[Creators Spotlight]: You only really learn by doing. Don’t think about doing it You have to start creating content- Leon Purton

In this series “Creators Spotlight”, we are asking our creators about their journey. Watch out for them sharing their journey and getting candid with us. Today we have with us Leon Purton. Manager of Engineering Enablement at Northrop Grumman, Leon talks about growing up in Tasmania and shares why he loves creating content.


Tealfeed Spotlight

2 years ago | 8 min read

Creators are the heart and soul of Tealfeed. As they continuously work towards feeding us more information every day, it's only fitting to bring out their journey for the world to know.

In this series “Creators Spotlight”, we are asking our creators about their journey. Watch out for them sharing their journey and getting candid with us. Today we have with us Leon Purton.

Leon Purton, Manager of Engineering Enablement at Northrop Grumman, talks about growing up in Tasmania and shares why he loves creating content.

Continue reading to find out more!

Leon Purton

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? What lessons did that person or those people teach you?

I remember thinking about this question earlier in my life, and then it was hard not to say, family. They obviously play an integral role in who you are, and what opportunities you are afforded. But if I have to reflect on it now, I would say, it is my virtual mentors. Those people that have influenced me are the ones that I have never met.

Two specifically, David Marquett and his book “Turn the Ship Around” was instrumental in piquing my interest in leadership and personal development, and Brené Brown who kept me going during one of my lower points in life with her audiobook “The Power of Vulnerability”.

The intersection of these two people, the Venn diagram if you see, is where I feel the most influential, and influenced.

Tell us about your childhood, what was the best part? Is there any specific incident that has largely influenced the kind of person you are today?

I grew up in a small country town, a rural area of large wire-fenced paddocks of livestock, grass and produce, bordered by rolling hills and small mountains. It was a sheltered upbringing in some ways, but important in many others.

Leon Purton

It taught me about hard work and necessity, I spent long hours on weekends working on our small farm or out in the Forrest cutting loads of firewood to supplement the household income.

That was hard, but it taught the value of doing difficult things regularly. It also taught me about how little you need as a child to have a good life. Space to roam, siblings to explore with, and a warm fire to come and sit in front of at the end of the night.

It was my responsibility to care for our chickens and keep the weeds out of the paddocks. A certain level of responsibility was expected, and this has been important in my life. I fear children, at least mine, are missing this now.

Where is your hometown, and what was it like when you were young?

I grew up on the North-West coast of Tasmania. A small island state at the southern end of Australia. A beautiful rugged state with clean, crisp air and a relaxed attitude that more tightly couples its inhabitants to the landscape than many other places I’ve lived.

I was the eldest of three brothers, and that came with responsibility and privilege. My middle-brother has fought against illness from a young age, and that meant my younger brother and I spent some time with grandparents as my mother spent time at hospitals, while my father worked two jobs.

Leon Purton was the eldest among the the tree brothers.

This developed a level of self-sufficiency, and a desire to be successful at things. In part, because I wanted something else from my life, and in part because I wanted some of my parents’ attention.

They were loving, caring and supportive, but busy with other priorities. Playing sport and academics were my strengths, and they supported me in growing and challenging myself in each of those areas.

How important a role does content play in your life? Are you a full-time content creator? Why did you start creating content?

I am part-time, and irregular at the moment. Content creation started out as a way to bring value, or at least stimulate conversation about improvement and growth, within my workplace. For a period, I wrote a weekly internal email, which I called a Leadership Spark aimed at normalising language and creating conversation at a workplace going through some organisational change.

That weekly email turned into a blog, which I maintained as a weekly habit for almost two years. More recently, I have taken to writing when inspired by an important question from my Mentee’s, which means, I now write more sporadically.

I have found writing to be important for me. I am a better leader, worker, and probably a better human when I am researching and writing. There is power in this. I believe in the adage, “when one teaches, two learn”, which points to the teacher or in this case the content creator, also learning through the act of communicating.

This is why I write, and why I think others should too.

What’s that one aspect of being a content creator no one talks about?

Too often the external perception is that some people are good at that, and others aren’t. I often hear people say that “I can’t do that I’m not a good enough writer”, or “I don’t have anything valuable”. The thing is, starting is the hardest bit. It takes real courage to put your thoughts out into the world to be examined, and yes, potentially criticised.

I think that everyone should acknowledge the inherent bravery in content creation, in exposing parts of you that most people keep hidden.

