When I first read John William’s book Screw Work, Let’s Play I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. There was a name for someone with my disease and it’s called a “scanner”. For years I had thought that there must be something wrong with me, the fact that I have multiple interests, I write 3 blogs on completely different topics, I’ve never felt fully satisfied just having one single focus in my career. Apparently there are loads of other people out there, my people, who suffer from the same affliction. But there is a way to conquer this disease and it starts by reading Screw Work, Let’s Play.
Catchy title, no? Intrigued, yes? This book is all about dismissing the notion that there is one single thing/career out there for you and if you just find it you’ll be happy. Have you ever met someone or have you ever introduced yourself as “I work in X, but I’m really Y?” You may be a scanner too. The phrase scanner was first coined by self improvement guru Barbara Sher but John has built a whole cult following around the concept and runs monthly scanner events in London so people can embrace their multifaceted selves and learn to just play for play sake. It really cuts through the whole notion that work is hard. Work is not hard, play doesn’t mean you should have to do it for free, and actually by playing at your strengths you’ll develop activities that will lead to your first “play check.”
When I read Screw Work, Let’s Play a light went off for me. I finally understood a very important part about my motivation and talents and how to use them rather than fight against them and more importantly to stop feeling bad about myself for being different from my colleagues. By embracing the scanner within me, I could finally be myself and not feel ashamed.
In the month of May this year I decided to embark on the 30 Day Challenge. This brought 200 scanners into an online community where we all committed to “playing” for 20 minutes a day for the whole month and completing 1 goal. Committing to 1 thing for 1 month was like torture to me at first. I just couldn’t decided what to focus on. Ahhhh focus, cringe, my blood runs cold just remembering what it was like picking 1 thing to focus on. In the end, the day before the online community opened I decided (aided by my good friend the career coach) to completely overhaul my travel blog Kat’s Travel. When I set the blog up last summer I put absolutely no thought at all into the name, branding, what it was about (except for travel). I just simply logged into wordpress.com picked the first blog template that didn’t offend me and poof! Kat’s Travel was born.
After spending a minimum of 20 minutes a day for a month on creating a new self hosted wordpress site, I turned this:
The Dual Life is quite a big improvement I think. And I’m wicked proud of it. Wow, if I could do that in a month, just think what I could do if I “played” 20 minutes a day every single month! Sky is the limit! Sadly on the back of the May high, in June I fell into old habits of just coasting along and playing but without any real direction. And while you need to do this from time to time to recharge the batteries and jump start the creativity, I found it hard to get going again. Then I got introduced to Play to Win a spin-off of the 30 day challenge. It’s less intense, but I’m still committed to playing for 20 minutes every day.
This month I’m playing at blogging without caring what others think. It’s a lot harder than you may think, at least for me it is. My debut blog post appeared on Natural Beautee last week where I blogged about my failed hair experiment where I tried to give up shampoo entirely for 1 month. Then hopefully you will have seen that I came out of the closet on my own mental health in a post here about cognitive behavioural therapy. I can’t say that I’m 100% always enjoying blogging without caring what others think, but I am finding it rather cathartic, plus I’m really pushing myself personally and I think at the end of the month I’ll be really pleased that I did! What do you think about being a scanner? Does it resonate with you at all?