Let's Be Resilient

October 29, 2013

I prepared for my workshop at Giant Steps like a boss. You know?

It was all a bit manic: throw some information together...consider if Power Point really is the best option...study for that graphic design midterm (because there are midterms when you commit to a class)...prep the house for a guest...have callbacks and cast the dance...maybe practice speaking, even if it's just to your cats.

Practice speaking: Hm... Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I've presented in front of a group of adults (other than when teaching dance, or directing a rehearsal) since college, other than that monologue I performed in 2007. So, although I feel very pleased with the information I presented in my workshop (and happy that so many people have reported it useful!), my next goal would be to learn to present without turning into a nervous crazy person. You know, the kind that speaks quickly, and almost aggressively in tone, and gets a little rambly at points. It's sortof like that time, years ago, when I waited on Josh Hartnett and his family. I was determined to avoid getting sappy over the sighting of a celebrity, but instead I got just a little bit aggressive and "so what will you have?" with him. Very undeserved, Josh.

There really was nothing to be nervous about, as I was surrounded by buddies on Friday-- people I've met via this blog, the twittersphere, and coffee dates. Oh-- and my lovely husband, who was wearing a tie! Minnesota is filled with exceptionally creative, big-dreaming, brave souls. I watched many of them in action (in awe of their calm, articulate, slow speaking styles), and was almost tricked into believing that bravery is a piece of cake. Then I had a flashback to last year's Giant Steps, during which I socialized little, kept my head down, and mostly felt like a creative freud. A total waste of energy, hey? But that's not the point. The point is: HEY! I'M FEELING WAY BRAVER! Having this flashback made me burst with pride for at least 30 seconds, realizing how far I've come. The panelists made the risk-taking appear easy, but I know the truth: it's damn hard work, every step of the way. Also: it's worth it. I insist that the more risks you take, the more the stakes feel a bit lower. As in, it's not all going to end if you fail. Also, what is failure anyway?

As speaker James Faghmous pointed out, labeling a result as 'failure' is "a shortsighted view on life. It might just be a steppingstone."

I completely agree. My failures have been immeasurably valuable. It's all about resilience: a willingness to get back up. Which brings me to my greatest entrepreneurship lesson-- the one I slid into my talk, regardless of how unrelated to content and storymapping exercises it was: 

The greatest gift you can give yourself is to learn how to separate your failures (and even successes) from your worth as a person. 

Learning how to do this will make you more resilient, because you will learn to avoid equating 'failure' with 'being a shitty person, who probably shouldn't have tried this in the first place.' You'll be more likely to spring back up and try again. Your endeavor is related to you, but it's not YOU, and when you realize that, the risk-taking feels less daunting, and more like a great possibility-- whether it's a first public speaking gig, or full-time self-employment. 

Thanks to everyone who took the time to introduce themselves at Giant Steps. In the next week or two, I'll be sharing more information from my talk. And, special thanks to Laura Brown for making me feel like a full-fledged adult with my fancy business cards-- they are hot!


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