In college when my Public Speaking instructor began our first day of class with the statement "I don't give A+'s in class because there is no such thing as a perfect speech" she had no idea the fire she started within Ashley Goodwin (who was sitting next to her now BFF Del Wallace!). To me she was saying I could never be as great as I wanted to be, and damnit if I was going to prove her wrong. That's the interesting thing I notice about myself, the minute someone tells me "no" or that I can't do something, I strive to show them otherwise. Oddly enough this doesn't work when it comes to food. "Hey Ashley, I bet you can't stay away from those malasadas for the rest of the year!" Yep. You're probably right. No sense denying it. Public speaking has always been a passion of mine, although I get antsy when made the center of attention, I love to be an "entertainer", and what better way to use that award I received while studying abroad as "the best broadcasting voice" than to spend my free time yakking? Who knows if it was my drive or my overly passionate speech against racism that blew everyone's hair backwards, needless to say I got an A+ in my public speaking class, the first ever, along with the notion from my teacher that I would be "an amazing speech writer and giver one day. Maybe even for the President. [I should] consider it". Too bad I have absolutely no interest in politics whatsoever. But proving Ms. Jones wrong showed me two things: 1. I can do absolutely anything I want to do, and 2. I enjoy public speaking. Given all of my C's in conduct in grade school for always talking, I am certain lots of people recognized this long before I did.
Tuesday night I had the absolute honor of meeting some of the women of the Pursuit 31 Hawaii photography group. Hosted by the gracious Alyssa (A-Lisa!) Turner it was a night of making new friends, sharing stories, and devouring baked potatoes and coconut cream pie. Okay I devoured baked potatoes and coconut cream pie.
I had the privilege of
rambling speaking to the room of about fifteen women on my opinion of the importance of "putting yourself out there" and the diverse meaning of the phrase. Each of our voices are different, so it is my belief that the way we approach our businesses, lives, and styles should absolutely reflect that. Putting yourself "out there" in the sense of how you share online (what I think of as being a "connector" or a "curiosity" ), Making your intentions known, and opening yourself to opportunities, all while being our absolute true selves, resisting the urge to emulate those we see as "successful" around us and finding the perfect balance of what works for us. Figuring out who the hell we are then letting it permeate into our work. After all, we all got into business for ourselves to do what we wanted to do, right? So why aren't we always doing it?
It was my first time speaking on my own to a group of women and I loved every minute of it! I won't lie, getting up there and talking with thirty eyeballs glaring at you is intimidating, but with a topic I was so whole-heartedly passionate about and a few jokes, I left feeling like I had accomplished what I set out to do that night. To encourage people to walk to the beat of their own drum. To forget what everyone else is doing, and to listen to our gut. Most importantly, I was aiming to do what I have always wanted to do, and that is to help people. (So hopefully I helped someone, if not just myself! HA!)
I am so so thankful to Alyssa for asking me to head up the evening, and grateful to the women who smiled, laughed, nodded, and encouraged me to keep going even when I drew a blank. Thank you all for showing up, listening, giving awesome feedback, and most importantly helping me realize one of my BHAD (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), and that is to motivate and encourage people to live their dreams (whatever they may be) through my work and public speaking. Because I believe in passion so why shouldn't we be making our dreams come true?
Some instagram shots from Alyssa Turner and Marissa. Thank you for your support Marissa Rodriguez, for silently clapping in the back of the room and laughing when no one else thought I was funny (you know, that one time...HA!). I love you for it!