As some of you may know, I spent over 12 years in the corporate world in Human Resources. It is a world that I am very comfortable interacting in and one in which I had already overcome any insecurities about my abilities. It was safe.
Even when I left the corporate world five years ago, I kept my hand, so to speak, in HR by volunteering through an organization that matched professionals with non-profit organizations for free consulting services. It was through actually my work with this organization that something happened that had a lasting impact on me.
A year or so after I left the corporate world, I attended a a mixer with other professionals, who like me, volunteered their time. While there, I met a woman who was in marketing. I spoke to her for five minutes, maybe ten. At one point during the conversation, she told me that I should talk about my work as a ceramic artist with the same confidence as I talk about my HR experience.
That simple observance had a profound impact on my life. She was absolutely right. I needed to make that change when I was talking to people about my work.
Sitting here, several years later, I feel good that I’ve made a lot of progress in this area. I put myself and my work out into the world more for exhibition opportunities and events. I’ve developed good conversation openers for shows when interacting with customers.
While this self-described introvert could probably always be better in this area, I think of that woman’s words to me all those years ago often. Its been a great reminder for me on my artistic path.
I recently ran across this TED Talk by Drew Dudley about Everyday Leadership and he talks about the impact that all of us can have on others everyday. Often times this small acts of leadership are completely unknown and unnoticed by us despite their impact on others. I took his advice and reached out to that woman from that networking event to say thank you for her words to me.
I’m grateful that I able to reach out to her after all this time. I think I might have made her day. I know, she’s often helped to make mine better.