This morning I had the honor of speaking to the Holland AM Rotary club. I’ve had this date circled on the calendar for a good 6 weeks and six weeks ago it was just that. A day in the near future that I would have to start thinking about tomorrow.
Tomorrow is such a funny word, isn’t it? It comes routinely but you can never catch it.
All of a sudden this morning was upon me, I didn’t have a presentation prepared; no slides to click through, no bullet points to be sure to hit on. I just had my story, I was winging it and armed with all the passion about writing and living naked on paper, about intentionally seeking out the opportunities to make dreams come true.
I’m not entirely sure I delivered that and I answered a lot of questions about privacy and how I earn an income, about malicious people (are there any?) and how I deal with constant social media changes, what I use in social media and what I thought was important. Also – the generational gap – why would I think this was a good idea? To be so open?
The interaction and participation from the group was amazing. I loved the questions and thinking on my feet. I tend to mumble or stumble over words and I hope I was clear in my answers.
I do have some additional thoughts now that I’ve had time to absorb what just happened and here they are – for the Holland AM rotary, but also for you:
The beauty of what I do is that it’s different every day. It’s constantly changing and the only person I have to answer to, in the end, is me. Did I do what I said I was going to today? If that answer is no, I work harder tomorrow.
I’m a mom and wife before I’m obligated to this job, I take that very seriously. But I was a writer and believer in the imperfections of this life before I was ever either of those honorable titles.
This is not for everyone. I hope I wasn’t selling blogging this morning as something that everyone should be doing. And blogging personally is different than blogging as a company. What works for me won’t for you, necessarily. As it shouldn’t. I’m unique, my voice is unique, the vision and my hopes for what I do are unique – and I’m only interested in your’s if they’re also unique.
I’m also not a baby-boomer so I won’t pretend to be one. What speaks to your generation is entirely different than what speaks to mine: but I don’t think in age groups or generations. I think in people, and we all have this little spark inside of us waiting for someone to come along and fan the flame into a full fledged fire. That’s where your passion lives, also where your dreams are born. It’s my intention and part of my own dream to hold a huge fan and light as many fires I can in my lifetime.
But I can’t quiet your reservations about my story – I don’t deal with malicious people because I invite the conversation on a personal level if you disagree with me. And people do, often. But more people don’t. I focus on each side of the spectrum equally – but again: This is me, take it or leave it, what you see is often what you get. I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not and if I ruffle your feathers, I’d hope you don’t pretend that I didn’t. But I honestly don’t have time to deal with your expectations – mine are a lot of work all by themselves.
Social media changes every day and I’m not involved in a lot of what’s going on simply because I have enough noise in my life, as it is. It’s very simple what I do and I don’t often stray from it.
I tell stories.
I know how foreign this is to so many people. How the issues of sharing pictures of your kids online are long conversations, polarized by the security of what you deem as private. And as excited as I am to talk all day long about living through a Life List and dreaming and DOING and changing your thinking on how “should” is really just a way to capture your soul and hide it forever … I’m very involved in the conversations about boundaries and am very aware of certain impacts and liberties I take daily.
Some people see me, a blogger or a woman, better yet – a woman blogger, and they see fluff. I’ve encountered this many times and I don’t adjust their vision of me because it’s no use. We all make decisions every day on how we’re going to accept the world around us. Some days are better than others, some days become years then decades and then cement. I know this because I’m constantly chipping away at the cinder blocks of my own acceptability.
But if I was going to try to change their minds, or help them see me, I think I’d start with speaking publicly, like I did this morning. Not because I had anything profound to say but because getting in front of faces and out from behind a screen makes people real. Makes their story and their struggle, their passion and hopes and dreams tangible.
I completely forgot to tell the audience this morning that they were helping me start to cross off an item on my Life List! Fumble less through public speaking: and they were great. So so great and open and fun to be around.