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Who I AM

  • I'm the creator of STORY in Chicago and the author of DREAM YEAR (Portfolio | Penguin). My wife Ainsley and I live in Virginia Beach with our four kids Wyatt, Dylan, Cody & Annie

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So here's the question (and I'm sure the answer is, really, Dream Year), but how do you start that process of discovery?

I'm guessing it's a combination of asking these questions (http://www.benarment.com/history_in_the_making/2012/06/the-right-questions-to-ask-about-yourself.html), doing stuff, and testing the results.

Is there something I'm missing? I'm impatient. It seems hard to move fast enough trying things to find that one thing.

Hey Ben,

I've heard you state this concept before and, while I understand your perspective here, I just haven't been able to embrace it.

I find great enjoyment in having the opportunity to utilize a variety of skills. Am I "great" at any of those things? Eh, I don't know. Could I be "really great" if I picked just one thing and immersed myself in it? Maybe. But I've discovered that the interplay between disciplines disciplines works synergistically withn me; it broadens my perspective. Is it so bad to aspire to be a renaissance man?

The more dangerous trap that I've witnessed is the person who is convinced that they're truly great at one thing (and have sometimes received affirmation from well-intentioned outsiders), when, unfortunately, they are not. These are people who can devote time and resources to a skill they shouldn't have in the first place.

I hope I'm not oversimplifying your position. Maybe that decade for you was an exploratory process that helped you towards your landing place. But even though I'm hitting my late thirties, I have this feeling that God continues to use all these things I do towards something even greater.

Powerful, Ben!

A book I often refer back to when transitioning to a new phase in my professional journey is the book "Transitions," by William Bridges. While the book touches on organizational change, more than anything it keys in on an individuals response during the transition. In gist, letting go of an 'old' identity (critical part in transition) from your previous role(s), and lay hold of your new role. If we're not careful our proclivities to hold onto previous skills (in some cases transferable), successes (in other roles),they 'way' you lead in previous roles, etc. end up hurting our current professional aspirations.

I like what you said when going through your transition, "I experienced an identity crisis." So true. Been there.

In short, the book is one I give to new team members. I find, outside of the hard skills new team members are looking to develop within their new role, is secondary or tertiary...when considering that if they can't relinquish their previous identity (professionally speaking), they will have a difficult time shining in the present.

I see this happen with 'everyone' who transitions. Some are very self-aware, and navigate the change well. Others...well, it takes time. Sometimes too much time.

Steve I'd have to know you personally to be able to look into your life and give you an accurate assessment of your gifts.

If you're saying that you're okay with sucking at some things, that you like it actually, then you're gonna hate this blog. Haha =)

You're absolutely right about how those other pursuits prepare us, but some of us never leave the classroom.

Jon if you find a better process out there please let me know. But honest conversations with multiple truth-telling friends is a great start. Writing - what I call - a timeline of the significant moments and experiences of your life is another. And quite possibly it's the thing you wish you weren't great at. It means abandoning the thing you wish you were great at.

I'd write more but I'm hammering this out on my thumbs on my phone on vacation...

Ben- I love being able to read some of your posts from time to time. Thanks for putting them out there. I really like this concept. Have you written about what to do once you find your "craft?" I am leaning towards what this could be in my life, but have no idea how to use it to its fullest potential.

Joel, i'm writing Dream Year the book now, but this is what dream year weekends are all about

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