When I was in middle school, my teacher assigned the book “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. I was a young, book nerd and was excited to receive yet another free book- oh the joys of middle school- so I read it as fast as I could.
I fell in love. It was gorgeous and, though I couldn’t define my intense love for the book at the time, I now know that I connected to it because the main character was struggling through a lot of the ideas that I was: How can I live a life in which I can both fit in and be different? Is true freedom a reality? How can people follow the law while also standing up for their rights?
You know- questions any normal middle schooler would ask after reading Lois Lowry.
In The Giver, every member of the town is given a role. There are Caretakers, Engineers, Food Production people, etc. My teacher compiled a list of these roles, and created a daily task for each member of the class. Food Production people served snacks, storytellers told jokes….
Even then, I was chosen as the Speaker.
The Speaker had the job of announcing the day’s activities and reminding everyone the rules of the classroom every morning.
I hope I don’t lose too much street cred, but I lived for that shit.
And to be honest no one, including me, was surprised. I was often the loudest student, and I was extremely opinionated in class because books were my passion.
To this day, when I am working on a group project, my team members look at me and ask “What are we gonna say?”
To this day, I am asked to introduce the event, to speak at the funeral, to announce the delay or to settle people down when it gets too loud.
Though I often feign annoyance in my personal life at being called out to speak, I really do find it a privilege to be called on so much. I once did theater, and have a healthy amount of narcissism that makes talking in front of people a really cool high!
My constant call to speak is something that I have used to create a freelance writing, public speaking and event planning business!
So my question to you is: What do people “nag” you about? Are you the first person they ask when they need workout advice? Do they come to you when something’s broken or to settle an argument?
Better yet: if someone needed your help, what is the first thing they would ask you for?
Though you don’t often notice it, you are daily creating a reputation for yourself as the artist or the science geek or the future CEO. By doing the things you do, saying the things you say or even wearing the types of clothes you wear, you send messages to others about how you can serve.
The takeaway is: When discovering your brand, the greatest asset you have is what people already recruit you for.
So listen to what the people want…and there’s your business. End of story.
*Just so that you know I know what I’m talking about- it’s only the first week and a half of my freelance business, and I have already received at least four public speaking offers. Know your strengths and play to them!