What I learnt that night changed my concept of work forever.
The place was buzzing. It was filled with mainly people in their 20’s and 30s sharing a drink and discussing everything from their new business startup to the compatibility of christianity and hypnotherapy! I kid you not.
The place was The Wine Tun. A ‘Hip’ bar near St Paul’s, and the occasion was a monthly Drinks and Links networking evening which has become an increasingly popular hang out for those wanting to make new connections.
That April evening whilst chatting to one of the organisers –I think I gave the impression all was not well and that I was not doing exactly what I wanted to be doing in life, (familiar with that?) I was introduced to the concept of scanners.
The first image that came to mind was that of exploding heads from the David Chronenberg film of the late eighties in which a scanner was someone with tele-pathic insight. When they focused too much on one subject, said subjects head explodes. (Warning! don’t click on that link if you’re squeamish! You have been warned!).
That wasn’t what Claire Meredith was suggesting of me.
Claire has a blog called Know Grow Give which I recommend you checking out. Its her goal to encourage people to shed their fears and take the actions required to live freely, happily and able to give. Her philosophy is based on the idea that if you know who you are, you can grow into being that person and giving of who you are allows you freedom.
So I guess I should tell you what a scanner is. Some key traits are:
- A multi-varied working life -to outsiders it can simply seem like the person simply can’t settle down and choose a single career
- Have multiple interests that keep coming back -I.e. you may have told yourself that playing guitar is a nice thing to do but there’s no point doing it as you don’t really have the time or inclination to devote to it
- A sense of being lazy – this comes from being very creative, but simply not getting enough done
- Serial procrastinator – again this comes from having many ideas but not knowing which one to make a reality first, thus none of them are worked on
- Passionate swings from one subject to another – you may have passion to ride horses in which you get absorbed in and learn everything about, then all of a sudden, your desire wains
- Quick pickup – you can learn things fairly quickly. Not necessarily to an extremely high standard, but enough to produce with
Some of the key players in the ‘scanner’ field are people like Barbara Sher, who coined the term ‘Scanner’, Emily Wapnick who runs a successful blog and scanner community called Puttylike, although she refers to scanners as multipotentialites. Doesn’t quite role off the tounge like scanners. I really recommend her blog to get more of an understanding of how scanners can take their diverse interests and turn it into a single brand with overarching theme.
John Williams who has monthly Scanner Nights in London of which I have been to a few meetings already. He has a superb book called “Screw Work. Let’s Play” which I strongly recommend. Be prepared to write lots of notes whilst reading this book.
Through the scanner nights, I was introduced to Barbara Winter who tells some fascinating stories of how she struggled to be understood in a world that expects you to have one career, one niche, one specialism and if you don’t you’ll never make a living or are just weird. Her book -which i’m currently reading is called “How to Make a Living Without a Job“. Certainly so far its a fantastic read with lots of exercises to help you get to know yourself better.
Over to you
Well that should be enough to get you started with this whole world of scanners. So over to you. Can you relate to those scanner traits above? Have you been struggling just doing your job without being fulfilled? Let me know your story in the comments below.