Every Friday, me and the other Creative Director in our department have a Creative team meeting.
Sometimes we have someone present a new technology or some design principles. Other times, someone talks about a recent class they took or conference they attended.
But other times, we just do something a little different.
Yesterday, we decided to spend the hour bragging. Everyone was asked to share one thing they’ve done in their life that few people get to do or something unusual.
The first person who was picked felt like she didn’t have anything that fit the description. She sat and nervously thought for a bit before telling us about the summer she spent raising and showing chickens. When she was done, it became clear that what she thought was a bit silly and boring was actually pretty interesting and unusual to a room of people who’d never had any kind of experience like it.
Subsequent stories talked about a random work trip to India that ended with the person giving a blessing at a fairly well-attended Bollywood wedding, a guy who made some mockumentaries and won some awards for them and a woman who met Princess Diana while working in a London doctors office.
The last person who spoke really hit it home for me. He’s a developer from Italy who spoke of a random job he was asked to do. He said it didn’t seem like anything at the time, but by a simple cosmic accident, led him to the skills he acquired to get the job he now has here in America. He’s married and he just had his first child, and we were all left to ponder what would have been if he didn’t take that simple job.
Life is a series of small opportunities and paths chosen or ignored. Every so often, I like to think about some of the things I’ve done in my life.
Being flown somewhere for an interview or walking away from a rolled car may not seem like much or might be easy to forget, but you should never take your life for granted. Each of those experiences gives you perspective that others may not have. And they all come together to make you the person you are.
If you haven’t already, take a minute to take stock of your life. Think of the little isolated things that may not have been a big deal to you. Consider just how many people have had some of the experiences you’ve had. Sometimes, it’s not as many as you think.
RealNetworks flew me to Seattle from Wisconsin for an interview. A fairly common thing? Maybe. But how many people can say they’ve been flown anywhere by a company for an interview. No one in that room could. And it led to me now meeting great people and living a fantastic life in Seattle.
You’ve done something great and unusual. Think about what it is. Tell others about it. Make it part of your story. We all bring something new and unusual to the table. We all have our own perspectives. What are yours?