[This post was published earlier today on the website for the Customer Love project I am a part of this month. I was honored to be chosen as a guest author.]
I used to be a lurker.
I’m scared of everything that might happen. Scared I won’t be able to handle whatever comes next.
I thought I would feel safe if I could fit in.
So I hid the real me behind a fake version of myself.
I hid for so long that I didn’t know where I was.
My life is sad and empty without me in it.
I want to feel alive.
I want to bubble over with enthusiasm about the work I do.
I want to have conversations where we are our real, authentic, original, free selves.
I want to do what makes my heart sing.
Since it helps me to organize my thoughts, I started to write. Since I had been hiding behind masks for so long, it felt important to go public by writing a blog.
Then I distilled years of reading and thinking into an ebook which I wrote to remind myself of what is important to me.
I still didn’t know where I was going, but I had remembered how to listen to my heart.
Heads are cool, but hearts rule.
My heart is leading me home. Here’s how events have unfolded.
On September 24th, I watched the clock until tickets for the World Domination Summit went on sale. I’ve rarely felt that I had to have tickets to something like I had to have them for this event. People leading non-conformist lives will be coming from all over the world to Portland, Oregon next June. I wanted to be part of it! During the registration process, I filled out my profile, and was [naively] disappointed that only WordPress blogs would show up in the feed. Without realizing what delights awaited me, I decided to switch my blog over to WordPress. It turns out an amazing woman named Tara will be going, too. She sent me a message because we live a mere 30 miles apart. We started following each other on Twitter, and that’s how I found out she would be offering an online WordPress course which started October 8th. It is the most valuable $197 I have ever spent. It was fun, and now I have an amazing new website and the skills to maintain it [and build another if I want].
This is where #customerlove comes in. By the start of November, the initial buzz of learning a new skill was wearing off as I was left with the hard part: website content. So I did what works for me, I went to the internet for inspiration. I was poking around and went to look at a website which had a style element which a classmate admired. That is how I came upon the IttyBiz site.
The teacher will appear when the student is ready.
I arrived the week Naomi shut down IttyBiz Phase I, but, engaged by her story and snarky online persona, I began to follow her on Twitter. Enter #customerlove.
After downloading and reading Customer Love by Lavonne and David, I was still stuck, so I used one of my favorite motivators: I chose an arbitrary deadline and announced it: I signed up for customerlove. November 30th, here I come!
After each blog post, I asked people to follow me on Twitter and sign up for my email list. I started tweeting in earnest: replying to people I didn’t know, asking questions. Soon I had installed Skype (stunning sound clarity BTW). I spent an amazing time talking to Peggie for one of her Income Incubator sessions. I talked to Colin and learned that he is a wizard who happens to teach math as a means of giving us the courage to face our fears. I finally created a punch list for finishing and launching my website after a Sandbox Session with Melissa.
Without knowing much about me at all, LaVonne said yes when I asked if I could write a guest post for customerlove. She sent me login information and instructions. Wow! I’ve had jobs where I’ve worked for years and I never got that level of trust. Granted, she has so much going on that she was probably relieved to have another volunteer, but it got me thinking about the power of inclusion.
Last week, I dreamed that I was at the base of a stage. There was a popular local band on stage singing a song I loved. I wanted to tell my friends about it, but they had disappeared because they didn’t want to listen. I sat down in a chair in the first row, but I chose a seat pretty far from where anyone else was sitting. By this time the band had left the stage and had taken seats across the aisle. I was feeling alone and sorry for myself when one of the band members gently told me that I was the one putting the distance between myself and others. He told me to ask for help from the people who were interested in the same sort of things I was. Soon after, I found myself at a long table with the band members and some other people, who, like me, were looking for a place to be heard, understood, and welcomed. Even though I knew my work would be difficult, I knew I had found companions for the journey. I felt wonderful! I felt safe, loved, and appreciated. This made me feel strong and centered.
In case I didn’t make it clear enough, the dream was the story of how being a part of #customerlove has felt to me. I am not as active as I will be soon, but at every moment of the day (and some at night) I am aware that I am a part of this amazing group of people. Thank you.
Step into the light. Come join us at the table!