For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a marketer.
It was my career for more than 30 years. That career also included the following identities: consultant, coach, author, blogger, podcaster, speaker, and teacher. That’s a lot of titles. And yet, I now find myself not really identifying with any of them.
A writer who doesn’t write?
I still call myself a writer, and a teacher, but truth be told, I’m not doing much of either these days. My online courses are handling the teacher role for me, running on autopilot since I made the decision to shut down TBS Marketing Academy. I’m happy my online courses can live on in the Udemy marketplace and continue to teach others my brand of marketing.
And of course I’m thrilled they continue to provide me with income while I try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I know that sounds like a joke, but it’s actually the best way to describe the space I find myself in. I know I still have something to offer, I’m just not sure what it is. I’m doing my best to be patient and trust it will become clear when the time is right. In the meantime, I’m trying to let go of the feeling that I need to figure it out sooner.
It’s hard to write when you’re not sure what to say.
I suppose my lack of clarity is a big reason I haven’t been writing much. For as long as I can remember, I’ve not only had a clear identity, I’ve also had a clear voice. While I don’t really like the term expert, I have always felt very secure in sharing advice because I had the education and experience to back it up. It’s easy to write, speak, teach, coach, and consult when you’re confident that what you’re sharing can help others. And, when it’s been proven through trial and error, and the test of time.
When you’re used to people coming to you for advice, it’s not quite so comfortable continuing to show up when you don’t have any advice to share.
When you’re no longer the expert, who are you?
When you no longer have advice to share, the only way to keep showing up is to share the journey. To write about the process. And, while I believe there is value in documenting and sharing the process, the struggles, and the uncertainties, it definitely puts me in an uncomfortable place.
In the book Rising Strong, author Brené Brown talks about how we tend to gloss over the struggle part of our stories and focus instead on the success part. The failures essentially become a footnote.
“We like recovery stories to move quickly through the dark so we can get to the sweeping redemptive ending. I worry that this lack of honest accounts of overcoming adversity has created a Gilded Age of Failure…. Yet there can be no innovation, learning, or creativity without failure.” ~Brené Brown in Rising Strong
The space between.
As I continue to navigate what I refer to as the space between where I’ve been and where I’m going, I can no longer share advice. However, what I will do my best to share is the journey, as uncomfortable as that may be. I will say this… every time I’ve had the courage to open up and share openly about my journey, I’ve received nothing but support and encouragement. In fact, I typically receive more feedback and comments on those announcements than on the “expert” advice I’ve been offering for so many years. That is not lost on me. I know there’s a reason for it, and I’m paying attention. And I’m going to do my best to keep stepping into my discomfort zone and sharing this latest process of transition.
I know I’m not the only one to ever go through this. But I also concur with Brené Brown that we never hear those stories. Perhaps it is more inspiring, and even comforting to know that we all struggle. And by sharing those struggles, maybe we can help each other.
When I finally end up wherever this latest call is leading me, maybe we can all look back on the path it took to get there and learn from it. So in a way, I guess I’m still teaching, just from a different perspective.
Thanks for being here. I hope you’ll chime in along the way, if not on this post on a future one. I’d love to be in conversation throughout this journey. My bet is I can learn a lot from you, too!