September 2014, and I was finally speaking up. After devouring eleventy-billion blogs, writing a book, and dreaming for countless hours of joining the fray of uplifting and action-oriented voices, I was invited to write for GMP.
What went through my head as I stared at the Word page slowly peppered with what I hoped were meaningful words… Don’t think too much.
I had written since I was a little girl, having no choice in the matter and at the mercy of my oddly wired brain. I was the kid scarfing up Benji the dog’s adventures when other kids were outside playing and whooping in the sun. I gobbled up reading more than my dad’s cook-all-day spaghetti and his frightful fire-down-below chili. So, I’d had a fair amount of practice playing with the art of the written word, but I also had the soothing that I needed for my frayed over-anxious mind. Because someone else had gone first. Someone else would decide if I was good enough. At long last, that job was not up to me.
That part was a relief as I am my own worst critic.
But I was going first in a way. Some of my friends weren’t writers although, they too, wanted to be. When I told them of my serendipitous luck and pluck, they were happy and nervous for me. And when I was finally published, they had questions. The same ones that had assaulted my spinning head…
How do I get to do that?
There is a beauty in going first and I can break it down to three gifts I’ve noticed.
1. Other people need you to go first. When you take the lead, you take some of their fear with you, too. You bring a dream closer to dreamers. They might think well, why can’t I do that cool thing, too? And you know what? They can! We all can because we all have a story to tell. Everyone has something of value to share. When you go first, you let people know it is possible to write, to innovate, to break the framework. You let it be known there are options, so maybe a person who’s contemplating will enjoy their fear of judgment waning as welll.
2. You get to chart the course when you take the lead. Figure it out! What worked for you? Why did it work? Can it apply to someone else’s hope? When you make a discovery a super fun gesture to try is to share what you know. You can monetize your formulas if you want, and you can also hand out referrals for zero bucks (and that feels pretty amazing!) Other people can look to you and study what you have done and find their own success. When you go first, try to remember to pay it forward to those who are looking to reinvent themselves as well.
3. You make all the mistakes and gather invaluable information when you lead. And you are that much further along in your quest after a fall. I don’t mind a misstep (most of the time) because I know that I am learning and if I pay attention, I will take in the lesson and never repeat the same course again. I just became that much more efficient and effective. And when you turn the corner out of the mistake and into comprehension of why you fumbled and what the silver lining is, then never again will you have to worry about that particular arc of the learning curve. It’s out of your system and you gathered important data to continue to sharpen your skills. Never again will you be as green as you were mere moments ago, having absorbed facts that seriously needed your understanding.
Yes, going first can be scary. You might feel alone and like no one can relate to you, but don’t forget, you’re not an island. Others have gone before you. When you feel shaky about your progress or that the stage is flooded with spotlights ready to pick up all your “flaws,” remember the people who preceded you. They had to screw their courage to the sticking post, just like you…as the saying goes…and odds are, even though they might not have realized some of their whys, they surely know now you are one of them. You were a reason they went forward. They might never lay eyes on your radiant, eager face. Nevertheless, you were a splash of gas in their tank driving them a little further from where they started.
Now, it’s time for you to send the elevator back down.
And that? THAT’s the BEST part!
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