2022 Book #1: Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

This book is truly the inspiration for what I hope to accomplish this year. Specifically, it’s the book that inspired my 2022 Goal #3. It’s a short read, only about 60 minutes front to back, but is packed full of insight about why you should simply start putting yourself “out there” more, without hesitation.

My favorite quotes from the book:

  • “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
  • “In order to be found, you have to be findable.”
  • “By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it—for fellowship, feedback, or patronage.”
  • “spending the majority of your time, energy, and attention practicing a craft, learning a trade, or running a business, while also allowing for the possibility that your work might attract a group of people who share your interests.”
  • “Online, everyone—the artist and the curator, the master and the apprentice, the expert and the amateur—has the ability to contribute something.
  • The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.
  • Forget about being an expert or a professional, and wear your amateurism (your heart, your love) on your sleeve. Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.
  • It sounds a little extreme, but in this day and age, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. We all have the opportunity to use our voices, to have our say, but so many of us are wasting it. If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.
  • Always be sure to run everything you share with others through The “So What?” Test. Don’t overthink it; just go with your gut. If you’re unsure about whether to share something, let it sit for 24 hours. Put it in a drawer and walk out the door. The next day, take it out and look at it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?” There’s nothing wrong with saving things for later. The save as draft button is like a prophylactic—it might not feel as good in the moment, but you’ll be glad you used it in the morning.”
  • Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do—sometimes even more than your own work.

About 10 years ago, I bought the domain name http://www.geekyforester.com without much of an understanding of what to do with it. I created a logo for it [just for fun] but didn’t really have any ambition or really any reason to do anything with it. What’s funny…is that during a recent conversational interview with someone applying for a role with the company and who is now a colleague of mine, they asked “Aren’t you the geeky forester?”. I was stunned in silence. What little I had done with the thing had at some level become a bit of a personal identify. Ultimately, I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it made me smile that they even knew of it. And so, I begin the journey of doing a better job of “showing my work“.

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