so dave, what do you do? (or my life, on a powerpoint slide)

So more than once people have asked me what I do… and sadly the answer is never easy. All the titles I’ve heard feel a little overwhelming, mostly because I don’t think I’ve done enough to earn any of them: public policy entrepreneur, public thinker, writer… Indeed, I most often use negotiation consultant and public policy analyst – but these fail to capture the threads of ideas that I’m attempting to weave together.

Herein lies the main challenge. Because I have picked up a number of diverse threads, my life sometimes looks scattered. (Admittedly, occasionally it is). But I see the connections between these disparate areas and I draw strength and ideas from the connections between them. Consequently, I need to do better at explain these connections, and why the matter, to others.

In pursuit of this goal I’ve created a map of my (work) life. Outlined are the three main themes I focus on and then, to show how my activities map against them I’ve listed a) some of the issues I tackle, b) the organizations I work with, for or sit on the advisory boards of, and c) some conferences where I give talks. Some stuff may be missing (indeed, if you see something please send me an email or comment below).

Better, I hope this might inspire you to map your own life. If it does please let me know, I’d love to see it and link to it.

At the very minimum, I hope this leaves you understanding me better.
note: you can click on the image to make it bigger

2 thoughts on “so dave, what do you do? (or my life, on a powerpoint slide)

  1. Jeremy Vernon

    It’s a little eery actually the verisimilitude between this map and chart I drew of my own life – while visually quite different (mine was a matrix where each of your areas is expressed as a dimensionality).

    What it did, more than anything was cohere my focus and define priorities. If an activity “arc” didn’t have the right slope or gradient it wasn’t a candidate for investment until either the nature of the activity changed or the points moved.

    In other words, if I wasn’t moving in the right direction by doing something/anything I wasn’t going to take it on, no matter how appealing it may seem.

    So, any readers considering doing this it’s a valuable exercise in attention management if not helping answer the question “So what do you do?”

    “As you can see by this chart…”

    Reply
  2. Jeremy Vernon

    It’s a little eery actually the verisimilitude between this map and chart I drew of my own life – while visually quite different (mine was a matrix where each of your areas is expressed as a dimensionality).What it did, more than anything was cohere my focus and define priorities. If an activity “arc” didn’t have the right slope or gradient it wasn’t a candidate for investment until either the nature of the activity changed or the points moved.In other words, if I wasn’t moving in the right direction by doing something/anything I wasn’t going to take it on, no matter how appealing it may seem.So, any readers considering doing this it’s a valuable exercise in attention management if not helping answer the question “So what do you do?””As you can see by this chart…”

    Reply

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