Life is so funny. You set off to do one thing and that leads to another and yet another. Still uncertain of the circuitous path you are taking you learn to say yes to what feels right and no to what does not.
And then one day you find yourself standing on stage in a ballroom in the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood Shores just down the street from the offices of companies with names like Oracle, Salesforce and Electronic Arts, speaking to a group of entrepreneurs who are all part of the largest women's online community, BlogHer.
Your topic is selling - that part of you that you thought you left behind when you closed the door to your corporate office for the last time.
What is even stranger is that it feels so right. As if all the energy centers you had invested yourself in had suddenly joined together to create your very own perfect storm.
When I think about it I can't help but giggle.
The shy kid who literally clung to her mother's skirts - afraid to be seen much less heard. Who grew up amidst the noise, laughter and constant chatter of a big, fat Greek family that I was sure would never hear me even if I tried.
So I didn't.
I kept my thoughts inside my head - finding safety only in the written word and a few very close friends, until the day my tenth grade English teacher, Mr. Keyes picked my essay to read aloud to our class. I tried to crawl under the table. I don't recall what I wrote about but I still remember my surprise afterwards when my classmates told me how good it was. And that I wanted to believe them - but I didn't.
As it was - I was far from ready to be heard. Really heard.
Over time, I stopped hiding. I learned to speak with ease. I learned not to be afraid to hear my own voice. I taught. I sold. I managed people. I gained confidence. But what I really thought, my views and perspective on what I thought important - that I kept inside the pile of journals that were quickly accumulating.
Until one day - November 18, 2008 - I started a blog. And just like that I had readers. Readers who gave me assurances I could write and should - more and more of my truths. About life. About business. I had a place to share my stories. That's when it started to shift.
I've spoken many times before. In conference rooms, classrooms, to groups of varying sizes. But last Tuesday was the first time I spoke in a real hotel ballroom, on a stage with one of those mikes that clips on to your clothes.
The funniest thing was I wasn't afraid.
I had just the right amount of fear. The kind that I told the audience you use to propel yourself forward - not the kind that makes you stand still.
I felt something shift - yet again. I'm still not entirely clear on what that was but I do know that the nugget of an idea I've had for my next book took form.
A week later and I am still surprised how much I enjoyed it. How right it felt to share what I know about business, about selling, about digital tools and marketing on a stage to a group that was mostly women sprinkled with a few good men.
And when people tweeted nice things and told me after how much they enjoyed my talk I didn't second guess them.
Like I said. Something shifted.
Life is so funny.
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