Advice Archives - JB Woodruff Design

Do you know yourself?

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Last year was a time in my life where I took the leap and left my corporate job behind in pursuit of something different, something new.  It’s not novel in the grand scheme of things, but it sure was novel in my life.  I had a taste in 2007 when I took a leave of absence to spend some time volunteering in Africa, but there was always the job waiting for me when I got back.  This time was different because there was no known future, no clear path; not exactly something I strive for in my existence.

I headed to Nairobi, Kenya to spend 3 months with 88mph to help startups.  Did I know anything about the startup world?  Not really.  I had some skills and I had some experience, but fundamentally I was for lack of a better phrase, winging it.  Turns out it’s exactly the sort of work I was looking for.

Not to get too far down that road, but this leads me to my point.  I had discovered that I never knew who I really was until I took off the blinders of my daily job.  Looked beyond the expected and the clarity.  I went off the deep end and it felt great.

When I returned home I met with a family friend whom I wish I had met years earlier.  He asked me a series of questions to help me discover more about who I am and had me complete an exercise of answering those questions for him.  Here they are:

1. What am I doing at the moment?

2. Why do I like doing what I’m doing at the moment?

3. What would I really love to do?

4. What are my greatest strengths?

Turns out I wasn’t really answering them for him.  I answered them for me and I’m hoping to use them to continue to make the right decisions as I walk this alternative path in my life.