Curiouser, and curiouser.
I’m interested in just about everything. I even proved it once at our high school academic decathlon by coming in third—in five events. I also received one first-place and two second-place rankings (something poetic about that). Our coach labelled me a “Renaissance man.” He said it proudly, so I knew it was a compliment, but I had to look it up (probably why I came in third).
It changed my life.
I didn’t have Google back then, but whatever encyclopedia or dictionary I used probably had a similar definition:
Until that moment, I hadn’t recognized how truly interested I was in many different subjects, or that having so many interests might somehow be unique, or even useful. It was one of those eureka moments that remind us why we rightfully reserve our highest praise for educators. I’m so grateful to my teacher for helping me see and learn something important about myself.
People are interesting, too!
A few years later, I served a full-time mission for my church. During those two years I came to love the people of Scotland and the missionaries I served with. It was exciting, rewarding, challenging, and just plain fun. About eighteen months in, I had a similar, life-changing experience. My mission president, in his gentle Scottish brogue, kindly said, “You’re a natural leader. And you have a gift for bringing out the best in people.”
That’s never left me, either (nor has my occasional Scottish syntax).
So, I have wide-ranging interests, both in subject matter and in people. I’ve since learned that I’m at my happiest when it all comes together. That’s why I’m a musician, a writer, and a web developer (see Soundsmith Music). I’m also a student of American literature, living history, and theater (see Stories in Concert). My day job? I’m a marketing director, a process-improvement instigator, and a team leader (currently at DNA Diagnostics Center). I’m also a family history guru, video animator, and merit badge counselor.
Career coaches call me a “synthesizer”: someone who gathers and analyzes large amounts of information, connects seemingly disparate parts, and then reimagines the whole, adding value by creatively filling in the gaps. Call it art, operations, strategy, or pixie dust, it’s absolutely magical—and I live for it.
Marketing, metrics, and messaging.
I suppose that’s how I ended up in marketing. Some people think of “marketing” as a necessary evil—and I’ll admit, it can easily turn into selling you something you don’t need. But for me, “marketing” is not merely about clicks or sales or captures; it’s about education, improvement, and truth. It’s about knowledge and people and bringing them together. And I really love connecting good people with great companies that offer genuine value.
I like Google’s definition of a Renaissance Man (above), but as I grow older, I hope to better fit the definition offered by Merriam-Webster:
Wide interests? Check. Expert? For some things, certainly. For others … I’d say more expert-ish.
Some of you will have noticed that I only addressed 8 decathlon events. That leaves 2 more. I also earned a fifth place, in art, I think. And then there was science.
Well, you can’t win ‘em all.