What inspired or motivated you to give this talk at WordCamp?
Starting a blog has been the single-most impactful decision I’ve made in recent years. I’ve spent waaaaay too many years staying in my lane, so now I blog about helping people find their voice. I’d love nothing more than to inspire others to cultivate their thing and–while they’re at it–unabashedly own who they are.
Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those who are thinking about getting involved in the WordPress community?
Do it. Don’t just sit there contemplating. If you want to improve your life, surround yourself with people doing the thing you want to do. No joke. This practice has changed my mindset, my career, and my life.
If you could make one improvement to WordPress today, what would it be?
Hallelujah! They just changed my biggest pet peeve: The “publish” button is no longer RIGHT NEXT to the one for saving drafts. Whew, I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from seeing “Save draft” ALL THE WAY ON THE OTHER SIDE of the page.
Who do you most admire and why?
In the past year I encountered two women reporters who are breaking barriers, inspiring me in a big way.
First: In October I attended the Giant Steps conference,
(http://giantstepsmn.com), where I saw a panel featuring Kare11 reporter Jana Shortal. She spoke of the pain of trying to fit in to a pre-defined view of what a woman reporter looks like. When she finally had the courage to show up as herself, she took some hits from internet trolls, but her career took off as well.
She was hilarious and relatable and fantastic. And hey–how can I not be inspired by the author of a piece called, “I’m a TV newswoman, and No Thanks on the Lady Uniform.” (http://www.startribune.com/i-m-a-tv-newswoman-and-no-thanks-on-the-lady-uniform/382913191/)
Second: I attended the Women’s March this past January. Too busy to make arrangements with friends, I showed up alone. (http://resoundingyou.com/2017/01/23/i-went-to-the-womens-march-alone-heres-what-happened/) As I was bending down to take a (fabulously composed) shot of a protester holding a sign that read “Viva la Vulva,” I felt a tap on my shoulder.
A woman wearing a pom-pommed knit cap said, “My phone just died. What are the chances you could send me that photo?” As it happened, ESPN reporter Julie Stewart-Binks (http://www.espnfrontrow.com/2017/03/stewart-binks-eager-kick-off-espn-mls-sideline-reporting-sunday/) had also come to the march solo, despite being in town for less than 24 hours for a Wild game. (I mean, does she kick ass or what?) Now, I enjoy following her on Twitter, hearing how she defeats absurd obstacles like having sports mansplained to her on a daily basis.
What’s your favorite quote from a book or movie?
It’s funny: The other day I found myself wondering who Rumi was. I confess I don’t own a Rumi book, and I haven’t read much about this poet. But, man, these days I’m doing what I can to model my life around his quote: “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
As a woman in early midlife, I’m realizing for the first time how skilled I am at asking for permission. When it comes to seeking others’ approval, dang, I’m a straight-up master! This habit of intentionally shrinking ourselves is a learned phenomenon for too way many of us. I’m tired of it. Maybe you are, too.
My passion is helping others overcome this limitation, right along with me. For example, I’m in the process of developing my first online course: The Empowered Presenter: From Hesitance to Confidence. I may not have the natural charisma of Tony Robbins, but I gave talks so many times for my job, I learned to overcome my fears. Every time I hear some version of that stat that more people are afraid of speaking than dying, I want to reach out and help! It’s a learned skill. If I can do it, so can others.
Okay, y’all, let’s all refuse to live small!