For those of us who manage a portfolio of skills and services, we might take our ability to wear different hats in different jobs for granted.
I was reminded by a client last night – at the 10th Anniversary of a wonderfully talented firm of architectural publicists, Claire Curtice Publicists – that the multiple skills collated in my one person is quite unusual. In a good way. This client is one of three directors in their architectural practice of 16. He said they needed to be three to cover the range of skills required to run a successful business. Whereas I seemed to integrate all necessary skills to jump seamlessly from one facet to another in the work world.
Though this is effectively how I conduct business, it was interesting to have it noted and admired by someone I’ve worked with.
Skills can be innate, developed, learnt from scratch even. In the face of ever challenging and changing professional pressures, it’s smart to have a deep reservoir of competencies to draw on. As a sole trader, it’s an essential part of survival, and motivation. I have never been a one-trick pony, and relish in the rather extraordinary variety of projects I get involved in. (Many of which outlined on my site’s pages).
Personally, I enjoy the fluidity of a portfolio work life. I travel across industries, setting up camp for short periods of time to deal with whatever burning issue is found there. I commune with like-minded populations, and together we sort, refresh, repurpose skills needed for brands and people. Until such time my work is done, and I move on.
We all have the ability to turn our strongest skills to other uses. Perhaps you have simply yet to think of what these might be.
As an example my fluent French has served purposes I had never conceived. A few years back, a graphic design agency needed someone who knew design, spoke French perfectly and could communicate with the elderly wife of deceased Magic Roundabout founder, Serge Danot – it was a matter of sourcing original imagery, and a question of royalties the agency had been unable to arrange due to communication difficulties. Madame Danot was quick to praise my impeccable French – she actually thought I might be French – and was instantly more comfortable dealing with the agency’s requests. We resolved everything over the phone, in a few calls, and everyone parted happy. I was thrilled to have had some insight into the work of Serge Danot, whose iconic TV programme I watched as a child!
More recently as a volunteer with The British Red Cross in their refugee support service team, I am often called upon to speak to destitute asylum seekers notably from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in French. The conversations are often to do with their most basic needs for our work to write grants on their behalf. For a fleeting moment, they feel more at ease, able to communicate in a language they know – affording a glimpse of relief in their ongoing plight.
There’s always a way to repurpose our skills in response to a professional predicament or opportunity, or societal need. It starts with being aware of our strengths, and having the confidence to use them in unchartered ways.
Get in touch if you wish to learn how to repurpose your skills in individual or group workshops.
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© Amanda Yensa Manor 2016