In the fall, I was asked to speak at a fundraising gala for an advocacy organisation. The topic was the value of people with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome. I obviously said yes. Only after I had said yes was I told that my name would go to a committee who would then decide. I never heard from them again, even when I followed up at an appropriate time. I still wonder if it was something I said or should I say, wrote. I wonder if, at some point they wandered onto my blog or Facebook page and decided that I was not actually someone they would like to speak at their dinner. I know that my blog suffers a bit from a multiple personality complex. I dabble in generating income from sponsored posts, I post about food, special needs, give family updates, ramble on and on and on about things I probably shouldn’t share in public spaces for the whole entire world to read. But it is, in this sense an accurate representation of who I am.
I know that some of my goals for the new year will revolve around this space – my blog. I see my blog and, subsequently my various other social media outlets in part, as business tools. They are used to sell the services and products that I offer, which include but are not limited to photography, design and storytelling. Because of this, I signed up for a 6-week blogger mentorship course. Since I signed up, I have been considering what type of material might be discussed and what kind of questions will be asked and I KNOW that at some point it will be implied that I need to articulate just what the heck I am doing and what I am all about. [Insert hair-pulling roar of frustration]. It’s hard to decide though and I don’t think I will ever just settle on one thing. Sometimes, I feel like to be truly authentic, my blog needs to be more personal than business. Then again, in considering it as a part of my business, there are times when I need to tell myself it is “tent-making”: a means to an end, that which funds or creates opportunity for me to support my “Causes”. By “Causes” I mean advocacy or faith or saving the world in which case, I should not overthink the content or subject matter that I include in this space but rather, as long as it doesn’t contradict my values, write what the people want to read and that which promotes my income generating services but how would that change the face of One Beautiful Life? I want to be a part of a highly vulnerable industry (the industry of writing and speaking on advocacy and faith), which requires a lot of transparency on my part and can open me up to a lot of judgment no only by those employing me but also by my audience.
Here is what I do know: I know that while it is highly unlikely that this organization read something that they found distasteful and that is why I was not asked to speak, I do want opportunities to do exactly that sort of thing in the future. Sure, I could speak about the importance of social media for not-for-profit organizations (apparently, according to LinkedIn many people think I know a lot about social media), but do I want to be known for social media coaching? No.
I want to inspire people, but not necessarily inspire them to gain 15,000 Instagram followers in one week. It’s a question everyone should ask themselves – when a future employer, new friend or family member views your Facebook page, twitter feed or blog, what do they see? One might say, “It’s not personal, its business.”
“What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s ‘personal’ to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?”
“Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”
(You’ve Got Mail – so many tidbits of wisdom in that movie, thank you Tom and Meg)
So why am I hashing this out here? Well, because if there is one thing that I have learned from a decade of blogging is that people really appreciate it when they can find someone to relate to and I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with these questions:
“What should I be when I grow up?”
“How can I make money but follow my passion?”
“I want to save the world but am stuck being a barista.”
Can you do both? Can you have your cake and eat it to? I am going to try. I am going to attempt to find a balance between doing what I love and earning an income.
…said every artist everywhere…
I am a storyteller: sometimes I use words and sometimes I use images. I can tell the story of a person – myself or someone else. I can tell the story of an idea using words or images to make it not only digestible but savory for the audience or I can tell the story of a product or service and help people see the benefits and values of it.
It’s going to be a process to bring it all together but I want to personally welcome you to Story Central: this place, where I tell the stories. Do you have a story you want told? Can I help? I’m for hire.