I am often prone to not seeing what, to others, may seem blindingly obvious; but, aren’t we all? Also, in my public speaking and writing, I usually talk about how, for most of us, perception can be more important than fact. I should listen to myself more often. So, once again, where am I going with this?
Well, having decided to start a new career some three years ago, I’ve found that this has proven to be more difficult than it has in the previous five changes since I left school; incidentally, a school I am about to give a talk to next month. Now, there are likely to be a number of reasons for this, among which are the austere times we live in and my belief that what you do and the standards you try to adhere are more important than your personality. The latter of these is, however, something that I have, reluctantly, come around to seeing as as daft as it sounds. Hence, the recent change of perception on my part. This came to its final realisation on Saturday at a meeting of the Professional Speaking Association, of which I am a member. Now, like most people trying to build a new business, you have to identify your market and, at last, I think that I have managed to do that. Which is where another piece of the jigsaw has fallen into place.
My skills are in quite a number of areas, so how best to describe what I do to potential clients? Well, probably foremost among those skills is my ability, I hope, to help people, especially those on the receiving end in today’s society, to realise that they have potential and identify what that may be in order to help them to develop it. This, however, is not confined just to those people. We all have talents that we don’t develop because life gets in the way. In the voluntary sector where I have spent much of my life, that would come under the banner of community involvement. Unfortunately, one of the reasons that I needed to build a new career is that this sort of work dried up as a source of income with the cutbacks of the past five years.
Well, at the meeting, the lovely Steve Bustin was giving a presentation about using the media. Among the things he did was to describe the sort of things that have moved up the agenda recently; one of which was “social engagement”. A penny dropped. Isn’t that just what I specialise in? And isn’t one of my main aims to get people from all walks of life to work together breaking down some of our social barriers? So the actuality of what I do hasn’t changed although my perception (and description) of it has. Many thanks, Steve, for that little nugget of information. It has given me just the push I needed. At which point, I touch wood.