One of those big things I’ve been working on lately is the ability to speak up for myself confidently. It’s never been a strong suit for me – I’m an extroverted introvert – you know, I can relate to people, but my natural habitat is curled up with a book, joking around with one or two friends, or sitting behind a computer screen typing a blog post.
These past few months I (and we, as a family) made it our mission to get out and about, connect with people, chat, talk, CONNECT. Along with all of that connecting comes the inevitable, dreaded question: “so what is it exactly that you DO?” I’ve gotten better about formulating an answer for this questions, but I still have lots to learn. This even came up when I attended quilt market. I actually met the creative director of my favorite fabric company, and I blew it.
Yep. I stammered a bit. (Unusual for me.) I hemmed and hawed and generally made a fool of myself. Sigh. I’m normally very self possessed and assured. But not this time. And it got me thinking about why.
I had actually started reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon on the plane while I traveled. Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t gotten this far. Had I come to these few pages, it might have saved me from making an absolute goob of myself.
See, it’s important for you to value your work. And part of that is to speak up for yourself.
I struggle with this myself.
But as I’m branching in to different fields of work, art, and study, I’m learning the importance of being able to “make a pitch.” I’ve got tremendous value to offer, and the only way it will ever be tapped is if I learn to present it to others. It’s kind of like cupping your hands and filling them with a big pile of beautiful things your are, and have, and do. If I stand and hold them, people may pass by and show interest, a few may inquire, but I will never tap the full potential of what I’m capable of. I don’t have to stand on a soapbox yelling. I don’t have to throw them at you. I just need to look you confidently in the eye, and say, “This is worth it. And I’ll prove it to you.”
Please, please consider picking up this book. I’m only beginning to understand the impact it’s having on me. I feel inspired and encouraged. The author, Austin Kleon, has a great interview here sharing the importance of self promotion as an artist – the topic of Show Your Work.