Ok, time for another un-awesome truth.

Yay! New pink shoes thanks to my shoe-fairy @lindsaydrake.

You know how I'm teaching 4 workshops in the next few days? Yeah, I'm nervous.

Although I teach all the time, I don't often hold in-person workshops. On top of that, the Western North Carolina Art Councils are not my typical audience. Usually, when you come to one of my classes (in person or online) you already know me. You come because you've been reading this blog, or my book, or you get my emails. You have an idea of what you're getting – a fast-talking, pink-haired, enthusiastic book nerd with a few too many pop culture references.

That's because, like I'm always encouraging you to do, I fill my business with my Right People, and I focus all my energy on serving them. That means I am pretty much always surrounded by people who both get me and like me. But at these workshops, students aren't coming because they know me, they're coming because they're HIA members and they want to learn the subject matter.

This tiny shift is monumental.
It means that, for the first time in a long time, I'm not already totally comfortable. I'm hesitant being my weird self. And the truth is, I debated with myself: is it better to focus solely on the self-selected Right People…or go outside my already-defined comfort zone and serve not-yet-my-Right People.

But even though I still have no idea how it will go, or if I'll fail miserably, I am confident that this is the right thing to do. I know I need to wade out into unknown waters and try something new. Even if I bomb, I need to show myself that I can take the flawed, enthusiastic self and be fully ME in front of perfect strangers. I need to trust that what holds true with us, here, in the safe spaces I've built (on the blog, email, Twitter, and the Starship), will hold true in the Outside World. That openness, bravery, and exploration work for me all the time, and that business help that centers on defining your ideal business speaks to everyone.

Oh, I still stand by my assertion that you should focus your marketing energy on your Right People, 100% of the time. You don't need to try to make yourself uncomfortable and scared. Life provides enough moments to be brave. But if an opportunity comes up for you to meet a whole new audience? One that you just don't know about yet? Take it. Try it.

What Brave New Thing have you done lately? Let's celebrate our bravery in the comments!

PS. Also, thanks to a tip from Alex, I'm using science to calm myself. I'm not nervous, I'm vibrating with anticipation! I'm not sweaty, I'm enthusiastic!

6 Comments on Bravery outside the safe space

  1. Karen Caterson
    May 2, 2013 at 11:37 am (6 years ago)

    Go, brave girl, Go!!

    I’m planning on being brave tonight – heading to a social group that looks to be filled with new folks (I was away for awhile). I’ll remember what you said here: “I’m not nervous, I’m vibrating with anticipation!” – makes me think of what Fritz Perls (father of Gestalt Therapy) said about anxiety being excitement – without the breath.

  2. Tara Swiger
    May 2, 2013 at 11:50 am (6 years ago)

    Ooh, Karen! I like that reminder to BREATHE out of anxiety and into excitement!
    Go! Be brave tonight! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  3. Julie Dumas
    May 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm (6 years ago)

    I went back to school after 30 some years, and it was scary and wonderful. Your book and blog and information helped me in one of my Senior classes for an A on a tough assignment (as well as my business growth). Thanks Tara, and good luck with your Brave New Thing!

  4. numon
    May 3, 2013 at 7:51 am (6 years ago)

    I’m trying to make bigger my small business of handmade bags and that scares me but I know I have to do it.

  5. Tara Swiger
    May 3, 2013 at 8:31 am (6 years ago)

    I know that’s scary, but it’ll be a bit less scary if you get really specific. What does “bigger” mean to you? More customers? Wholesale accounts? Craft shows? Whatever you want, getting specific will help you figure out what tiny thing you can do next.

  6. Joanna Strong
    May 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm (6 years ago)

    Tara, I have every confidence that your students will love you and will learn incredible things from you (as I do!) I’ve been teaching college composition courses for over 10 years; you know, the English class that EVERY student has to take whether they like it or not? I know from that experience that you have the enthusiasm, the ability to connect with all types, and the skills and knowledge that people want and need. If they walk through that door into your workshop, then they recognize that they ARE your “right people.” You will ROCK! I’m sure of it!