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Book Club: Building Your Brand: How 'Show Your Work' Changed My Perspective

In today's blog, I'm excited to share my thoughts on a book that not only inspired me but also gave me the push to start this very blog : "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon. I stumbled upon this gem through Ali Abdaal's book club reviews. If you haven't checked out his YouTube channel yet, I highly recommend it. His journey from being a doctor to a YouTuber, along with his insights on productivity, mindset, and organization, deeply resonate with me.


"Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon is a must-read for anyone looking to make an impact and connect with others through their work. It's not just a book; it's a guide to building a presence, sharing your journey, and embracing the opportunities that come with being open and collaborative in the digital age.

Why This Book is a Must-Read:
  • Digital Identity & Connection: Your content shapes who you are online. By sharing your thoughts and work, you not only help others but also create meaningful connections and collaborations.

  • Competitive Edge: In a world teeming with talent, having a strong online presence and a portfolio of your work can set you apart. It's about showing your passion and expertise to the world.

  • Confidence to Share: Many of us hesitate to put ourselves out there, but "Show Your Work" encourages and guides you through the process, helping you move from hesitation to action.

Top 3 Takeaways from "Show Your Work":

  1. It taught me why it was important to embrace sharing: In the digital age, the content you share is a reflection of your identity. Kleon's book empowers you to use this to your advantage by demonstrating how sharing your thoughts, projects, and insights can lead to unexpected and enriching collaborations, deep connections, and a network that's genuinely interested in your journey.

“Imagine if your next boss didn’t have to read your résumé because he already reads your blog. Imagine being a student and getting your first gig based on a school project you posted online. Imagine losing your job but having a social network of people familiar with your work and ready to help you find a new one. Imagine turning a side project or a hobby into your profession because you had a following that could support you.” 

2. It gave me the confidence to start sharing ie becoming more comfortable with putting myself out there : Before reading "Show Your Work," the idea of publishing publicly felt daunting. Questions like "Am I knowledgeable enough?" or "What will my peers think?" frequently held me back. However, the book introduces powerful concepts that transformed my outlook:

  1. Embracing Scenius Over Genius: Austin Kleon introduces the idea of 'scenius' - a collective form of creativity where everyone contributes, learns, and benefits from the group's shared knowledge. It's not about being a lone genius but about being an active participant in a community. This concept reassured me that sharing isn't about showcasing perfection but about contributing to a collective pool of knowledge and experiences.

  2. The Value of Being an Amateur: The book celebrates the amateur spirit, highlighting that sometimes, being less experienced can be an advantage. As an amateur, you're closely connected to the learning phase, making your insights incredibly relatable and valuable to others who are starting out. This realization helped me see that my perspective is unique and can offer something different from the experts.

3. It provided a practical Framework for Sharing: Kleon doesn't just inspire; he provides a tangible framework on what and how to share. My key lessons here :

Deciding What to Share:
  • Focus on the Journey, Not Just the End Result: "Show Your Work" advocates for sharing the entire process, not just the final product. For instance, if you're writing a book, share the hurdles you face, your daily routines, and the breakthrough moments. As you document your journey, remember the advice, “The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.” This approach not only makes your content more relatable but also provides value at every stage.

  • Thoughtful Sharing: Before you post anything, consider its value and impact. Ask yourself, "Is it helpful, entertaining, and appropriate for all my audiences?" This reflective practice ensures that your content is meaningful and well-received.

  • Engage and Credit: Building a following isn't just about broadcasting your work; it's about engagement. Listen to others, share inspiring work, and give credit where it's due. This creates a culture of mutual respect and learning.

How to Share Effectively:
  • Share Early, Share Often: Instead of waiting for a grand reveal, share your progress regularly. This method, called the Daily Dispatch, involves sharing inspirations, work in progress, and learned lessons. It's about making sharing a part of your daily routine, thus building a consistent and engaged audience.

The Daily Dispatch for example asks below : What are you working on right now ? People who have built sharing into their routine are taking advantage of the network instead of wasting their time "networking".
Early Stage: Share your inspirations
Middle Stage: Share your drafts
Final Stages: What have you learned?
  • Establish Your Online Space: Having a personal website is crucial. It serves as a dedicated space for your voice and work, away from the noise of social media. Whether it's a blog or a portfolio, make it a reflection of you and your journey.

  • Narrative and Storytelling: Be a storyteller. Structure your shares like a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Remember, personal stories spark associations. Make it yours by sharing what the learning means to you. Share your ups and downs; people will relate to this. Don't over-edit yourself; openly share what you care about.

Building an Authentic Audience:
  • Seek Engagement, Not Just Numbers: In the pursuit of an audience, prioritize genuine interaction over mere follower counts. Look for 'hearts'—people who genuinely connect with and value your work, rather than 'eyeballs' who merely add to your follower count. An engaged community, no matter its size, is more valuable and rewarding.

In conclusion, if you haven't yet explored "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon, grab a copy and start turning those pages — your future self will thank you for it! Please share your thoughts and book recommendations - I'd love to hear from you.


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