Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Should Hire Me

I can't believe I just said that.
I have the most difficult time putting myself out there. I know that's hard to believe, what with my posting unflattering pictures of myself on my blog, having a facebook page, and telling you more than you ever wanted to know about life in these here cornfields, but it's true.

I am an idea grrrl. But I'm not a follow-through-on-my-ideas kind of grrrl. I have a vision. In fact, I have several visions. I have new visions all the time. But I don't necessarily do anything about it.

At a recent workshop on raising entrepreneurial children, the presenter said, "Entrepreneurs go past the idea stage. They not only have a vision, they act on their visions."

Well, shucks.

I've come up with all sorts of ideas, grand schemes, life plans. Some are huge and somewhat unrealistic - living in a cooperative community, opening a creative playspace museum for children - but others are smallish and entirely conceivable should I just get to work - hosting round-table discussions in my home, hosting 'Fridays in the Field' field trips for homeschoolers, speaking on unschooling.

(I even name my fictional adventures. Those round-table discussions in my home? "Cornfield Conversations" How fun is that?)

I just have trouble believing in my own 'credentials.' In true codependent form, I am my own worst critic. But where most successful people simply adapt their strategy when they fail, rather than quit or get derailed, I talk myself out of things before I ever get started.

It's not always true. There are plenty of things I do and accomplish. What I get hung up on, though, are those things that involve really putting myself out there, really marketing myself. I can do the occasional class for homeschoolers, tutor the occasional student, direct the occasional play, arrange the occasional PR for an event; but tossing my name into the hat for new things - big new things - intimidates me.
I like entering through the back door. I like it when my debut occurs organically, by happenstance, or accidentally. Once I'm in, once I've accomplished something, once I've established I can do a thing, then I'm comfortable. In the end I even find myself more brazen then ever, buoyed by my own dumb luck. Next thing you know, I go from saying I'll serve cookies at an event to running the operation the following year. I love that.

And that's how it happened that I'm speaking at next year's
Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gathering in Ohio.

Before attending this year's event, I waited until the last minute to submit a proposal for a roundtable discussion. Naturally, the slots were filled. But it so happened that I
know Debra through our blogs, and when she heard I was coming she invited me to join her panel and share my story for their "Redesigning Education" workshop. It went very well and I enjoyed it very much.

Later that evening, the UWWG organizer,
Carol Reinhard said she heard good things about our talk and yesterday, I got my official invitation to speak at next year's event!

And it all happened without my having to put myself out there; without having to say, "Hire me: I'm a speaker."
I'm still irritated with myself, though. I'd like to get over my insecurities, get past my fears, and take more initiative to do some of the big things I long to do. Perhaps that means I need to pick the brains of those who do these things. Perhaps that means I need to brush up on marketing skills. Perhaps that means I need to commit myself to my vision on a regular basis. Perhaps that means doing for myself what I urge others to do - treat myself gently and believe in my own gifts. And if definitely means I need to quit prioritizing sweeping the floor over writing another article to submit to homeschooling magazines.

I sold another small article this week. Occasionally I submit freelance articles to a middle-man organization called
Constant Content. It's a site that sells your content to buyers seeking articles for their publications, newsletters, and blogs. Constant Content gets a cut, of course, and you don't get a byline (essentially, you're a ghostwriter) but it's been a good way to get my feet wet; see if I'm publishable. Today I received notice that I sold usage rights to an article I wrote some time ago; one that I thought was destined to languish on the site forever. A fun surprise!

These small accomplishments revive my enthusiasm for big dreams and visions. Maybe I really am a writer. Maybe I really can be a speaker.

Today, I grabbed my notebook and gathered all the workshop ideas I've been jotting down for many months. They were scattered and disconnected ideas, penned while I was driving and had an "aha" moment, or inspired by the words of another speaker, or revealed as I answered the questions of a new and worried unschooler. I compiled the ideas into workshops. I even wrote the descriptions.

Too many times I'd think,"I want to speak too" only to have that thought followed by, "But on what topic?" Unschooling is an obvious choice, sure, but even that needed to be fleshed out a bit.

Now I am one giant step closer to putting myself out there. Have topics - will speak.

Sharing this with you on my blog is giant step #2.

I'll work on the other obstacles another day.


Lynn said...

I would love to hear you speak!!You have inspired me so much with your writing here on your blog and the comments you have left for me.

Oh how I wish I lived closer. I like the idea of cornfield conversations ;-)xx

Stephanie said...

Stretching is A Very Good Thing.
And it feels so wonderful.

Andrea said...

I can't wait to hear you speak! How exciting for you (and for any of us who get to hear you)!! And keep up with all those ideas, when the right one comes along, you will act, and not before (at least that is what I tell myself)!

Anonymous said...

That part about how you don't follow through with your great ideas. I may have to disagree (as if I know you SO well) because I was very inspired reading about how you did a 180 in your life and changed it drastically. The unschooling/organic eating part. Very inspirational...and you followed through and are still living that life you wanted to create!

Zenmomma said...

I think you will be a wonderful speaker. Next year at LIFE is Good?

piscesgrrl said...

lynn - right back atcha. Witnessing your evolution has been inspiring as well!

stephanie - stretching does feel good. why don't we do more of it?

Andrea - wow, thanks!

eclecticallyyours - well, yes. But that was about me, here. This is an 'out there' kind of stretch. But thanks for the leg up - it sure helps.

Zenmomma - seriously? Sa-weet! Hey, I talked to Alison McKee last week and she got a big ol' smile on her face when she talked about all of you at LiG. :)

Ronnie said...

I was just going to whine about UWWG being too far away, and then Mary invited you to LIFE is Good. Perfect!

Although, I'd love to find a way to see you at UWWG, too. :-)

denise said...

Good for you! I think you will be wonderful as a speaker.

I'm kind of like that. I go go go go go go but don't want to "promote" mysefl. I have sites and communities and ideas ... behind the scenes, volunteering, but I won't promote (unless it is my 'business' which I feel qualified to promote myself for). I think, I hope people will notice and come to me, things will fall into place, if it is *meant* to happen, it will happen, blah blah blah. (yeah right).

It's tough, but you have so much to put out there - I'm sure things WILL come together more and more as you go. :)

Heather's Moving Castle said...

I'm so happy for you! I think you are truly talented. ;o)

Galavanter said...

Oh my goodness - I can relate SO well to what you've written here. I've wanted to speak, wanted to put myself out there, even got a gig to speak at LIFE is Good last year, and I have to say, I was just a little relieved when Mary revoked the invitation - "what if my speech doesn't come together... what if they don't like me... what if I can't fill the time..."

And, of course, I always think that I'm the only one!

You are such a great writer, and I've seen you enough in person to know you will be a great speaker as well. I'd certainly come to listen if you were speaking anywhere I could go.