A guest blog by Joyce Wycoff.
I first met Joyce a couple of years ago through my blog, Recover Your Joy. Her visit lead me to her blog, Imagine Joy Art — and I am so grateful. Over the past three years I have come to know and admire Joyce greatly. We’ve chatted on Skype, exchanged emails and a friendship I cherish has deepened through cyber-space. Recently, Joyce published, Joy After the Fire, a fascinating and inspiring book about her journey out of grief into joy after the death of her husband. Joyce’s vision is: To Joyfully Connect & Expand The intention of my art is to create a web of joyful and peaceful connections, linking artist, art, and art lover with the Creative Spirit. The shared connections of art have the power to expand the human spirit and to touch and heal hearts which can then touch and heal our world.
And that is exactly what Joyce does.
When Confidence Wanes by Joyce Wycoff
I have a fantasy about making a difference: I fly to Africa and bring light and laughter to the orphans of disease and war. It’s a good fantasy … but, also one that I know I’ll never do, and that knowledge sometimes makes me feel inadequate.
Recently, however, I’ve been reminded that it’s not just the “Mother Teresa” acts that make a difference; sometimes just saying “yes” can make all the difference. Almost 20 years ago, I said yes to a new idea that I had no credentials or credibility for attempting. It was the days of fax machines so I sent out a message to about 30 of my associates basically asking if they would be interested in a new conference focused on creativity and innovation in business. They said “yes” … or more accurately their response was pretty much, “If you build it, we will come.” That little bit of encouragement empowered me.
So, I started down an unfamiliar path of designing and producing a conference. Business innovation conferences are common today but back then it was unplowed ground and I felt ridiculous and fearful. Who was I to be starting something like this? But, based on the yes responses of my associates, I started putting together a cast of presenters. The first guru I approached was Jerry McNellis, the developer of a powerful process of thoughtful collaboration he calls Compression Planning.
I will never forget the moment I called him and asked him (in the tiniest of voices) if he would fly across country to present to an unknown group of attendees at an unproven conference developed by a completely inexperienced planner for no fee … and would you mind paying your own expenses please. No one could have been more surprised than I was when he said “yes.” It was the beginning of 14 years of a conference that changed a lot of lives … especially mine.
Last week I had a powerful experience of being mentored in my art career (see my blog post My Dinner with Jerome) During our conversation, I suddenly felt strong and fearless, ready to follow this dream where, once again, I am in strange territory with no credentials for attempting what I want to do. Jerry’s encouragement was the “yes” I needed. (It’s interesting that both of my “yes men” were named Jerry.)
This morning I’m in Arroyo Grande (California’s beautiful central coast), writing this in a coffee shop. On the way over here, I listened to a presentation from Deborah Ivanoff (one of the SmArtist Telesummit 2012 presenters), who was talking about confidence and the power of remembering our successful memories when our confidence wanes. She recommends having one or more of these memories at the ready as a “Confidence Emergency Kit.”
Confidence is key to making a difference in the world. Confidence in our ideas. Confidence in our ability to take them into the world. Our memories of saying “yes” and having others say “yes” to us, can give us the confidence to face the uncertainties of today.
So, the next time your confidence wanes, remember your own memories of success. Somewhere in that memory, you’ll find someone who said “yes” to you, and it will help you find someone who will say “yes” to you now. And, if you want to help others make a difference in the world, help them remember their own memories of “yes.” Ivanoff says, “Confidence is just a memory away.”
With confidence, each of us can make a difference in our world.