Ack. Even the title makes me want to run and hide under the bed (if I had a bed, that is).
Why is it that I can publicly proclaim that I fucked up my life, that I struggle with depression and tend to drink a tad much…but when it comes to making a simple announcement like: “I intend to become a professional speaker” it feels an order of magnitude more difficult?
And what’s with the wishy-washy “intend to become” part?
What needs to happen between “intend to become” and “am”? Do I need a certificate? Do I need a cheque? How big does it need to be? (That would be the cheque, not the certificate…although…if Ed McMahon dropped by with a great big certificate…well, it would be really creepy, ’cause he’s dead, right?)
Of course, I’m doing *everything* wrong in this quest. I’m exposing my weaknesses and insecurities on this blog. I tell you about my problems and challenges as they happen. My victories tend to be small. (I made a decision! I took a shower!). Almost like I’m human or something. (Aren’t “pro speakers” supposed to be larger than life and better than we are? Something to aspire to? I mean, really, who would want to be me?)
I talk about “me” instead of “you” – and I don’t say: “this is helpful advice. Here are 5 easy steps. You should do it too.” No. Instead, I tell my story and let you draw conclusions or pick out helpful bits on your own (assuming there *are* any helpful bits). Almost like I think you’re smart or something.
Then there’s the whole “dressing inappropriately” part. I was once advised that if I wanted to be a “pro speaker” I would need to look the part. Meaning suit (with a skirt), pantyhose, high-heeled shoes, fluffy hair and makeup. Otherwise no one would take me seriously. (And I thought the main requirements were being entertaining and educational on stage. Silly me.)
That scared me off for a couple of years. Honestly. For the longest time, I had “get complete makeover” as the first thing on my “becoming a professional speaker” checklist. I might as well have put: “become a different person.” And maybe that’s what I actually meant. Because item two was: “get over all your stuff.”
Right. The stuff.
A long, long, long time ago – back when I was a teenager or young adult. I made a vow to myself that one day “I would help other people like me.”
I decided that meant I would “learn to get over all *my* stuff” and then I would “teach people like me how to get over all *their* stuff.”
So for the next 20 years or so, I worked on “getting over all my stuff.” And as soon as I got over “some stuff” what I found was (surprise!) “more stuff.” And I found a lot of this “fixing myself” started to seem a whole lot like “pretending to be someone else” in order to “be like everyone else.”
And then I totally embraced the whole notion of Authenticity. And non-conformity. And I realized that “personal growth and development” is unique to each individual (um…I wonder if that’s why it’s called *personal* growth). And it’s a life long journey, not a destination – and that means I would never be Perfect Finished.
Which means that, imperfect as I am – I have no excuse not to start.
So this is me…starting. On Wednesday (3 more sleeps!), I’m flying to Las Vegas to attend Lady and the Champs to hobnob with 140 professional and wannabe professional speakers. Last night, I received the details for this event, including this little tidbit:
Please dress comfortably; business or business casual.
I’m interpreting the semi-colon to mean “or” – how could it possibly mean “and”? In any case, I’m going to wear pajamas.
I suspect that I might be the only one there wearing pajamas. Which could mean any or all of the following may happen:
- People look at me funny
- No one is willing to eat lunch with me
- I get thrown out for violating the dress code
Throw in a couple of sadistic gym teachers and it’s junior high all over again.
They may also object to my home made business cards (which I am making as soon as we go to the store and pick up some cardboard and crayons) which say:
Patty K (noun) – a pajama-wearing cross between a motivational speaker and a stand up comic
I make fun of stuff
More than anything else, I’m worried that I might be shown the error of my ways and come back from the weekend in an appropriate suit with frou frou hair and makeup.
You’ll know I’ve been “assimilated” if I emerge with a new tag line like: “value added strategy and incremental improvement for user engagement in your buying funnel.” And saying things like “ROI” when I’m not talking about the king in French.
Wish me luck.