What’s the most satisfying part of being a content creator?

It is, and always will be, the impact you can have. The comments you get on the impact of your work is the fuel for keeping ongoing. It scales your ability to reach people.

I have had messages from across the globe from people impacted by the thoughts I have communicated with them. That brings you energy and deep down satisfaction that you are doing the right things.

What are you up to currently and what are your long-term career goals?

I’ve recently changed jobs, and because of that reduced the amount of writing I am doing. I needed the extra headspace to work out how to bring value in the new organisation and in a new role.

Leon Purton

I would love to have a future in leadership development, and I think my niche is in growing high-performing technical teams. I am an engineer and know that engineers and other technical fields tend to struggle in this area and I think it is an area I can continue to bring value to.

I would like to assemble my related articles into a more coherent and impactful book and then use that as a platform for growth as a thought-leader in this area.

What drives you to create content regularly?

Truly, it is the small moments in conversation with others where an interesting thought is raised, or a great question posed. Those moments inspire me to explore, learn more about that thing, and synthesise my thoughts on the matter.

Writing it down brings me clarity and publishing aims to bring some value to others.

What’s the most challenging part of being a content creator?

Embracing the grind…

Sometimes it's hard, and you feel undervalued for your contribution, but you have to keep going. Knowing that you have the ability to impact perhaps one person, and that impact is enough. Or even better, knowing that writing helps you as well.

How do you make sure that you aren’t affected by nasty comments and negative things said about you?

It is a learning opportunity. Like a said, putting something out into the world is an exceptionally brave and courageous act. And any activity that takes bravery or courage, by definition, requires the vulnerability for others to do you harm.

Receiving feedback, or criticism, is an acknowledgement that your work is being read. In this acknowledgement, you need to realise that there will be others that took value from it but didn’t respond.

I also say to my daughter, “if someone is nasty to you, or says bad things, it is probably because they are dealing with some things. It doesn’t excuse their actions, but it allows you to be more patient with them”.

Anything else you would like our audience to know about you!

Living in Australia is hard as an international sports fan. It requires you to juggle European and American timezones to catch the pinnacle of team sports. I am an Everton fan in the English Premier League, a San Antonio Spurs fan in the NBA and a Seattle Seahawks fan in the NFL.

Leo Purton is an International sports fan

Balancing these three things takes commitment, particularly watching Everton. It is often midnight or 2 am when those games kick off. So, if I am up at odd hours, it is probably because of my passion for supporting my international teams.

How would you want people to remember you?

I would like to be valued. I am purposeful about trying to work out how I can bring value to the people around me.

I think if more people had conversations about value, understanding what others deem valuable, we would create a world in which we diminish value signalling and increase valuable contribution.

This is something I would like as a legacy.

What's success for you and when you would consider yourself to be successful?

I like to quote the great Maya Angelou on this one, “Success is liking yourself, what you do, and how you do it”. I have tried really hard to be, consistently, who I want the world to know me as.

I want to be the true version of myself. I call this brand realisation through version reduction. Each person you ever interact with, or someone speaks about you to, as a version of you in their mind. I want that version to be as close as possible to the version of me I have in my mind.

My truest self. If I can achieve that, and leave an impact, then I will have been successful.

Who’s your favourite creator? Why?

There are a few people that I truly value in the impact they have had on my life. I mentioned Brené Brown earlier, her books and podcasts are really important to me.

But there is only one creator that I have listened to all of their podcasts, I am a regular consumer of their weekly emails, and have a copy of their book, and that is Ryan Hawk.

It is his conversations on The Learning Leader Show with brilliant leaders from around the globe that provide those momentary triggers or thoughts that stimulates a future article.

His work has made me a better leader and worker, for sure, but he has also made me a better writer and creator myself.

To every individual who’s planning to start out as a content creator, what would you like to advise them?

You only really learn by doing. Don’t think about doing it, or research doing it, or plan how you’ll do it. You have to start. Those other things will help you along the way, but I’ve found the best contributors have a bias towards action, and not reflection or analysis.

Not to say they don’t do those things, but they realise that it only has value for short periods, then you have to take some action. If you are thinking about creating, work out what you can do right now to start. It might be a little ugly and crude, but you will have started.

On this, I like to say “people follow footprints, not butt-prints”. Take the same action, progress things, sitting still won’t get you anywhere in the long run.


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Tealfeed Spotlight

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