My overload freak-out the other day got me thinking about two great friends, Heidi Wall and Michael Hauge. Years ago, they put together a coaching seminar for writers and used me as a guinea pig before the launch. The idea was to treat yourself as a character in a movie: what was your story arc? How could you live it intentionally? How could you use it to generate momentum in your career? It was a brilliant idea, masterfully taught.
Totally not their fault that I floundered.
For someone who likes to think she’s on the ball, I have very little ability to see myself clearly. I didn’t even realize that, as I struggle with perfectionism, I had nonetheless created a brand around the word “perfect.” It is so much a part of my internal operating system, it’s like air. I don’t even notice it any more.
And that, you see, was exactly what they were looking for. Just as a character in a screenplay goes through a breaking down of their most-cherished beliefs, so, too, they wanted me to examine the thing about me that I never questioned. They wanted me to imagine living without that; what would I do? What new ideas, new vistas would open up? How could I use challenging myself, and the discomfort and energy and new-ness that brought, to take new actions and get new results in my career?
I flopped then, but I’m determined to try it out now. And I invite you to do the same. If, like me, you’re a bit blind to your own operating system, ask a gentle loved one to enlighten you. Or look to the thing that is keeping you from taking a step forward in your career. Once you’ve found it, don’t expect change to be easy. I will argue until I’m blue about why my perfectionism is a good and righteous thing, how it has gotten me so far in both my career and my life…
Yes. So far, and no farther.
To bring this back around to pitching, a lot of people don’t pitch because they’re scared. Of looking silly, of wasting someone’s time, of getting a no, of the unknown. Going up to someone and touting their own work is outside of their operating system. But in truth, only good can come of a pitch. Yes, I want you to pitch well, but even a bad pitch reaches out to someone. It creates a connection where before, there was none.
So challenge your self, try something new, get out and pitch. Don’t even worry if it’s not perfect.