Starting the year with uncertainty

I like to write. To share. To find interesting things and get them to you. And I’m always looking for ways to improve what I do and how I do it. 

This week I started something new. Weeknotes.

I’ve written about open working and the importance of putting everything into the public domain. 

Simply put, “Weeknotes are notes about what you’ve been doing at work this week.” You’ll notice that link is to Catalyst in the UK. Love their work. Especially the open working stuff.

So I started their Weeknotes sessions this week with Joe Roberson, who wrote the article linked above. It’s a set 30 minutes per week of going through the Weeknotes process. 30 minutes focused on reflecting on my work. And then sharing it. There are different ways to approach Weeknotes. We approached it simply: writing about the good, the bad, the ugly of the previous week.

I wrote about what I’ve been thinking about this week when it comes to my consulting work.

Sharing is important. Weeknotes is a technique focused mainly on sharing within a team, project, even with funders. I’m a solo freelancer. So I feel like my network is my team sometimes. So I’m going to share with you. For the next 13 weeks I’ll be writing and reflecting. And sharing. It will look a bit different from the other stuff I write and share.

Today’s first Weeknotes session felt like journaling. I’m putting myself out there a bit. We’ll see how it goes…

Here’s my first Weeknote.

What I’ve been doing

My consulting work over the past couple of years has been incredibly satisfying. I’ve been doing interesting work that I’m interested in. Work that seems to have been a priority for others. I’ve had many opportunities to speak, present, write, and convene people in the sector. It’s all felt like the last 30 years of my work and experience has come together.

I’ve been part of some meaningful research and sector-wide convening. And I’ve done a good job ensuring inclusive participation across the diversity of the sector. Sharing useful resources and practices from others. I’m good at that.

I launched my KM4S site in 2019 after wanting to launch something like that for some time. It’s work I’ve tried to have funded, but haven’t been successful at getting that funding. In many ways, I see my paid work as paying for that side project.

  • I’ve done well for the most part. 
  • I’ve learned a lot. 
  • And I’ve been lucky enough to be busy. 

I’ve taken on work and projects around digital transformation that I don’t always feel completely comfortable with. I don’t always feel like I’ve got the knowledge or expertise. But I’ve been busy enough that I can refer work I don’t think I’m the best at to other consultants.

But it nags at me. I’d like to find ways to get paid for the knowledge mobilization work I love the most.

What I’m not sure about

The last 6 months or so have felt different from the previous 2 and a half years. 

  • I’ve felt like all the work and momentum of work and projects I’ve worked on have fallen back in priority. 
  • On the side burner. 
  • My work has impact. 
  • I think. 
  • I hear from some folks that it’s meaningful to them. 

But for larger sector influence and change, I feel like I’ve fallen out of favour or something. 

  • The sense or larger impact has waned. 
  • I’m not sure if my work is the right work. 
  • If I’m reaching the people I need to reach. 
  • If what I’m doing is what is needed.

I definitely hear from some folks that my work is meaningful and important to them. And I need to continue focusing on those voices, and not worry about the bigger picture. 

But this too nags at me.

  • I’m not sure. 
  • Because the bigger picture matters so much. 
  • I’ve been doing this work for 20 years. 
  • And it felt like there was some larger impact. 
  • I’ve joined and been learning from responsible tech communities. 
  • And while I don’t know what my role can or might be in those communities, I’ve benefitted from them.

I know that what I really want to be doing is what my side hustle is. 

The knowledge mobilization. 

I don’t know if that’s fundable as a consultant, or if it’s something I need to go back into an organization to do. Maybe I need to take on some content and communications role in an organization. 

I’m not sure.

Discipline vs motivation

This notion of discipline in my work and personal life is something I’ve always struggled with. 

  • I’m lazy by nature. 
  • And I usually regret it. 
  • Whether it’s lost opportunities, an idea I didn’t run with that in hindsight would have been useful, or important, etc.

It’s why I finally launched KM4S. 

  • And being disciplined in keeping that up to date has been a labour of love. 
  • I feel like it’s becoming a place where people can find good information and resources that can help them in their work.

Now I need to find a way to monetize that work.

While I feel excellent in some ways, I struggle with imposter syndrome. 

  • I’m not sure why, though. 
  • I’ve generally been honest about what I know and don’t know, what I’m good and not good at, etc. 
  • But I sometimes feel pressure to be more or know more than I know. 
  • But I also share what others know and share, in particular instead of what I know, so that folks in my network at least have something to learn from or refer to. 
  • So I’m not sure what my issue is, but it impacts the discipline/motivation challenge.

When I feel like the imposter, I tend to lose motivation. That’s been happening this first week into the new year. And it’s stopped me from doing both some paid work as well as the side hustle. I need to work on discipline and just doing regardless of motivation.

So back to monetizing the side hustle. That’s gotta be a focus early on in the year. 

  • Maybe having some conversations with folks to find out how they do it. 
  • Build some more skills. 
  • Join some more networks. 
  • Create some consulting packages. 

Figure out what my value is. And then how to package and pitch it.

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