Learning Journal II

Erik Blomgren

What is your unique gift? – Do you believe in it enough to invest everything you have in it?

My most unique gift is an eye for detail, second only to a refusal to give up once I’ve committed myself to something.  I believe in myself enough to invest myself into anything, but none of my gifts in this regard lend themselves to any one thing, and as a result it is rather difficult for me to invest myself in any one direction. 

I’ve found more recently that I have a talent for organization and delegation, and I pride myself more recently in working on seeing the big picture in things.  It’s not necessarily the most unique gift in the world, but it’s rare enough to be marketable.

What difference are you trying to make in the world? – How passionate are you about doing this?

I don’t quite know what kind of an impact I plan to have on the world; I only know that I want to make people happy and that making things run smoothly is the best avenue I have in that regard right now. 

This response hasn’t changed much; I’ve only definitively decided that no matter where I end up, I want to make people happy.  My goal on the days when I have the time is to make someone happy.  If someone else can smile because of me I’ve done one thing right.

How do you define success for yourself? – What challenges do you face in order to create success?

            Success for me is a pass/fail initiative.  In this regard I sometimes set the bar too high, and end up setting myself up for failure as a result.  In a college environment, success is often more difficult for me, generally due to failings in cooperative initiatives, primarily due to conflicting definitions of success between agencies. 

            Success is a complicated thing, but I’ve found most that it is in the eye of the beholder.  If I and those involved define something as a success, then it is.  If a paper gets an A, it was successful in achieving a good grade.  If it receives a B, but teaches the writer a valuable lesson, it is no less successful as long as the experience is valued as much as the grade.  The challenge for success overall, at least in this sense, is to continue to make forward progress.  The easiest way to fail is to move nowhere. 

What is career vision and a mission?

As far as my career and mission goes, I don’t quite yet know what I want to do.  Generally speaking, I want to be involved in management.  I haven’t really gotten much farther past that; I’m also interested in production, composition, and performance, but I have no understanding where I want to take any of those ideas, or if I want to pursue them as a career. 

Career vision as of right now is still ambiguous, as is my mission.  Safe to say I still have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life, so here we are. 

Can you innovate and create value and successfully communicate that value to intended audiences?

            I am quite effective at communicating ideas and values and am generally good at maintaining those values for an audience, though I am not always comfortable doing this as it can make me feel disingenuous. 

            Yes.  This is a skill that I have continued to develop and work on this semester, and I am rather proud of my progress.  I found that more recently I have improved on relating to others more openly and convincingly.

Do you have a positive attitude?

I generally maintain a positive outlook, though this waxes and wanes depending on my situation.  My positivity often reflects my mood, which has been known to sour on rare occasions, making me a moderately less positive person.  I try to avoid letting my mood impact others around me, however, so this effect is generally negligible.

My positive attitude is more of an outwards in kind of approach I’ve found.  If I try to be happy and positive, I find that I end up in a good mood more often.  Crazy how that happens.  I’ve also spent less time with energy-leeching people and more time around people who make me happy and that has done wonders for my attitude. 

Have you set your goals? What is your road map to success? Can you set inspiring and realistic goals?

I have set some goals, up to a few years out so far.  My road map takes me to an MBA but beyond that it diverges into a few different directions, and I haven’t managed to establish an order of priority in that regard.  I have some trouble setting goals. 

My roadmap hasn’t changed yet, though I expect it will a bit over the summer when I have more time to reflect on things. 

Do you have and/or acquire the necessary expertise to actualize your vision?

Unfortunately, I have no set vision to actualize; this makes it harder for me to pursue any particular goals or ends. 

I am working to diversify myself as much as is possible in order to best actualize my future goals.  I don’t have all the experience in the world that I could use, but I think I’m doing alright so far. 

What are your priorities? Can you set priorities?

I am decent at prioritizing, as this has become a daily part of my life.  I often find myself unable to do everything that I am assigned in a day, and as a result I end up being forced to prioritize my work. 

This is one thing I’ve made minimal to no progress at.  I’m actually terrible at prioritizing and I struggle to get the things I need to get done due to a combination of factors.  This is something that I’ve realized more and more lately, and is something I desperately need to work on. 

What opportunities are you looking for? What opportunities are you creating or intend to create?

I have created some opportunities for myself in orchestra and hall management, though these things are not necessarily the only avenues I plan on pursuing. 

I’m looking for opportunities in project management and recording.  I am currently making opportunities for myself in both of these veins, and I intend to more fully pursue my ventures post-graduation. 

