I've been writing rap songs for almost 10 years now, but I haven't shared much publicly. In fact, I've basically treated my rap music as a private journal, but this week I took a pretty big leap.
Although I was pretty nervous to post this video publicly, I'm glad I did. I've gotten tons of positive responses, so I'm encouraged to do more (keep an eye out 👀). In the meantime, here are a few things I learned from taking this big leap.
Find A Way to Stand Out
As a content creator, I do most of the normal things you would expect. I make YouTube videos, write articles, run a podcast, etc. Although I've had lots of success in those areas, those forms of content aren't inherently unique, but a rap video definitely is.
I mean think about it. How many other content creators have you seen release a rap video? How many other Developer Advocates? The short answer is not many.
So, in a world full of content, how do you make yours stand out? Well, there are two ways you can look at it.
- Do the same thing, but do it better
- Do something completely different
As I grow as a content creator, I want to focus more on number 2. I want to focus more on being different.
Developers Are More Than Just One Skill
During my senior year of college, I interviewed for a role at Microsoft. I got turned down twice before they suggested I apply for a Technical Evangelist role. At the time, they were only looking to hire for a few different cities, but the hiring manager asked if I would be interested in working in Miami because of my background in Spanish.
In short, my background in Spanish helped me get a job at one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
For the first time in my career, a seemingly random and completely unrelated to tech skill helped me in my career. That's not the onle time though.
My public speaking and teaching experience helped me get a skip level promotion at FedEx.
My background in content + video led to the creation of my new role at Auth0 as our Developer Marketing Media Manager
My point is that there are lots of things you can do in your career as a developer, and there are lots of complimentary skills (outside of writing code) that can help you get there. Embrace the things that make you unique and share those with the world.
You never know where those random skills might take you!
I have no idea what this rap video will mean for my career, but I will say that I've already gained some extra awareness within my company. In fact, our CTO sent several messages expressing how excited he was about the video. Again, you never know where those random skills might take you!
Be Comfortable With Yourself
Publishing this rap video made me incredibly nervous. I was literally shaking as the video went live, and I watched people's comments in real-time as they watched. I was uncomfortable sharing a skill that only a handful of people had validated (primarily my wife and a few friends).
Thankfully, I've gotten an overwhelmingly positive response which makes it easy to look at this effort as a success. That has made me feel incredible, but I also want to think about this from another perspective as well. What if it didn't go well? What if people had laughed?
One thing I've been working on for the majority of my life is being comfortable with myself.
One thing I've been working on for the majority of my life is being comfortable with myself. I've spent years of my life questioning how I will be judged, how people will respond, etc. instead of just being me. This is a big part of the reason I haven't shared much of music up until now.
I want to add that most people assume that confidence is inherent. You're either a confident person or not with no middle ground. The fact is though that confidence can be practiced and earned. Confidence is, in fact, something I practice every day.
The next time I take a chance and the idea flops, I don't want my confidency to drop. I want be completely comfortable taking chances and just being myself.
Although I got a positive response this time, my goal is to keep this same energy and confidence when I take a chance in the future, but it doesn't go well. When that happens (and it will eventually), I don't want my confidence to drop. I want to be completely comfortable taking chances and just being myself.
Go and Take That Chance
Take chances in your career. Do that thing you've been debating about. Pitch that idea no matter how out there it is. Ask the hard questions you've been too scared to ask. Take those chances because you never know what they might lead to.