photo credit : Armosa Studios for WDS.
here's part one.
(In case you've been on the edge of your seat, Ellerie did, indeed, go back to a decent sleep schedule.)
When we first talked about what I would say at WDS, my topic was "making stuff is a way of life." And then I realized that I could go much bigger than that. Making stuff (a living, relationships, ideas, etc) IS a way of life. And for me, that's SUPER literal. I make stuff. But for others, the idea is a bit more difficult to translate. I didn't want to lose people on a technicality here.
If you say you're talking about "making stuff" - you're taking the risk that people will (incorrectly) think "Ugh, creativity. I'm not creative. This talk is not for me." And, while I am not an expert at this, I think the first rule of public speaking is, "make them think the talk is for them."
So I backed up and made it broader. What I am I really doing when I am setting creative goals and "making stuff" is making a statement. Not "hey! Look at how meaningful and powerful my art is!" but "hey! I want to do this so I am going to."
I realized that what I really care about, so much more than making stuff, is making a bold statement. Saying what you want out loud. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and put your goal, wish, ambition out there. It's scarier than it sounds, laying it out there. Because as soon as you say it, it might not happen and then there is this fear that someone will know you failed.
But I think failure is equally important to the success story. Not in the "oh look how many times he got back up, wow, I am so inspired" way but in the "if you're going all in, you're messing up CONSTANTLY" way. We learn by doing. When you are not messing up, it's probably because you're not learning and therefore, not trying anything new.
I have spoken in front of a large group (140ish people) once before this time. And at that speech, I shared the following Amy Poehler quote too. This is the quote you get if you ask me to speak because it's brilliant and applicable to nearly every situation there is.
“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that – that is what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.” - Amy Poehler
Sidebar : If I ever get the opportunity to write a memoir, I'm going to pepper that quote into every chapter. Partly because it's just true and partly because if you're a funny person (I'm looking at you, Tina and Mindy) it's part of your contract with the world to dedicate a section of your book to a smart anecdote about Amy Poehler. Right? Publishers, feel free to back me up on this.
I mean, COME ON. Trying! THAT IS WHAT LIFE IS.
That's why I signed on to do this scary speech! I could not do it and move on, happy in my comfortable bubble. Or I could do it. Pop the bubble and suddenly find myself in a larger more exciting space.
This goes along with my theory about how "nobody cares about almost." I don't want to know about what you almost did. Or almost tried. I want to know about what you did. I want to know about what you tried. "Oh, you failed spectacularly? Awesome." I am so much more interested in that than your story about how you didn't fail because you only thought about trying.
These thoughts above were all whirling as I started to pull this together. This is what I was hashing out with Ellerie nearly every day in May. It's funny - Ellerie's vocabulary really took off these past few months. At the beginning of May it was like "Ma-ma!" and now it's like "that is what life is, Ma-ma!"
to be continued...