….blindly. I had points of view, ways that I saw the world, and things I wanted others to know about. And so the story began.
Blogging is not easy, it is a part of me, some posts are motivated by wanting to get my ideas across, sometimes I want to share experiences, sometimes I blog because I feel like I should to maintain some discipline, it’s a good habit to have.
I posted an internal article at work, after hosting a lean coffee and in selling the benefits of doing such a thing I said.
Discussing different ideas and concepts can inspire us to try new things, they can inform us of successes and failures elsewhere, and even reassure us that we are on the right path, doing things in a way that is positive and can inspire others.
The best people quote themselves, right?
My blogging motivation went from wanting to try and share my enlightenment into the testing community with my immediate test team colleagues, and more into sharing with everyone.
If I could help just one person see this cool thing, see this cool concept, then it was worthwhile.
I was encouraged to read more around a subject matter, to find balanced opinions and engage with others.
Then comes Twitter. I was told last year that Twitter was dead and LinkedIn was the future, I’m not sure that’s the case, it’s not where I’ve found my happy place.
Testers on Twitter share so many good things, from live blogging and sharing things from meetups, conversations, blogs, conferences etc. To discussing anything from mental health issues, to Warhammer. Testers are good people, people who want to hear your story, want to share your story and want to engage with you.
Only today, have I engaged with testers over UX events, upcoming conferences, inductions, sharing book recommendations, holiday destinations and many more.
This is my story, yours might well be very different. Try different outlets. Share your thoughts, engage in the community.
Find your voice.
And send it to me, I want to see it and hear it too!!
Blog post title lyrics from: It was in me – by Avril Lavigne.
Find all the songs from my blog posts at this Spotify playlist.