I wrote a guest blog post for The Inspiration Project, the blog from Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis. A message for girls, women, and all perfectionists. Click the here to read it, and thanks for checking in.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ~Henry David Thoreau
And so I begin again. Even if old Mr. Thoreau’s quote above isn’t what he initially intended (see this article), it’s inspiring nonetheless. Here I go confidently.
I’ve been sing-song-ing “analysis paralysis; something in my brain’s amiss” to the tune of the mean kid making fun of Cindy Brady (“Baby talk, baby talk; it’s a wonder you can walk”) all day long. It’s the only thing that pops in my head as I’ve been forcing myself to post a blog entry.
It’s been a week and a half since my last post. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I was unsure of what I had to say was compelling or interesting or relevant to anyone else but me. I over-analyzed drafts of blog entries. I edited and re-edited every thought in my head so that I didn’t even write those thoughts into a draft. I read other blogs and tweets and online articles. I’ve been too busy busying myself to make myself sit down and write something. Anything. I’m looking for perfection and coming up with nothing. Fear of suckiness pushes me into inaction.
Writing advice books say to just write and eventually, with practice, the writing gets better. And yet, this is the blah that is coming out. Nothing new. Nothing compelling. No one ever said first steps were pretty. And lucky you, dear reader, you get to witness the stumbles, trips and baby walk.
I just may be the most well-connected, unknown person in Indianapolis.
I’ve worked for some of the most well-respected — or at least well-known — Indianapolis institutions. The Indianapolis Business Journal. Central Indiana Community Foundation. Pacers Foundation and Pacers Sports & Entertainment. United Way of Central Indiana. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. I’m on a first name basis with some of the city’s respected elite — Mickey Maurer, Ellen Annala, Clay Robbins and Alecia DeCoudreaux. I’ve done informational interviews with Gerry Dick (whom I once almost worked for), Tamara Zahn (whom I once wanted to work for) and Deborah Paul and former Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. I know people. Yet, I’m not on a Forty Under 40 list nor have I held a position with a title higher than “manager.” I had personal recommendations from Mickey, Ellen and Alecia, and still didn’t get into a Stanley K. Lacy class. Maybe because I don’t have a fancy title. Maybe because I’m not an influencer.
I am, however, a connector. In Malcolm Gladwell’s pivotal book, The Tipping Point (which, incidentally, was recommended to me by Frank Walker of Walker Information), connectors are “people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances.” I love making connections. Between me and another person. Between or among different people. Between a person and an organization. And to me, these people are more than acquaintances for the most part. They are mentors and colleagues and friends.
But are those relationships enough? To advance professionally, do I also need to be an influencer? An expert or maven (as Gladwell calls them)? Or is being a connector enough? Am I ok with just filling in the spaces between?
Yes, I think I am. What do you think?