Putting Yourself Out There

It seems like in today’s world people are pretty comfortable putting themselves out there, posting pictures and stories of their lives on Facebook, links to videos and stuff they like, even political and religious stuff. I post next to nothing on Facebook, but I’m a liker, a sometimes commenter, and a reader.  However, I do love posting pictures on Instagram. I love Instgram! I think maybe it’s because I like taking pictures so much. Then, of course, there’s the blog. This blog makes me happy, but it also makes me feel like I’m putting all of me out there. Well, not all of me, but a lot of me, and my family too.

Thankfully I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with it, but I still waver between thinking Should I be sharing this much? and thinking I could be a lot braver and share a lot more. I am definitely not out there shouting, Listen up everyone! I have a blog! You should read it! Au contraire. I’d say a lot of people who know me, don’t even know I have a blog.

I remember when I read Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids, or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, or Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, I kept wondering how it felt for these women to expose themselves at such a deep level, and how thankful I was that they did.  It’s what made those books so interesting and relatable. But how did they muster up the courage to do it? What was it like knowing people were reading about your sordid past? Judging you? I imagine it would be incredibly scary yet incredibly liberating.

Not that this compares, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve written three proposals for potential web development work. I’m also getting ready to sell pillows at a holiday craft fair, and adding stuff to my Etsy site. And it’s hard!  Well actually, the act of doing these things isn’t what’s hard, it’s hitting the ‘save’ or ‘send’ or ‘publish’ button that’s hard. What’s hard is mustering up the courage to say, Here. This is me. This is what I have for you. This is what I charge. Please don’t think I’m stupid. Or asking too much. Please choose me!

Last week, just as I was about to hit the send button to email off a proposal, procrastinating, I checked my email, and in my inbox was something from Seth Godin’s blog, with the subject of “The Initiator.” Here’s what it said:

For each person who cares enough to make something, who is bold enough to ship it, who is generous enough to say, “here, I made this,”…

There are ten people who say, “I could have done it better.”

A hundred people who say, “Who are you to do this?”

A thousand people who say, “I was just about to do that,”

and ten thousand people who don’t care at all.

And all of that is okay, because the person we need, the one we cherish, the one we would miss, is the first person, the initiator, the one who cares.

Thanks for shipping your work.

Even though I wasn’t “shipping” something, so to speak, his email was timed perfectly. It made me smile and gave me confidence. It made me remember that I’m putting myself out there for me, because I care, and because I think I have something valuable to offer. I’m not trying to rip anyone off, or undersell myself just to get a job. I’m simply saying here’s what I have, take it or leave it. If you decide to take it, I’ll give you my best. And if you decide to leave it, I’ll try to understand.

So thank you, once again, Seth Godin, for inspiring me to have faith in me. It’s scary. Yet thrilling. And I’m learning so much.

I got yes’s back quickly for two of the proposals, and I’m still waiting to hear back on the third. The craft fair is on December 5th and 6th. And while my etsy site doesn’t get too much activity, I continually (and slowly) work at taking better pictures and writing better copy to show off my pillows. It’s a great exercise on presenting myself. And it makes me love my Wizard of Oz pillows, which always remind me:

  1. Follow your heart.Follow Your Heart Tin Man Pillow
  2. Experience not brains will make you wiser.
    Scare Crow Pillow
  3. You’re braver than you think.
    Cowardly Lion Pillow

(I really need to take some better pictures, don’t I?)

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