How comfortable are you with uncertainty? What risks are you willing to take?

With uncertainty, I am extremely comfortable; my entire life has been balanced on uncertainty, like this perilous teeter-totter with cliff facing on either side.  Risk is the same to me; it’s all part of the journey.  In this sense I would say that I am particularly risk prone.  If something is safe for me, it generally doesn’t feel inspiring or fulfilling to do, at least not for very long. 

Risks are easy, uncertainty is stressful and hard.  I’ve learned to live with it but that doesn’t make us friends.

When facing challenges, do you persevere or do you walk away?

            As stated, simple work doesn’t satisfy me for very long; I find work that requires perseverance and effort to be more worth my time.  I unfortunately also find these projects harder to dig into unfortunately. 

            I persevere generally, but I sometimes find it increasingly difficult to lock down and knock things out.  It’s something I struggle with on occasion and in the past I’ve needed a good bit of support and help to push forward, though once I get moving I’m difficult to stop. 

What experience have you learned the most from?

I’ve learned the most from my hardest work thus far, being concert hall management.  That said, I’ve also learned a lot about how people work, and about hard labor from working construction.  Both have been rewarding in their own ways.

I’d say school in general has taught me a lot, but not necessarily education.  I’ve learned the most here about people, about dynamics and about how to act and live as a person.  I’ve learned about power-dynamics and the nuances of working with and around authority figures.  In many ways, the most important lessons I’ve learned were in between classes rather than in them.

What actions are you taking to realize your vision? Are you consistently taking action?

On realizing a vision, I have not quite settled.  I am not consistently taking action as I have not quite established a consistently actionable vision. 

This question seems to be a bit redundant throughout the course of this paper. 

How well do you put things in context? Are you able to easily respond to changes in your environment? What’s your best example?

I am fairly effective at putting things in context, and can respond easily to changes, however I am guilty at times of getting emotionally caught up in the little things, and causing problems for myself as a result.  I am not quite sure what you’re asking for an example of here.  Of when I had to put things into context? Or when my environment changed?  Ummm, I had to switch to Euphonium in wind ensemble if that counts.  I also had to switch from Linebacker to Lineman for a football season in high school.  That sucked; I basically had to redo my entire nutrition and weightlifting plan in order to bulk up as quickly as possible. 

Context is a skill I pride myself on.  My environment has changed a number of times in life, and circumstances have certainly been all over the place for me, so I am not unfamiliar with change.  My best examples are still the same, though I’ve adapted in a number of other circumstances to lesser degrees. 

What is your plan to continually grow and evolve? How have you grown or evolved in there past year or three?

            I’ve been slowly and steadily evolving in my personal and public lives over the past few years.  My only plan in that regard is to keep moving forward and see where I end up.  Not much of a plan really. 

            Most of the changes in my life have been through the ways that I manage and handle stress.  I’m happy to say without going into too much detail that I am much healthier and more effective at handling my emotions than I was three years ago, and this has been a slow and steady progress.  It’s only been more recently that I’ve really started to get a handle on my life, though it’s been very good for me lately.  I hope to continue learning, not only about music, but about the world around me and about myself. 

How easy is it for you to reach out to others to ask for support and to offer help?

            Up until recently this has actually been extremely difficult for me.  I have always had trouble asking for help, though I have also had no difficulty offering it freely.  I find I generally want to avoid being a burden, while also wanting to be as much of a help as I can.  More recently I’ve had to become comfortable with asking for help. 

            I’m only getting better at this, though I still feel extremely guilty doing so.  I haven’t figured out how to shake this and it is rather frustrating to feel down on yourself for needing help as it can create a sort of negative feedback loop for your self-image.  It certainly is still a struggle to ask for help, but I’ve at least figured out when I need it. 

How are you inspiring others to join and/or support your mission in order to create a financially sustainable enterprise that allows you to live your gift and contribute something valuable to society? – If you aren’t currently, how do you intend to?

            I am not currently building an enterprise, but I work hard to support other’s visions in order to hopefully bring them comfort in strength.  I simply hope that they will return some of that support to foster an environment of creative success and sustainability, that I can then build upon down the road. 

            I intend to inspire others by how I live.  Rome wasn’t built in a day; the better world that I want to see is a slow process to build, and there are many who would see it torn down for personal gain.  I strive to actualize my own mission and to contribute to society the only way I know how.  Brick by brick, step by step.  The rest I’m just kind of figuring out along the way. 

Published by Erik Blomgren

I like planes

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