Walking a Mile in My Next Steps
Over the summer, I shared a vision and a desire in one of the Consciously Woman blog posts.
“One of my mentor’s said, “Andrea, it’s time to go back to college, but not in the way you may think.” As I read her words, I could see it. The vision: To go on a college tour all over the United States and Canada and the world with my book, “Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey,” and talk with people about writing their stories, living in the mystery of life, riding the waves of adversity and challenge and finding the joy and triumph in every day. Each story is a mini topic and the talk could be adapted to things that are happening at each college. Each story is a topic for a conversation about life experiences with resources and tools to use in personal growth and with reflective questions. It feels like taking my creativity center on the road.”
Writing a book is a personal growth seminar in itself. I am going to take a moment to share some words about that and then onward to answer the question of the day.
The first stage of writing a book is knowing you have something to say and you have a desire to write it. That desire is stimulated when someone says to you, “You should write a book.” Or it is stimulated by your intuition and inner knowing. Or a feeling of jealousy about another writer who is doing what you want to be doing. Whatever it is, the desire is awakened and building until the time you are ready to write it.
The second stage is the writing. During the 10 years of mentoring women to write a story in Evolutionary Women and then Heal My Voice, I always wrote a personal story in every book. It helped me to remember the vulnerability of sharing my words for the first time. It doesn’t matter how many stories, blog posts, or books I have written, every time I send my words and ask someone for feedback, editing, or a reflection, I feel vulnerable. I feel nervous. I wonder if I am good enough. I question if I have the right story. I feel like a little girl. I want to protect myself. I always feel the tenderness of what it was like the first time I asked someone to read my words, and I remember how I sobbed when I saw the red lines of the editing. So, when I self-published the book, Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey, this summer, I had already been out of my comfort zone many, many times.
The third stage: the book was released and the next level of sharing it, talking about it brought up wave after wave of feelings and the next place of discomfort. This summer, I had already been preparing and laying a “field of energy” with the release of my book on Instagram, by posting some introductory Instagram posts and an Instagram post for each story. Then, with a plan for Facebook Live, Instagram Videos, Sound Cloud Recordings, and Radio Shows over the fall, winter, and spring, all of which is already in motion and the discomfort rises.
It started with Facebook Live at the end of September. I have recorded over 75 Facebook Live videos in the last few years, and I have a system and confidence. But, when I started to record 30 days of Facebook Live this time, several things had changed in the Facebook Live format. I didn’t like it. It felt awkward, and I didn’t like the location in the room and the photos of me. The actual sharing of the stories, feelings, and my voice were all great. I liked the flow of that. I was in the zone and flowing with the information. The discomfort came when I reviewed the video every day before sharing it on different social media platforms.
The critical voice:
“My boobs look too big!” I have gained 10 lbs and my chest and stomach are bigger.
“My hair looks terrible.” The hair stylist cut my hair uneven and my bangs were out of control. What do I want to do with them?
“I don’t like the look of the video!” Facebook Live changed the format, and I can’t use landscape on my phone. The lighting in the room is different this time of year.
“This shirt is too big.” As I was wearing a shirt from my friend’s closet.
“This shirt is too casual.” As I was wearing a T-shirt.
With all of the discomfort, I kept hearing the words, “Wax On, Wax Off.” Do you know those words from the film, The Karate Kid? Basically, it means, show up, do the work, keep practicing. Show up, do the work, keep practicing — stop thinking! Just show up, do the work, keep practicing. My intention from the beginning was to show up. Prepare for the Live video by reading the story for the day, sharing a question for reflection, sharing a topic, reading a few paragraphs, and sharing a personal reflection. Then, upload the video to YouTube, Google and Pinterest, and share on Facebook. Done. Go about my day. I even had the thought, before I started recording, that I would delete everything or make it private after the 30 days. The videos will provide me with guidance for the next step. Radio shows? Living room gatherings? Workshops? Record more videos? Speaking on college campuses?
And then someone sent me a private message and asked if I wanted feedback about the videos. This was someone I had only talked with once about house sitting. My immediate reaction, awakened by this at 4:00 A.M., was a feeling of inner judgement, defensiveness, and vulnerability. After a few hours, I asked her a question to clarify, and 24 hours later she shared that if I want to reach a broader audience, I should think about getting a stylist who could help me with hair, make-up suggestions, and clothing. Ugh! I already knew that. I was just hoping to push past it for now. By the time she shared the feedback, I had to laugh. Okay, Universe. Got it! Time to level up, and put some attention on my appearance. No more hiding. I can delete the videos, if I want to, but the vision is calling me to step it up! She was just a reflection, and a kick in the butt about something I already knew. All summer long, I had a feeling about going shopping and embracing my body, as is, with a few new clothes. I had my haircut right before the video series, but for some reason, the styling wasn’t working and the cut was uneven. Body is changing, hair is changing, and Facebook Live format is changing. I appreciated her words, and the courage and honesty it took to share them with me.
The words from a stranger gave me a nudge.
- I am learning how to blow dry my hair. (Even 5 minutes makes a difference.)
- Hair appointment scheduled.
- Donating some of my old clothes.
- Shopping with intention. What is my style now? What looks and feels good on my body?
- Packing my suitcase for the next few months of travel, with the intention of being on the road in different climates with authentically, business casual clothing.
- Reflecting on different ideas for recording video.
- Recording for Instagram at the end of the year.
- Recording on Sound Cloud or Mix Cloud over the winter.
- Listening for opportunities.
Yesterday, the video was better. The dress, jewelry, hair, all looked authentic for me. With a little bit of effort, I did better.
Today, this woman, who doesn’t really know me, had listened to the videos, found value in my words, and was encouraging me, sent me these words:
“You are in visible leadership. Anything that will support that is important. The dress you wore yesterday looked great on camera, had a natural yet professional look and was a match for you energetically.”