The Compounding Power of Ideas
How small efforts in writing can propel your career forward. Explore the concept of compound interest applied to writing and discover how small, consistent efforts can lead to significant growth in your career and personal life.
The Power of Starting Small
Throughout our careers, we can often overlook the impact of small actions - the tiny efforts, the brief drafts, the short posts. It's easy to overlook the huge potential these small actions can carry. These actions are like small investments that pay dividends for years into the future.
I remember the first piece of writing I published about five years ago. The post was based on a set of observations that I saw time and time again about what was missing from most cybersecurity programs.
It was a simple LinkedIn article, but it was real, unique, and solely based on my personal experiences working in cybersecurity at many companies. I wrote the post more for myself than anyone else, but it resonated with others. To my surprise, people read, liked, and shared it over the days, weeks, and months.
Coincidentally, this came at a time in the cybersecurity industry when you weren't supposed to be "out there." The security industry was at a point where secrecy and gatekeeping were the norm. Everything had to be "cloak and dagger," and posting personal information or thoughts was frowned upon. This mentality was also constantly reinforced by security leaders and company HR teams.
To even be allowed to make the article on LinkedIn, I had to go through the following:
Have my current boss read and approve it
Have his boss read and approve it
Have the CISO approve it (I was working in the CTO group at the time)
Have legal approve it
Have the corporate communications teams approve it
It took about six months, from idea to writing to approvals and finally to posting. On my personal LinkedIn account, no less.
Even still, something clicked in my head through this process, and I wanted to do it again.
I eventually took the original LinkedIn article down when I started writing on Return On Security and refreshed the post. Here it is if you want to see some of my earlier writing:
Discovering the Benefits of Consistency
Over time, writing became more than just a way to share my thoughts. Writing became a mental exercise to clear and organize my mind.
I also found writing to be a helpful way for me to help other people understand concepts and approaches. As a security engineer for much of my career, I was obsessed with efficiency and was always a fan of good documentation.
I preferred good documentation over any other form of communication, and as an engineer, I hated having to repeat myself.
I’m going to write this down so you can read this and not bother me again.
Writing was a way to let me repeat myself without having to be a part of the follow-up conversations. Kind of silly to look back at it like that now, but it drove me to write in a manner that provided context and clarity. The funny part is that the more you write and the more clarity you can add for people, the more they want you to write, and the more you may enjoy writing.
Writing out my thoughts through this blog and sharing my experience to help teach someone or uncover trends is another form of this.
At first, I didn't fully grasp the potential that writing held. I didn't understand how writing about my personal experiences in a professional setting could be scaled or how they could help others.
Fast forward five years, a few hundred blog posts and newsletter issues, and tens of thousands of words later, and I'll tell you a different story:
Believe me when I say that the tiny ripples you create with your words today might turn into waves tomorrow.
I’ve realized that, for me, writing has become the fusion of small ideas, mixing and compounding into big ones. It's the outcome of years of consistent, small actions and small growth that truly can surprise us with its magnitude.
Just as the magic of compounding interest lies in small, consistent investments growing over time, so does the power of writing. Each piece you write, each idea you share, contributes to an ever-growing portfolio of thought.
My writings have led to more connections, partnerships, insightful meetings, clients, and interactions I would have never encountered otherwise.
A perfect example is my recent immigration to the United Kingdom on the UK's Global Talent program.
This specific visa program requires both recognition in your various jobs and impact and contributions to your field.
Had I not started this writing journey almost five years ago, who knows if I would have made enough contributions to the broader cybersecurity field to be considered for the visa?
My writing became an advocate for me in this process. I could objectively show proof of the impact my writing has had, and it helped make this dream a reality.
Just as compounding interest can make a small investment grow exponentially over time, the consistent act of writing can transform your career and personal growth.
Writing opened doors I never knew existed.
The Power of Starting Small: Even a brief draft or post can plant the seeds for future growth and opportunities.
The Benefits of Consistency: Consistency in writing not only enhances your skills but also compounds your influence and reach.
Writing as Advocacy: Your words can serve as tangible proof of your contributions, providing a solid foundation for future endeavors like job applications, collaborations, and even immigration processes.
Don't underestimate the exponential growth potential behind every small step you take.
Try to embrace the power of small steps and consistency in whatever it is you want to do. If it is writing, start writing today, even just a social media post or a journal entry.
It may be the small investment that pays off in huge dividends in the future, propelling your career forward.
If you’ve had writing that has shaped how you think or has encouraged you to write on your own, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.