Trading Talents and Opening Up Your Skill Set

As we grow older we really never stop learning.  It can be something important such as learning how to be a husband and then father.  Or it could be something simple such as learning random factoids about life.  The word “lethologica” describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.  So, your welcome for learning something new today, and subsequently being annoyed, in the future, that you can’t remember that one word or the word (remember its lethologica!) that describes not being able to remember that one word.  So you are welcome for that!

I am not terribly sure how I want to make this blog flow quite yet.  The free eBook “Career Search Advice”, is focused on gaining employment while the blog is on a broader topic of accepting the chances of Failure every day in order to experience more out of life.   I suppose that today’s post is a little bit of both and I will try to tie the topics together whenever possible.

My parents were kind enough to buy me a guitar on what I believe was my 20th birthday over seven years ago.  That guitar befuddled and frustrated me very quickly.  It has sat as a pretentious dinning room ornament for years until this week.  I ran into a gentlemen named Doug Yeomans this past summer who plays in several bands and also teaches guitar lessons.  To give you an idea of where I am at with my guitar skills check out the video below.


I saw an opportunity to network and check off one of my goals of learning the guitar.  I realized that Doug has a great presence in the Buffalo, NY area as a Guitar Guru but that doesn’t always translate over to online mediums.  His online presence could use some help in the ways of leveraging Facebook, Google+, and video marketing.  I was surprisingly nervous but yesterday we finally met and for an hour and a half sat down and traded skill sets.  I helped show him how to optimize his Google+ Local presence and also clean up his Facebook presence.  Then he started teaching me the basics of guitar.

**I mentioned I was nervous because it is uncomfortable to put yourself in a position to learn something that some 12 year olds already understand better than myself.  I found my nervers quickly dissipated as I enjoyed the new challenge put forth in front of me.  This a case of the idea of failure, or more specifically, sucking horribly at something wanted to stunt my growth as an individual

A funny thing happened through this encounter.  I started off as the teacher and was teaching something that is very basic in my skill set of online marketing.  Then we had a role reversal and all of the sudden Doug is showing me the day 1 and lesson 1 basics of the guitar.  It isn’t that either of us is lacking ability in both areas but that we lack knowledge and practice to be informed in both online marketing and guitar play.

So how can we apply this to other facets of our life?  Lets throw out a couple of hypothetical examples.

  • Maybe you are a personal trainer that wants to break into a new field; well you already have a client base with a different skill set asking you for advice, why not work something out for a free session in exchange for a lunch/coffee of picking their brain.
  • For years everyone has said what an amazing baker you are but you work in a large corporate bank in the finance department even though your eye is on the marketing department.  Well, every first Friday of the month bake up something nice like cupcakes in a box.  You could leave a printed up card with your name and your website such as,“”.  **Don’t know how to make a website?  Learn a new skill set in the eBook to the right then!  
  • You’re a hair stylist and you talk with all of your clients and know what they do for a living.  For years you have wanted to start your own salon but you haven’t a clue where to start.  Offer a free coloring or cut for in exchange for lunch with one of your clients who run their own business.  Maybe that one client that is an accountant and can give sound financial advice for starting up your own salon for some free hair crap (I haven’t had hair in a half a decade, cut me some slack).

Chances are one training session, 10 cupcakes, or a hair coloring are not going to immediately land you the position you desire.  It is not a magic wand but a foot in the door to lead to more opportunities.

Obviously trading talents doesn’t always have to be in a way to search out new work.  Opportunities are endless if you are willing to keep an eye out for them.  I managed to make my contact for guitar lessons while at an old job doing event marketing.  Who knows, maybe guitar lessons will lead to something else down the road, but for now I am enjoying learning chords and developing blisters.


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply