Exactly a year ago, I was driving to downtown Chicago, not knowing what to expect. This introvert/shy girl was having major inner dialogue with myself. I don’t like meeting strangers. Don’t like going into situations I know nothing about. It brings out that new girl insecurity I’ve battled most of my life.
We were headed to the Facebook Communities Summit: a gathering of 100 group leaders (and their two guests). Who was we? Me, a friend, and another summit attendee who lived nearby. Facebook treated us like royalty. It was fun to meet in real life people I’d met online months earlier. It was AMAZING to see our group name up behind Mark Zuckerburg as he rolled out Facebook’s new mission. Sheryl Sandberg greeted us in via video call, and the workshops began. The venues were awesome, workshops transformative, and conversations fun. The energy neverwaned; I’d be hard-pressed to share what I loved most about it. Actually, no I wouldn’t. It was the fact that this all coincided with our 4th bday as an organization. Three days later, I left with many new friends, lots of new ideas and a boatload of excitement.
Six months ago, I was (again) driving downtown to the Community Leadership Circle, sponsored by Facebook. We were the first of (now) several CLCs. This time, I was a little more relaxed, but still…just felt awkward once there. I didn’t know many people and my inner shy girls was tapping on my shoulder, reminding me of her existence. We left that afternoon, stoked as much as we could be! Who is we? Friends I’d met at the summit. Turns out that gal who lived a mile from me, was going too, and we carpooled again. Several of my friends from the Summit were there; I had no idea so many of us were from Chicago. I was glad I didn’t listen to that shy girl and stay home.
eAnd this week…well, it was another drive downtown and another amazing moment. I was asked if I could be free between 10-12 on Wednesday. I actually wasn’t, but was able to move things around. I am so glad I did. It was a true bucket list moment, as I sat across the table from Sheryl Sandberg, discussing what works and doesn’t work for us, on the Facebook platform. I am so glad of many things: I’ve all but silenced that shy girl (hopefully for good!) We, as a community, are recognized time and time again for what we do. We build communities. We elevate and prepare leaders. We reach out to troops, veterans and families. We use Facebook in a powerful way; we link arms across the states and country. I try every new tool available to us, from polls to Facebook Live to the mentor program to topics for our members to find things easier. I have no pride when I’m begging: for new features, new leaders or for funds to help us do what we do.
It’s been truly an amazing year….both for MMN and for we leaders. I think especially for me. I hope that you, as you are reading this, are thinking about your inner (fill in the blank). Let me encourage you to change your thoughts….and change your world. If I’d listened to my inner shy girl, I wouldn’t have gone to the Summit. I wouldn’t have gone to the leadership circle. I wouldn’t have met Sheryl Sandberg. More than all of that (and each of those was AWESSSOMMMMMEEEE!), I wouldn’t have conquered my fears and a little bit of the world. What is your hesitancy costing you? your circle of influence? the world?
Join me in silencing that voice inside our heads that make you and me stop….what will we miss if we don’t silence that voice? Be brave! One choice at a time.