Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing – Abraham Lincoln
The never less than fabulous Julie Drybrough posed a fascinating question in a recent blog post. In essence, Julie was curious to know “What’s your thing?”. Well, it got me thinking. Imagine the sound of a jelly on a potter’s wheel. That sound is what my brain felt like while I did that. I know what I say I do. I wrote an “About” page for this blog to explain it all. And I’d thought that’s sort of my thing. People probably know me best for the doodling thing. I listen, the sounds go in my ear and enter the jelly. Something happens in there. It’s sort of hard to explain. The words go through 45 years worth of experience, analogy, metaphors, stories, mythology and pop culture references and go down my arm to my hand. My hand then wobbles around with a pen in it and a doodle appears. I don’t actually have to work too hard at the doodling bit. The actual skill is the listening. That might be my thing. But somewhere in the jelly there’s a lump. A cube of pineapple perhaps. In there is a thing that somehow cuts out noise. Tunes out static and background radiation. It takes a 20 minute TED talk and finds the one idea or thought at the centre of it. It takes a day of conversations with a team of senior executives devising a business strategy and comes up with three bullet points. That might be my thing. There’s another lump. A cherry. It takes those bullet points and makes pictures out of them. That could be my thing too. But sometimes I talk. I like to think it’s mostly to ask insightful questions and not just to make ironic jibes about employee engagement. Sometimes I give advice. Sometimes people even ask for it first. Could that be my thing? There’s a whole bundle of things slopping around in that jelly. And they’re inside of me. And that jelly’s inside me too. So I suppose that’s it. When you get my thing, what you get is me. A collection of things. A whojamaflip.