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Discovering my life’s themes: it’s all about Alignment

September 7, 2009

I feel like I’ve uncovered the deepest vein of gold so far during this long weekend of instrospection and self-discovery and wanted to write about it while the discovery is fresh.

As background, I’ve spent the majority of the last few days studying and applying concepts in The Job-Hunter’s Survival Guide, You Majored in What?, and Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0.  My motivation is to find meaningful connections between my vast array of academic, industry, and personal life experiences that will help me understand where to focus my career for maximum personal satisfaction and benefit to society (followed by learning to communicate this to potential employers effectively).  Before beginning this exercise, my unifying theme was something like, “I like applying new technology to help improve human life.”  Wreaking of vagueness, this statement needed an upgrade in order to differentiate myself.

What I discovered just minutes ago is that the underlying theme driving what I love to do and what I do well is creating alignment.  Why did I work like mad teaching myself Microsoft Access and creating a database that replaced the post-it-on-whiteboard process of collecting and sorting unmet clinical needs?  Why did I introduce Brightidea at my last job for soliciting and evaluating new business opportunities and innovations from our employees?  Why did I insist that my team record all their research results in Microsoft SharePoint—and then take the lead on creating the structure and process used that helped the team reach it’s conclusions and recommendations?  I observed that I’ve been using tools like this for my teams to work with for nearly a decade.  Only today was I able to distill the underlying motivation into a few words: I have an underlying passion for creating alignment in the world around me, and use my knowledge and skills to achieve this alignment.

My brain is actively making connections to so many other past accomplishments, activities, and experiences.   I’m going to predict that you, the reader, may not get the connections made above, even if you know me well.  That’s OK for now.  I’ll provide more examples as time allows (or as you ask for in the comments!).


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