This is part two of a continuing series in which I pull back the curtain and reveal some of the wackiness, triumph, tragedy, and a whole lot of ‘huh?” as I make a frightening and risky career change.Without further ado, the second part of “The Teacher, Who Thinks He’s a Fraud/May Be/Probably Isn’t, And The Magical Tale of Him Putting His Ass Out There While Risking a Pretty Damn Happy Life So Far”:
Whenever trying to make a new connection, sell something, or get attention of any kind it is vital to have a story that resonates. Even better if your tale is memorable AND can be told in a minute or two.
This is basically the idea behind “elevator pitches,” stories that entrepreneurs and start-up companies use to woo investors, board members, or co-founders. The pitch is quick and compelling, and aims to convince that an idea is viable, unique, and quite possibly, THE NEXT BIG THING!!!
My personal elevator pitch, as I try to convince someone to hire me, sans experience and all, has continued to be, “Yes, I don’t have a Marketing Degree/MBA/Certificate of Completion from the University of Phoenix… Buuuut, I do sales/marketing/business leadership everyday as I trick teenage boys not only into reading Shakespeare, but also into actually, possibly enjoying it.”
This works sometimes, most of the time, not so much.
So, I have another story that wins folks over and convinces them that maybe, just maybe, I may be a risk worth taking.
This story is called “The Contest,” and it is tale full of stress-filled Google Chrome re-freshes, LinkedIn connection pestering, and twitter twit-tweeting.
The tale begins with a somewhat risky, yet pretty innocuous comment left on the blog of Tim Ferris (who is a guru of many things, but mainly, the number 4). Ferriss had handed over his blog for the day to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and blogger Ben Casnocha to discuss risk, career change, and the idea that one could apply entrepreneurship ideologies to one’s own life. Hoffman and Cashnocha were promoting their co-authored book, The Startup of You, and were offering mentorship and a whole suite of prizes to whomever them deemed to be taking the biggest career risk.
My comment, among the almost six-hundred left on the site, told what I thought were the riskiest aspects of leaving my teaching career: loss of ‘stability’, passing up an opportunity for my kids to get a very expensive private school education (think what you paid for college and add $10,000 to $5,000), and the ability to pay bills, a mortgage, and two car payments.
I left my comment, didn’t think much of it, and moved on.
Then, in late August, I get this email:
Thanks for your comment on the 4HWW blog on risk.
We’d like to feature your story as one of the top 3 comments from that post — can we include your photo (from LinkedIn profile or otherwise) alongside posting your comment?
Let me know ASAP.
Co-author, Start-Up of You
I mean, pretty cool, right?
What I hadn’t realized was that I wasn’t just one of a “Final Three”, but was involved in a battle to the death for … what again, oh yeah, a great mentorship opportunity! (Exclamation points have lost all power, trust me, I teach English, and my students have no idea what the word emotion means never mind trying to have them identify it in writing!)
It was in the next month that I realized the complete and total addictive nature of the internet and social media, and, probably annoyed a whole bunch of people.
Next Week (Maybe): Part 2 of Part 2 (HA!) Aptly titled, “The Contest?!? – Part II”