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Chapter 8

Becoming you

Nurture and create
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Discover, play, practice

Throughout life and in our career, we make progress continuously as we cycle through the path of discovery, and later on, improvement. In the beginning, when we start in our own environment, it is just us, with the support of guardians from time to time. We experiment, play and create to explore what we enjoy and discover what we are good at. As time passes, we improve at the skills we learn and feel more comfortable within ourselves; this increase in confidence lets us be our best, share our work, and team up with others' talents. When we begin to collaborate with others, it feels a little daunting yet exciting. Our talent when combined with a partner, or in a team, is riveting because our strength is multiplied; when faced with any complications, we are informed and encouraged beyond the limits of our own knowledge and ideas. A new kind of confidence embraces us. One that comes from being part of a team and witnessing the value of your talent and contribution move a task toward completion, even if in ways that may seem small at first.

We learn through experiences, some of which we gravitate towards, others we create. When we are in a team, especially with skilled and talented people, we learn from them and each other. Although we, not our teammates, are responsible for our transformation, we evolve and grow with their support and presence. Our expansion speeds up when we work with others, as we discover more about ourselves, our capabilities, and new talents.

The area we choose to get better at at this stage has a different purpose. Now that we better understand the direction we are moving in, we can decide which projects and people are in closer alignment with our vision.
As we continue to play, explore, and practice, we move past multiple learning phases and progress towards our vision.
Play allows us to explore freely, to gain fundamental skills for building our distinctive foundation. Practice helps us put the skills we cultivate over time, to use. Refining our natural ability means recognising where we can contribute and being more deliberate in making progress towards our vision through our daily choices.

We do this many times in our life. Considering it this way, we are familiar that getting better takes time; it is a non-linear process composed of many experiences. Imagine many pieces of fabric being put together, each representing a piece of knowledge learnt and collected from our experiences. Each one we gather and add to our existing selection makes for a unique cloth that gets wider and used in more ways as it grows.

Persevering and practice is an ongoing discovery. At times we do it alone; in most cases, we are with others, learning with and from each other. When we explore and expand, we create opportunities to adjust, hone, and pick the most suitable device in our creative tool kit in the way it is most effective for ourselves. And when we are functioning at our best, we have more fun and are more open to absorbing knowledge from happy discoveries along the way.

Going through a discovery process with other people can feel challenging. We can't plan or anticipate what might happen. However, something we can get excited about is that this process presents unique conditions for creating. It creates a setting for talents to be combined, to witness our effort in making a shared vision happen.

When we create with others who share their unique gifts as part of a process done together, we can focus on our contribution. When we combine our unique talents with people with special skills of their own, we can focus on developing our area or specialisation. Once you understand how you can have the most impact, you can take on your next endeavour.

Zoey

Zoey has played the piano for a couple of years. Up till now, Zoey has spent most of her time playing alone, on occasion, in front of small crowds. Zoey was invited, as part of a group of musicians, to perform at a jazz festival. The group consisted of ten professional musicians playing various instruments. This experience offered Zoey a chance to practice her talent in a new environment, to take her skills and create together with others. Zoey is comfortable with her expertise, but she had never played with such a large band. With ten other specialists, how would her ability contribute to the group’s performance? Would she be confident playing on a piano provided by the venue? This performance, and the support of a team who are professionals, allowed Zoey to face perceived limits courageously. Zoey walked off the stage with the experience of what it feels like to play as a professional. Now, she comprehended that what she desired existed and she could attain it.

We get better each time we observe evidence of progress. Encounters like Zoey’s, are opportunities for us to observe others who have achieved a similar vision. We may not want the exact result, but these events may help us recognise the adjustments we need to make to move in a specific direction. Through each experience, and learning from people along the way, we gain the confidence for our next steps. This accrued knowledge enables us to work through adjustments, even if the change is small, bringing us closer to our vision.
As you gain experiences, you start to decide what you want to broaden your knowledge on and who you surround yourself with in the process.

Laurel

Laurel became interested in photography at a young age.

Following what felt natural, Laurel had fun with photography as a hobby during high school. She refined her composition skills through college while studying visual anthropology. Visual anthropology explores how we share our culture through images, such as film and photography.

Laurel combined her passion and talent for photography, with her desire to contribute images to anthropology. The images she photographed formed the visual aspect of the community interviewed; providing an authentic platform for the LGBT community to share their stories.

As we move through different stages of our development, we adjust our creative methods. We develop efficient ways to recognise how we use existing ones–especially when working with others.

Develop your authentic self continually through practice

We often refer to past learnings to figure out what may be suitable in a current setting; it might be so subtle that we don’t even notice. Our reflection lets us know when our efforts to improve, along with our continuous practice and combined experiences, start to harmonise.

When we are present and not merely showing up, self-expansion is assured. We find that we are capable of accomplishing what we set out to achieve. This gives us the determination to progress, the physical energy, mental strength, and the ability to persevere through any difficulty.

Our unique combination of talents and experiences is where we start building. This awareness helps us figure out where we are in comparison to where we want to go. With this knowledge, we can embrace what we discover about our desires.

The vision of our future has no limitations. There was a time when telephones were not wireless, and mobile technology was an idea far from possible. We now live in a reality we could not have imagined in the past, and we learn that it took many iterations and wild ideas for us to get to where we are today. It did not discourage us from our vision of a wireless way of connecting, nor should how we get to our vision dissuade us from taking steps towards it. Adjustments along the way help us be prepared and glide through the unexpected. We want to be able to see as an outcome of our effort that we are useful even in small ways. When we work to uncover what we are truly capable of, we create who we are becoming.