No, it's not Allyn Bacon, the publisher of education and social science books.
This is Allan Bacon, author of the Avocationist blog, which is listed as an Alltop Career site. He wants to help you find your passion without leaving your day job. I met him at Pam Slim's Escape from Cubicle Nation event last summer in Charlotte.
In the post below, Allan shares his weaknesses and how he has used these apparent flaws to build a fulfilling life, career and business.
"My first weakness is that I'm too social. When I was on a YMCA soccer team as a child I got the 'Ma Bell Gossip Award' because all I wanted to do was talk to everyone.
My second weakness is that I cannot make myself do something that I think is boring - so instead of just raking the leaves, I spent an afternoon trying to figure out a way to rig up a giant tarp to load up all the leaves on. It didn't work and it took three times as long as just raking the leaves.
My third weakness is that as soon as I figure something out, I get bored - the tarp idea didn't lead to some break-through solution to the leaves, it just made it more painful to get the yard cleaned up - I still had to rake them. Now I just hire someone to do my yard. Ricky loves what he does and my yard looks way better than it ever did when I did it.
When it came time for me to have a career my inability to do boring stuff and my tendency to get bored quickly became real issues for me. The problem was that I got bored every 1-2 years as I figured out each new job. And I lived in a place where there weren't a lot of jobs for a person with a PhD in Physics.
So I got really good at changing careers. I turned my weakness of wanting to figure everything out into the skill of understanding how to change. I used the fact that I am 'too social' as a strength by meeting lots of new people.
After several of these changes I realized that the traditional career approach wouldn’t help me find something that really tapped into all of my passions. Since I had trouble making myself do stuff I didn’t understand, I had to come up with a new way to try out lots of things in a safe way. This led to developing the idea of Life Experiments where I figured out how to do anything I wanted to (new careers, new hobbies, new jobs) without having to take a lot of time or spend a lot of money. One of these was a blog I started as an excuse to meet more people (my outlet for being 'too social').
Instead of forcing myself to conform to a normal career path, I started trying lots of other ways to figure out what I love. Even though this was harder, it was the only way I could move forward (since I couldn’t force myself to keep doing things I was bored with).
Now I get paid to figure things out, meet people and explain to them how things work. I publish the Avocationist blog, speak, write and coach people on how to live their dream lives without having to put their incomes at risk.
I also consult with entrepreneurs to figure out how they can get more business without having to invest a lot more money. Because it’s my company I get to do lots of different things and add new things whenever I need to move on to something else."
Do you want to be the Freak of the Week? Spots are filling up fast for 2010. Send an email to dave (at) drendall (dot) com. Tell me how your weaknesses are actually strengths in disguise and explain how you've capitalized on your flaws to succeed in your business or career. You can also nominate someone that you know.
I'm also starting a new Freak Factory feature. Do you work for a company or boss that allows you to flaunt you weaknesses instead of trying to fix them? If so, send me your story. I'd love to hear from you.