As the SHIFT-IT Coach, I help fascinating individuals get their ‘it’ into the world. Your ‘it’ may have a visual component or your creativity may be expressed in other ways. Whatever expression your creativity takes, our work together is a process of helping you discover your innate signature style. Your own unique way of being the kind of professional you are and representing that to the marketplace … whether you are internal in an organization or participating externally as a solopreneur or business owner.
Pursue What Attracts You:
The first step in creating your signature style is to be courageous and follow the beat of your own drummer and pursue what attracts you. What attracts you may be very different from the environments you come from. Put aside what other people think and have the confidence to trust your own intuition and where it is leading you. You don’t have to have it all logically figured out to begin with (I didn’t), just follow your hunches and have faith that the logic will reveal itself later.
When my journey began in 1994 I followed the impulse to go to the San Francisco Bay Area and apply for a leading edge university (some would say flakey-edge!). While in school I stumbled onto the visual way of working and did an internship with The Grove Consultants (pioneering Group Graphics firm founded by David Sibbet). I built my thesis around visual ways of working and despite lots of skepticism, criticism and jests I doggedly pursued my visual interest.
Now, with the roots of those early choices bearing such ripe fruit (the visual way of working is much more mainstream) I’m having the last laugh at those who chuckled at my supposed folly back them. Other people, even if they care a great deal about you, can’t know what your soul’s path is. But your Inner Self does and is guiding you every step of the way … if you will only listen and put one foot in front of the other and follow your clues. Later those clues will weave together in a way that makes logical and even financial sense.
In creating your own signature style you will likely go through a mimic stage. Whatever your interest is, you will begin to seek out people who know about it and are further along the path than you. This stage will likely include a lot of reading, research, study and experimentation. In the early stages of developing your ‘it’ it will look a lot like others ‘its’. It’s important to be ethical in your choices about how you model yourself after others. Give credit where credit is due and cite your influences. And be mindful of where intellectual property and other boundaries are. And in this world of global communication, transgressions are usually noticed which can impact your fledging reputation in detrimental ways. Nobody likes a plagiarizer.
|“Mileage, Mileage, Mileage:|
The true road to your own signature style is mileage, mileage, mileage. As Malcolm Gladwell highlights in his Outliers book, the magic number for true expertise, whatever your avocation, is 10,000 hours.
I remember as a 20-something the hubris I had to think I could just jump in and become an Organizational Development professional overnight. As a 40-something my humility is legions deeper. It has taken many, many, many hours to develop my particular ‘it’ and many, many, many more will be needed for the next phase of things.
|“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” |
Expertise and wisdom comes with the passing of time and with the weathering of many different experiences. Seasoning is king. If you stick with it and put in the mileage, your own unique signature style will slowly but authentically emerge. One can’t skip steps. However one can learn to enjoy the journey along the way with its natural evolution.
©2012 Christina L. Merkley
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Author’s Bio: Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com and www.visualcoaches.com