Something I’ve been struggling with lately is: how does one best “package” their efforts to demonstrate what they’re thinking, working on, achieving?
I don’t mean in the sense of a resume or elevator pitch. I mean, how do we point to the ongoing outcomes of our efforts, even when those efforts are still in progress?
Last year I encountered an artist who spoke to me about her “series.” To her, her series reflected the period she was in, a frame of mind, a perspective. It captured for herself, and shared to others, a manifestation of that time and effort. That made me wonder… what are *my* series? How do I capture and share them?
Like so many, I hold an innumerable amount of ideas in my head. Often, their execution is in the reconciling of differences, the linking to other patterns, the extrapolation to a new concept. Sometimes, this gets converted into execution in my work at my organization. Sometimes, this stays personal. The benefit of putting an idea out there is that over time I can check my thinking against said idea. The filter of sharing constructs temporary scaffolding to better understand. But I haven’t found a preferred way yet to “close the loop” on these efforts, to capture the value that I think I’m creating.
My guess is that for writers it’s much easier. Their sense of identity– writing– is precisely the ability to collect and share these innumerable ideas running through their head. It seems easy for founders, too. Their sense of identity– their company– is the unit that holds and shares value. But what if you’re not able to spend your days as a (good) writer? What if you’re not the fundamental team of the organization you work for? For those of us whose distillation of efforts is not directly evident– how do we successfully share the state changes of our thoughts?
In chatting about this topic, a friend suggested this approach: Who do we know from 200 years ago? How do we know about them? Likely, they’re known for: a scientific achievement, a civil / societal change, a distinctive group, a foundational business, a political act, a military battle, or the result of their art, say painting, writing, singing. There is some *outward mark* that they’ve made, some discrete outcome that we can point to.
So how do I package my ideas and ways of thinking that can be shared with and recognized by others? In absence of creating my own organization, maybe it *is* some form of figurative language that forms one’s series. But is it my own writing? A catalog of diagrams? A fostered dialogue among a group? Or some other way of packaging ways of thinking. We shall see…
Art by Wu Guanzhong