When I was 12, I was desperate to be a supermodel. I remember reading in Seventeen Magazine that Nikki Taylor had been discovered while she was waiting at an airport, so for years after that, every time I flew, I would get breathless with desperation for some talent scout to pluck me from the traveling masses and plaster my face on billboards and magazines. (Thankfully - and no disrespect to supermodels - my older sister reminded me that I have a powerful brain and should do something more meaningful with my life. Phew!)
But that idea that I had to "be discovered" stuck with me. I wasted a good few years of my life, even as an adult, waiting to be chosen, wishing for recognition, waiting for nominations, and wishing for accolades. And I wasted even more of my life feeling deflated when they never came.
What an idiot.
Because what I realized with time and experience, is that the world doesn't work that way. We are led to believe that if we are good at something or have something to offer or create something worth sharing, that others will magically find out about it and find out about us. "If you build it, they will come" and all that.
But that's utter nonsense.
A lot of the time, the people on things like Forbes' lists get on those lists because they apply to be on them. A lot of the time, the companies that win awards are the ones that put themselves forward for the awards. A lot of the time, the speakers who deliver key notes at conferences are the ones who pitch themselves as speakers.
They're not discovered. They do the work and give themselves a chance, instead of relying on chance.
If I had really wanted to be a supermodel all those decades ago, I should have gotten a headshot, gone to auditions, threw my hat in the ring and done the work - and kept doing it and kept auditioning - instead of being passive-depressive about it.
Because as wonderful as we all may be and as much as we all may do, no one else is keeping track. No one is tallying all the amazing things we accomplish. No one is talking about our many wonderful ways of giving back. And they (almost) never will.
For example, over the past few years, I have volunteered 800 (yes, 800) hours of my time to my alma mater through free mentoring, coaching, and workshops. Is anyone chasing after me with a medal for my service? Is anyone nominating me for some sort of recognition? No, and no. But, if there is ever an opportunity to nominate myself, will I do so? Yes. And, of course.
Does that make me a self-promoting jackass? No. Because I did the work. I volunteered the hours. I didn't do it so I could get recognition, but if the opportunity to be recognized arises, then I'm going to recognize myself for how much I contributed and put myself forward.
That's what we all need to do. If you did the work, apply for the award. If you meet the requirements, put yourself forward. If you lived the experience, pitch for the story. If you have the product, ask people to buy it.
There is nothing holy about obscurity. There is nothing holy about anonymity. And there is nothing unholy about not staying obscure or anonymous.
Put yourself forward. Put yourself out there. Put yourself in the race. It doesn't mean you will always get what you want. But trying sure as hell beats waiting for someone else to discover what is wonderful about you or your business when you already know it is there.
I don't know about you, but the first 3 months of this year were insane. On my side, I did 8 public speaking events, 12 workshops/webinars, wrote 15 articles, hosted 16 podcast interviews, gave 3 podcast interviews, mentored 7 founders, did one-on-one coaching for 3 different people in 3 different time zones, wrote 3.75 chapters for my book, got an agent for my book (!), all while juggling another business, a toddler, and a 4 month old baby. *Deep exhale....*
So, at the end of March, I did the best thing I could do for myself and decided to take the month of April off. I didn't unplug 100% but I did the bare minimum to keep things ticking along and gave myself a break. I read all eight Bridgerton novels, saw my family in New York, took the pressure off to do, do do, and do, and am still on a slow burn until next week.
BUT, I know I can't - or won't - last like this. I am a do-er, an action-taker, a creator, and a mover, so I need to do, act, create, and move. But after almost a month off, getting back into gear is SOOOOOO hard.
We all face this how-do-I-get-going-again conundrum at some time or another at least once a year. Usually it happens after a career break, parental leave, summer holidays, Christmas, a sabbatical, or just a long weekend, and we find it hard to muster the energy to get going again.
So what do I do to get back into execution mode? Well, I start slow. After my "April off", I am warming up my doing muscles by writing a little each day and hosting just one workshop next week.
And I make plans, based on what is most important. I have sat down to map out what the first few weeks of May will look like so I get all of my submissions in to publishers and my mastermind gets up and running with a bang. I've even planned to go out for a long, leisurely breakfast cooked by someone else on the day my baby daughter starts at day care.
And I ask for help. This means my VA, my husband, and a few other select people I can trust to lend a hand. Asking for help is hard because it means letting go, but I would rather let go than be resentful of all I have to do (for me, those are the only options). The things I've asked for help with are as small as asking my husband to organize play dates instead of the family "admin" always falling on me, to ordering ready meals so I don't always get stuck in the kitchen.
That's it: start small (to build up the momentum again), make a plan (so I don't flail around feeling overwhelmed and stare blankly at my computer each day), and ask for help (so I don't loose steam before I have any to loose).
These small things have helped me time after time, and if you're in need of a mojo injection, I know they will help you too.