I was thinking the other day about my work history. I realized that I’ve been in sales, in one form or another, for 40 years. Forty years is a very long time. I have over 80,000 hours logged in as a sales person. That seems like a very, very long time. I would say that, by the definition of the word knowledge, I have a practical understanding of the subject of sales and some serious selling skills.
noun: knowledge; plural noun: knowledges
1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.”a thirst for knowledge”
2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.”the program had been developed without his knowledge”
That got me thinking about the other skills I’ve acquired over the years. It turns out I have quite a few. For example, I can sew very well; I’ve made my own business suits in the past. I can build stained glass windows; there’s a house in Ohio with 3 of my windows installed in it. I’m a pretty good carpenter; I’ve built a few things here and there.
All of these are skills for which I have a practical understanding. And then I thought, so what?
I have a lifetime of knowledge and so what? What is the point of having all of this stored up information?
Everyone my age and older has a lifetime of knowledge and information. So what?
As I get older and am working out the details to making my dream of living a magnificent life a reality, I’m beginning to think about the options I may have, outside of working in the corporate world, where I have spent 31 years of my working life.
The point is that this lifetime of knowledge, we’ve earned, gives us those options. I have knowledge a lot of people don’t have. You have knowledge a lot of people don’t have. I believe that it benefits all of us when we can find a way to share our knowledge.
What I’m talking about, here, is a solo business. We can take a skill that we’ve learned and teach it to others. We can have classes, or workshops, or even seminars, or become mentors and coaches, on line or in person. It can manifest in any creative way we can come up with.
I’m no virgin to self employment. I’ve owned 3 small businesses over the last 20 years. I would open these businesses when I became burned out at my corporate job. My goal with these businesses was always to grow. I employed a total of 12 people through these businesses. The head aches of employing other people are very real.
The real benefit to a solo business, besides avoiding the employee head aches, is that we can run it any way we want to run it. We can work full time or part time. We can share our knowledge for free or charge for it. (I would definitely consider charging for it). We can go old school and create flyers and spread the news of our offerings by word of mouth. Or we can create a web site, (or do what I’ve done and find someone who will build one for us, very inexpensively).
If you’re having trouble trying to remember all of the knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated during your lifetime, here are some questions you can ask yourself to jog your memory:
-What did I enjoy doing or learning in High School?
-Which classes did I really enjoy in college?
-What job have I had that I really enjoyed? What part of that job did I like the best?
-What hobbies have I had and abandoned?
-What topics, that if given the opportunity, I could go on and on about?
-About which topics do I like to “stay in the loop” ?
-What have I always wanted to learn, but haven’t taken the time to do so?
Passion and Purpose
Here’s the other benefit to taking a look at all of the knowledge and skills we’ve accumulated. Somewhere, in that vast pool, we may find our passion and our purpose. Building a business based on our passion and our purpose has so many other benefits for ourselves besides creating a source of income and allowing us to share our knowledge.
Kevan H. Namazi, a gerontologist at the University of Texas’s Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, stresses that an important purpose will help retirees remain happy well into their eighties, nineties, and beyond. He says,“The most successful old-old people, are those who have an important connection, a hobby, or something that gives them a zest for life.”
Here’s another upside to discovering where our real passions lay. It will help us to sort all those boxes of hobby supplies, and books, and tools, and what ever else, has accumulated during our lifetime of knowledge gathering. We will know where our passions and interests still remain and we can donate the rest. Allowing us to clear out a few more messes that are standing in the way on the path to our magnificent life.
What are some of your skills and topics of knowledge? Have you discovered your passion? What sort of business do you imagine you could create around your passion? Please share. The more we share the more knowledge we gain, and it’s all about the knowledge.