I recently gave my first solo workshop, a three-hour presentation to a local audience. I did it. I did it!
The big event is over. The nerves are done nudging me along. All the materials needed to do the best work I could do have been put away. The "dress up clothes" are back on the hangers, the key to the presentation space has been returned, the snack foods, markers, wipe-off board, pens, tablets, folders and books have been returned to their rightful places. I have taken notes on what went well and what I would improve upon next time. My desk is clear of all evidence of the workshop and my office has been restored to the calm, insightful space of creation and support for clients.
The very event I had been hesitating to do (yet the very event I played almost obsessively over and over in my head) is done, the weekend has passed, and now it is back to a new normal. So I wonder, what would I say to myself, the me who hadn't done the workshop yet? What advice or nudge would I give to my prior self to help me along? What advice would be helpful to anyone who is stepping out and up and into the next phase or event in their work?
1. Commit to it. Find a date, a time, and a place, and make it happen. The sense of commitment and responsibility will kick in and will make you do the best you can because you "have" to do it now.
2. Don't reinvent the wheel. Learn from the experts. How did they do it so well? Follow their guidelines. (Thank you, Katy Piotrowski!)
3. Yet, be your unique self. You shouldn't be a cookie cutter version of another person's work or style. Yes, learn from them, but then do it your way. It will feel feel natural and empowering. That is, after all, what made them successful, too.
4. Attend to every detail. Look at it from all angles, ask others if they think you are missing anything, and then let it go. This is (probably) not brain surgery you are performing, so do the very best you can and still be open to missing a few things.
5. Trust that you can handle any screw-ups. You really can. No one and no situation is perfect, and letting go of that impossible scenario is freeing. Maintaining a sense of humor and perspective and owning the mistake(s) is all that is needed. Move on.
6. Your work and talents will improve over time. This is not the only time you will be doing this, it is just the first time, or the second time, or the whatever time. Allow yourself to grow in front of people. Allow yourself to get better and better. You might want to hit it out of the ballpark the first time, but setting that goal could overwhelm you and stop you from even trying. There should always be room for improvement.
7. Remember that you have a gift to offer others. What may be easy and natural to you may not be easy and natural for others. Share your gifts.
8. Take a deep breath. Be your natural self.
9. Celebrate! You did it!
10. And count on doing it, even better, next time.