Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Reinventing myself, little bets, and being ok with a 6.5

Monday night, I gave my first blockchain presentation. On a scale of 0-10, the average rating was about 6.5.

Not horrific, but not great.

But  you know what? I was expecting a 6.5 or 7.  Here's why.

Reinventing yourself is difficult. It's also scary.  I find that the best way to get comfortable with big risks (like changing jobs) is getting comfortable with small risks.

I read a book a while back called "Little Bets," which greatly influenced my thinking.

I remember a story about how when Seinfeld would have new jokes, he would go to smaller clubs that would normally never get his level, but he would go there and just work out new routines. See how they felt, see how the audience reacted. He always gave it his all, but he knew that he was deliberately testing-taking little bets- to see what would pay off and, if it didn't, it was a little bet.

I'm thinking about my presentations on the impact of blockchains in the same way (which is where the comparison to Seinfeld pretty much ends).

I'm looking to develop a book of business speaking about blockchains to corporate audiences and large groups for a fee.

However, I know that to get to that caliber, I have to take a lot of batting practice swings.

So, I'm deliberately going out to speak to smaller groups (mostly for free or nominal amounts), giving it my all, and seeing what works.

It never feels good to get a 6.5, that's for sure.  But if you know that a 6.5 is about right for were you are in the development cycle, you are being honest with yourself and therefore much more likely to take feedback.

In fact, I was honest with the audience and they (I think) respected that and were very candid in their feedback and (the best part), their desire to help me improve.

So, the lesson is...if you tell people you are taking batting practice, then will understand. You still have to show them that you belong on the field and aren't a joke (below a 5 would have been embarrassing for my host and me and I was pretty confident that it wouldn't hit that), but if you are, great things will happen.

It's almost impossible to give a presentation the first time and get a 9 or a 10. And it's almost impossible to do it without a lot of practice.

That's where I am now in the reinvention.
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