* Disclaimer: This blog post has absolutely nothing to do with my usual rambles on PPC, but does — in an unusual way– describe my current feelings toward our industry. You’ve been warned
Lately I’ve realized I’m a lot quieter than I used to be. I know some of you are thinking—”but you never shut up!” Okay well maybe just my office mates are thinking that, but I don’t mean that I say less; I mean that I’m quieter. Sure I tweet, I blog, I email, I update, I give interviews, presentations, feedback. I do all of this communication, but I don’t hear as much of me in it anymore.
I’m not sure what it is really. I’ve spent the last two weeks or so freaking out about it. I’ve been having one of those annoying late-twenties dialogues with myself where I ask myself things like,
“Am I doing what I should be doing?”
“Am I spending my time on the right things?”
“Am I being true to myself and the dreams I once dreamt?”
Yeah, yeah I know. It all seems like silly huge stuff you could easily get lost in. But it’s been rough. All of this existential stuff can really wear you out to be honest. Over the past couple weeks I’ve started running more just to be away from the computer at night, just to revisit something that I consider to be a great escape from it all. And during the many miles of rainy Seattle weather I have ran, I had a few different thoughts as to, “Why do I seem quieter? Why do I seem less me than before?”
Some of the answers:
(1) leaving my entrepreneurial life behind (not constantly defining yourself by one project, that I owned and lived for, can be quite a growth experience, especially after having let it define you for two years)
(2) changing my physical location (as most of you know I’ve had a hard time leaving LA for Seattle, even though Seattle is amazing, part of me does seem a bit lost up here)
(3) moving in-house for such a well known brand (I think coming in to something that is so well-defined can sometimes make it easy to lose yourself in)
(4) this industry is expanding in every possible direction, all at the same time (I find myself constantly communicating, but not necessarily any of my original thoughts)
I honestly think this last one is the one that resonates. I actually think our industry specifically exudes this nature of consumption. If you aren’t careful, it can easily consume you– your time, your thoughts, your voice. Don’t go getting all defensive friends, I don’t mean the people, and I don’t mean the projects, or the evolution of it, or the amazing energy that surrounds it. I mean the fact that this industry truly is so large, and continually growing.
This industry we all love so much is a never-ending opportunity. Daily I read your tweets. We are all getting offered jobs, getting told about new gadgets, repeatedly reminded we are in the middle of a revolution, and we are told time and time again–the sky is the limit. I find this to be the strangest paradox of all. Our industry is founded on passionate workaholics, and we have now built something that demands the utmost passion, and let’s be honest– no one lazy makes it. Thankfully, in my opinion. We are reading stories that remind us anyone who works hard can accomplish anything. I love this. I love that that in our industry if you are willing to give it everything you have, the dream will return the favor.
On the flip side– uhm whoa. Seriously. Read it again: Anyone who works hard enough can accomplish anything. That’s a consuming reality.
That wasn’t always the case (as my dad likes to remind me), we are in a new era of unlimited opportunity, and the excitement, and the options, and the resources, and the advice, and the tools are all dancing around us—begging to be utilized for our own benefit—whatever benefit means to you.
I think this is a huge reason I’ve become somewhat muted, and frankly it kind of pisses me off. This is not some post where I am going to swear off Twitter or the web, but I did feel propelled tonight to bring up this idea of saturation. I find myself so excited about everything that everyone is saying that I can’t stay focused, and I constantly feel inadequate. It’s a new age of exhausting potential—something we have all dreamt of and helped build. Now that it’s here, I find myself a bit scared and too blinded by it all to really enjoy it sometimes.
So what now? Well I’m not so sure this post was started with a real conclusion in mind. However, I did have a discussion tonight with a close friend that reminded me how important it is to let things go. Normally I only use that phrase when I talk to girlfriends about their horrible ex-boyfriends, ha. But I’m beginning to see another use of it… I need to learn to let things go. This isn’t because they were bad, or malicious, but simply because there is so much more staring at me, and those things are better worth my time.
Call it growing pains but I’ve never been that good at letting go. I’ve always been proudly defined as someone who never lets go, who always works that much harder at making it work, who is willing to go the extra 100 miles, screw one mile. Instead, I think it’s time to rethink that. Learning to rethink the way you’ve always approached work and life is certainly going to be a challenge.
I’m kind of up for it though. If it means at the end of this, I will rediscover the me that loved to give opinions, and felt comfortable in where they originated, I think I’d do pretty much anything to get back there.
Anyway, my breakdown for the year is all yours to contemplate. I wonder if we will see more and more of this as the plugged-in culture grows? I wonder if more and more of them will find it challenging to make any noise when surrounded by so much of it?
I suspect this will be the case. My advice, and my personal goal? To stop allowing so much noise to surround me. I’ll be letting some of it go in an attempt to distinguish my own voice in it all. This should be interesting, wish me luck…