In deciding to follow my passion, I have pulled myself out of the ‘normal’ and ‘accepted’ pathways towards success, and I’ve chosen to dive into a world that is full of uncertainties and unknowns. I don’t have an easy two-to-three-word answer to ‘what do you do for a living?’, which should be liberating and a real opportunity to enter into deep conversation instead of the general dodge that most of us indulge in with answers that fit inside a tiny little box and say no to the invitation to tell our story.
And yet, when faced with this invitation, I often squirm and look for a way to dodge out. My mind goes blank, and I hedge my answer with hidden self-doubt and shame.
Part of this is due to the fact that I am not able to point to the gross-grained earmarks of success that so many of us judge ourselves by. How much money are you making? Do you have a large client base? Are you known for your work? Are you respected in your field? What *is* your field, anyway?
But really, these questions are not meant (for the most part) to judge or demean, as my overactive sense of shame would have me believe. In contrary, they are most often just an attempt to understand who I am, and are just short-hand attempts at getting to the real question:
What is your story?
We, as humans, are story-driven, and have been ever since the first campfire, where the hunters would tell their stories of taking down the mastodon, or the shamans would recant the history of their people, or the creation of the world. Stories are how we hook up with others, and more importantly, how we hook up with ourselves. I am a strong proponent of story, and ironically I have chosen to make my career based on a world driven by stories, and yet I am finding it very difficult to tell my own story when I need to most.
And so, I find myself feeling adrift in my own life, and my direction is uncertain, but only in my head. In reality, I have a very strong trajectory and a positive story that if told with confidence and passion, can take me to new heights of self-worthiness, as well as public admiration.
Why is it that I can create stories and weave together characters and plot lines for my friends and clients with relative ease, but when it comes to telling my own story, my mouth gets dry? I think perhaps I still allow the inner critic to tell me that what I’m trying to do is a sham, but the truth is, the world is ready and hungry for my gifts and my message, and I just have to learn how to say it with pride and enthusiasm.
So, I am committed to taking up the cause of learning to tell my story. Ultimately, this is exactly what I am trying to help others do in my work. Allow me to weave a tale of excitement and adventure, and sit down by the fire, because this may take quite a long time to finish. I will use this forum as a place to help me find my thoughts, and present myself, and I hope you will give me feedback along the way.
Today, for now, let me give you the elevator speech, as best as I am able to conjure it, and I will develop the details over time, and with your questions (I am hoping).
“So, what do you do?”
I am an educator, a game developer, and a storyteller. I am the owner of an educational games company whose goal it is to build tools and services that use role-playing games in educational contexts. Role playing games hold a powerful combination of tools that best model our most innate ways of learning through make-believe, give us access to integrated environments for learning that utilize both the left- and right-minds, and provide unique opportunities for learning skill sets very seldom, if ever taught in other disciplines or methodologies. In order for both children and adults to find relevance in our ever-changing world, we must be able to utilize both our logical and creative selves, and RPGs are one such way to harness our full potential as human beings.
It’s a little rough, as I just came up with it on the spot, but I’ll elaborate as time goes forward. It’s time for me to start living out loud about my vision, most importantly so that I can remind myself of that vision every single day, and make it manifest in my work.
How about you? Do you have issues in telling your own stories? If so, leave a comment and tell me about your own personal struggle. Perhaps we can learn a bit from one another while sitting around the fire.