Work the Middle (Subtitle: Hella Venn Diagrams)

Reflection is very important in the process of growth. Sometimes, we need to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see what we do well, as well as where we need to grow. These areas, very often, will overlap (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Where I Need to Grow

Very recently, I was thinking about my personal glows and grows and found that my strengths are in the “hook,” but not so much in the “line” and “sinker.” Yes, Sarah, I signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Voxer, WhatsApp, Medium, etc. Now what?

I have had some success publicizing virtual events, especially when they are short-term. As for the long-term, it varies. Some communities pretty much run themselves, but what about when they don’t?

Source: https://soldoutarenas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/tired-meme.jpg

Yesterday, when I was chatting with friends on Voxer, I had a showergem moment (obviously, I was not in the shower). Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to align with some amazing organizations, each with their own communities. Part of my role is to help grow these communities. So, why not introduce the communities to one another?

Simple. Obvious. Duh (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Duh.

If we are strategic in aligning ourselves with other educators, companies, and organizations that match our core beliefs, there will likely be lots of overlap in their values. Why not cross-promote and work together? Win-win-win.

Source: http://fruitachamber.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Capt.jpg

Previously, I nearly burned myself out trying to juggle so many projects at once. Like The Offspring, I tried to “keep ‘em separated,” when I should have channeled my inner Aaliyah, in order to “work the middle.” (See what I did there? Ok, maybe not.)

As my dad says, my goal is to “work smarter, not harder.” The beauty about education is that there is room for everyone! Building a community is not a zero-sum game. This is not Coke vs. Pepsi. It’s more like if Coke and Pepsi teamed up to make an amazing, mouth-watering, cavity-causing beverage. All soda junkies worldwide would rejoice in the sweet, sweet carbonation.

(P.S. I have played with this before, but not quite at this level…you can see this scaled for virtual events on The Edsquad).

This can translate to other stuff in life too. For example, I love to work out. I also love Pokemon Go. Thus, I do PokeRuns (playing Pokemon while running).

Source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/09/09/11/59/pokemon-1656997_960_720.png

I’m planning to be more strategic about looking for the overlaps and working the middle. Here’s the master plan.

  1. List out “big rocks” in life.

Big rocks, in this sense, are anything that’s important to you. I did this last night. Some of mine were loved ones, work, EduMatch, and several other organizations that I’m affiliated with. Don’t forget your interests! Some of mine are music, working out, and sleep.

2. Create hella Venn diagrams.

Disclaimer…I’m not from Cali but I’m stealing hella. Just because it sounds way better than “MAAAAADDDDD VENN DIAGRAMS!”

Source: memegenerator.net

Shoutout to a good friend of mine who recommended a tool called draw.io. This allows you to easily create Venn diagrams, and other types of charts and graphs. It also integrates into your Google Drive.

3. Find the overlaps.

Whether you make one or hella Venn diagrams, look for any potential overlaps. As a very basic example, if two of my areas are friends and music, an overlap would be to plan a karaoke outing with some friends (next Saturday, thank you very much).

Source: https://typeset-beta.imgix.net/elite-daily/2017/05/08082959/thinking-man-meme.jpg?w=748&h=448&fit=crop&crop=faces&auto=format&q=70

In my original example, I may look at where two organizations I work with may have a common interest and propose a collaboration there. Instead of working twice as hard, it will be twice as smart!

4. Work the middle.

Another thing my dad says is to “plan your work and work your plan.” My dad is a very wise man! I’m just saying.

Source: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTGrjkWFuaMYkn3K64R_jXegimRHQbdeLa3pLnEiFnXx0kdTB2A

Some productivity tools that I love are Slack (free), Trello (free), Todoist (free), and recently DaPulse (not free).

There you have it. Go forth, and work ye the middle.