Reverb13: Beautifully Different

(For the past three years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts for every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month of questions.)

Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Something I realized this year is that I am that person who is a bit fearless when it comes to offering my opinion. I have always been this way – and when I was younger it just made me ‘mouthy’ or ‘uppity’ or a ‘femin-nazi’ but now that I am older and have a bit of a name for myself in my field it’s recognized, cultivated, and deeply appreciated.

Several times this year I was invited on trips, asked to join a specific table, pulled aside at a conference, called up on the phone, etc… by people who wanted my honest reaction to something. I am not afraid to ask the stupid question – never have been. But this year I have noticed a change. I am not afraid to offer up an idea that’s good, even if it is a potential money-maker for someone else. You’re going to make an app that helps out not just the students I serve but the kids who aren’t lucky enough to have me? Well you have my brainpower at your disposal. I don’t care who gets the credit. Planning a start-up? Call me. I’ll tell you if you are on the right track and who you’ll need to win over. Want to know if that marketing strategy will really work – I’ll tell you that it won’t and why and offer an idea that would be more effective. Should we be looking for a way to readjust this presentation? Yes. I’ve been telling you that for months. Here’s how I’d do it – let’s use it as a point of departure.

Now, I am sure that there are still people who think I’m mouthy and pushy. My boss, for one, but she’s mouthy too and respects it in a person. My coworkers tell me they never feel the need to speak up in big regional meetings – I’ll do it for them. I am sure I still rub some people the wrong way. But! There is no faking the reaction when I’ve hit the mark with a piece of advice or just the right question. The mouth goes a little open, the eyes widen. People rock back on the heels or sit back in the chair. And there it is – the spark of something new and better. I love that. That moment is beautiful. And I am beautiful for helping it happen.

PS. In 2011 I wrote this.

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