• averycaton

My Top 3 Skills

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

In my 22 years on this earth, I have learned many lessons - some easier than others. In learning those lessons, I have discovered where my skills lie. Here's a list of those skills and how I am using them today.


In this world, the gift of tenacious energy is not handed out, but attained. One must learn the hard lessons of pushing through any obstacle to achieve their end goal. Naturally, some learn this lesson more easily than others.

In my life, I have had many chances to prove my tenacity, the most significant being my fight against Lyme disease.

(Lyme disease blog: www.lymeliferevealed.com)

(Lyme disease Instagram: @lymeliferevealed)

Being bedridden for 3 years was one of the biggest tests of my life. Did I have the strength to continue fighting? Was I capable of pushing through the discomforts of daily life just to wake up and do it all over again the next day? Could I watch the people I called friends disappear because I wasn’t fun to be around anymore?

In my mind, there was no question. Of course, I would continue to fight. Why? Because I was determined to live my life to the fullest potential no matter what hardships were in my way. During this struggle, I was advised to not push myself - mentally or physically, but I did not allow my illness to stop me from performing.  I did not allow my doctors’ advice to keep me from going away to college. I did not allow the unpredictability of my sickness to stand in the way of me making money.

In high school I starred in the lead role in my high school musical productions my junior and senior year. I would pull myself together for those few hours of the day to make sure I could give my director, cast, and crew my best. At times the exertion made me sicker, but I was willing to risk it to get the job done.

I was accepted into my dream college on a music scholarship and did my best to make that dream a reality. I was physically only able to stay for a semester, but I wasn’t going to let somebody tell me “You can’t do that” without me at least trying for myself.

I was turned away by many employers due to my illness being an uncertainty, but I took those rejections in stride and decided that although I had every excuse to give up, I couldn’t.  When being sick became so unpredictable that I dared not make myself a liability to someone else, I started my own entrepreneurial business. The first summer I was up and running, I made double the money I would’ve made working any minimum wage job.

I don’t back down from a fight and I always find a way around any bump in the road.

Check out my Lyme disease blog: www.lymeliferevealed

“When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Community Engagement

I take pride in my communication skills and community engagement tactics – you won’t catch me without a smile on my face or a joke crossing my lips. Most businesses specialize in online communication or in-person communication - I strive to excel in both. Through my years of performing as a musician, I have learned that your face and personality become your brand and I am always cognizant of this.  I’m often remembered for my ability to connect with everyone on and off stage, usually through humor - from the musicians playing with me, to the misbehaving children in the back row.

I also work for a driving range, mini golf and batting cage business. My boss told me in my interview that he was in the business of “selling smiles” – perfect for me!  I love engaging with customers; conversating, joking with them and enjoying all the different groups of people coming in has been a very enjoyable job for me. I can sell smiles for sure.

Not only do I connect well with people in person, I have also learned how to do the same over a computer screen. With my Lyme Life Revealed blog and Instagram page, most of my followers are people I have never met in person, but because I have mastered showing my personality through my writing, we have found common ground.  I share the good, the bad and the ugly in my posts, and the responses I receive show appreciating for me being real.

I have found that infectious energy, in person or in writing, actually is infectious. Genuine niceness gets you a long way in this world. I have used my talent of community engagement to my advantage over the years and have learned that if you are able to sell yourself, you can sell anything.  As my grandfather always says, “You ain’t bragging if you can do it”. Well I can do it. My customers love me, whether they be music lovers or driving range customers or kids at a birthday party getting their “mermaid hair” done! I make myself memorable by being fun and engaging, and in turn my clients feel the same way.

Establishing Connections

If Community Engagement is done well enough, Establishing Connections comes naturally. These two skills go hand in hand. In my entrepreneurial journey, musically and in small-business, I have learned the value of connections with people. In most instances, the work I have received has been by word of mouth and personal recommendations.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

This statement is true in all aspects of life, but I don’t think it could be any more apropos than when applied to the music business.  Gigs come through connections. Small gigs lead to big gigs in the same way. Through music, I’ve connected with fans, musicians from all over the globe, music influencers and promoters, and music stars.  The cool thing is that once you become skilled at making connections, you realize that everyone out there is the same – just a regular person enjoying friendship and fellowship with business as a bonus. A favorite music connection I’ve made is with Chris Canfield, Vice President of Virginia is For Lovers.  He approached me after a show where he had fallen in love with the energy that was brought on stage, not just musically, but also through on-stage communication. He is influential in his field and heavily involved with music throughout the state of Virginia. His admiration of our band’s music and our audience involvement led him to help our band play several shows and festivals that we could have never booked on our own.  The business connection I made with Chris has led me to make further connections with others that have helped my musical career, but even better, a personal friendship was developed between the two of us.

When people think about establishing connections, one may think of major business connections with hoity-toity executives, but what about your average Joe who really enjoys your work and, in the process, becomes a leading fan and follower of your brand? Fans of a product then share that love with their friends, which spreads your brand further.  Some of my most memorable connections have been made with young people at music venues or festivals. I love spreading joy with others through whatever work I’m doing at that time. The small connections between regular people are just as valuable as high-powered office ones.

How I’m Using My Top 3 Skills Today

I practice setting myself apart from the rest of the crowd, and these 3 skills help me do this.

Tenacity, Community Engagement, and Establishing Connections have been fundamental skills in getting me to the point where I am now in my music career.  Without tenacity, I could not have overcome my health hurdles, and without engagement and connections, I would not have made the many music friends and supporters who mean so much to me.

These skills have also been primary in establishing my own small-business, “Mountain Mermaid & Co.” which specializes in custom silk hair highlights.  Because my health was unpredictable, I could not work a job with regular hours. After brainstorming and some idea sharing with others, Mountain Mermaid was created so that I could plan my work around short increments of time – festivals and private parties.  Tenacity led me to create my own business, and Community Engagement and Establishing Connections helped me to be successful.

My online work as a Lyme disease awareness advocate on social media has also been built on the foundation of my top 3 skills.  Lyme disease brought devastation to my family’s life and this long, slow heartbreak inspired me to reach out to others. I went through a time of desperation and severe loneliness; I strive to care for others and what they are experiencing.  I try to share information that may help someone reach the level of health that I have now attained. All of this has come from Tenacity, and my social networking community has grown with my Community Engagement and my ability to Establish Connections – even from behind a computer.

In the future, I plan to use my top 3 skills to build a brand for the musical duo I have most recently created. I will start by learning all the necessary measures I will need to take to create a successful entrepreneurial business and will then begin to reach out to my community to begin the process of Community Engagement and Establishing Connections.

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