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Thank YOU ~ Liz Strauss ~ for teaching me to own my fingers :)

Liz Strauss
Image by jdlasica via Flickr

SOBCon 2010 starts today and a whole buncha folks get to hang with Liz Strauss also known as “the Story behind the Story” and author of “Successful and Outstanding Bloggers.”

And I’m sorry I’m not one of them.

So instead, I’m offering a thank you hug-post for Liz.

While I’ve not yet met her in person, I think I caught a really awesome glimpse of her heart, her motive, and at least one of her true ‘why’s’ for being in this social media space a few months back.

And it’s why I’m writing this at 2:30 am as I sit here excited for her that her conference is in it’s 4th year and thinking how cool she’ll get to meet in person so many she’s helped along the way and visa versa…as attendees will get to interact with her wonderfulness.

So lemme tell bout the Liz I met not too long ago on twitter.

It was a balmy sunny warm 80 degree blistering hot January Sunday afternoon.

Oh heck no it wasn’t. That was where I lived 2 years ago.

Eh hem.

This year, this January, it was a very freezing, blistery cold winter Sunday afternoon and my voice was as frozen as the icepacked streets and sidewalks and I was braving having at twitter again, because dag gummit I’m gonna get this social media stuff down I thought.

(giggling now …as if it’s mine–any of ours– to ever try to master or conquer. whatever. but back then…um. yeah. well….).

Kay. So while I’m braving tweetdeck, I notice this enthusiastic woman beaming from her avatar complimenting bloggers and retweeting everyone she was reading, And she impressed me. Her tone moved me. She seemed like a true friend and advocate. For many.

Like me, she was smack dab in her heated apartment also braving a winter afternoon, probably a colder one than mine.

But she had it goin on. And always does I might add.

And her tweets and praise and insights and offerings were authentic and informative and just plain good.

So I told her. I dm’d her something like “wow. you’re on roll today” — something like that.

And she immediately tweeted back somethin ’bout either that or she’s just working too hard on a Sunday.

And then, I’m sure a bitta poor me kicked into my tone (where it comes from I just do NOT know) and I tweeted another dm saying something like “golly I am just really struggling to own my voice and figure out who to be on here.”

And that was it. The next response would leave me pausing in awe and hit me upside the head with fascination much the same way, kidd you not, I felt when I learned how to ride a motorcycle for the first time, or slalom waterski for the first time…half thrill, half panic, half wow. I can do this.

Liz responded this way:

“Do you own your fingers?”

That simple. That crystal clear. That definitive.

I pause.

I ponder.

I wait.

I’m really good at doing those three things: Pausing, pondering, waiting..one could say I gave my 30s to them. :).

She dm’s again:

Do you own your fingers? It’s a simple question.

Lump in throat. Big gulp. HOLY WOW. She wants me to answer her.

and my grown up me says “Um. yes Tre…this is the land of direct messaging on twitter. It’s as direct as it gets and you initiated ….yes. You need to respond.”

Um…I hesisitate cause I was thinking. Remember? I like to pause, ponder and wait a bit or a lotta bit.

Well. I couldn’t lie.

Of course I own my fingers.

But I knew…or at least I thought I knew where she would go next.

And that assumed conclusion is what kinda scared the heeby jeebies outa me.

But I braved it anyway.

I tweeted back:

Yes. Yes. Yes. I own my fingers.

To which Liz responded exactly as I knew she would:

Then you will have no problem owning your voice.

At this fine moment, my disposition turns into the me I was at 12-years-old: half wanna-be grown-up / half really workin the child she still is.

She starts to whine in my thoughts:

“But ….but….but….!!!” (She often appears and starts to whine whenever I’m bravin’ something new).

And I want so much to throw out another question to Liz.

But I sit still and button my lip (imagine that. Tis true. Hard for me. But I did).

And I actually sat there and let the meaning of what she said sink in.

And not just ice the top sink in.

I mean heart-and-soul-and-everywhere-in-between-sink-in.

Now to be fair, there’s been a few others who’ve nudged my footsteps in my endeavors to emerge into this space, people who’ve taken me under their wings a bit and given me that boost or nudge or ‘atta girl’ or keep on keeping on (and I plan to thank them publicly too).

But for now, with SOBCon ‘s 2010 launch, I wanted to take a moment to just share what an impact that single question and answer had on my heart.

And the reality is, I’m not sure she already knows this or if she knows the rest of where that aha moment took me:

After sitting there for a good five or ten minutes letting that concept sink in, and with it the outpouring of permission, confidence, conviction, and clarity I felt, well, surely I tweeted her a few “wow, thank you, that’s so well said” tweets. And I think for a few more wintery afternoons when I’d catch her being awesome online, which is all the time I might add, I’d pause and tell her so. And I’d also give her a bit more of my doubts….

But I kept thinking about that question she offered and her response.

And within a week or maybe a bit more, I blogged a post that outpoured the inner wrestlings we endure when trying to forgive a loved one, in this case my mother.

And the post was probably one of the best things I’ve written to date because I wrote it with my new “own my fingers” πŸ™‚ mentality.

And as I sometimes do, I shared the post on BlogHer.com.

I had more interactions and comments and feedback on that post than any other post I’ve shared in that community.

My point: something triggered in my heart that day when Liz just confronted my doubt head on with that question.

She knew what I needed.

She had compassion.

She gave of herself freely and responded.

And in so doing , she really outpoured a great deal more than simply a powerful truth: She made this space to real to me.

She held hand and my heart and supported my now in a way that really didn’t take her a ton of time…but for Liz it ain’t about the time, it’s about YOU..and caring for you and supporting you as best as she’s able in that moment.

It was not only a wow moment for me because of my own aha, it was a wow moment because she showed me a glimpse of what’s possible for all of us as we go forward helping one another’s tip toeing or dive right in process to feeling natural with these tools.

Now I’ll be the first to say I’m far from being any big deal awesome sauce on these here tools. Like far from.

But I completely get it now–more than I did before–that we just need to show up as ourselves and be who we are. And just keep at it. And keep doing it and keep learning and pushing ourselves to grow and connect more and support each other more.

And that’s what Liz does 20/7 (I say 20/7 b/c I’m certain the woman doesn’t do more than nap each night). πŸ™‚

So yeah, it’s not a real high techie wham bam look at all her achievements ma’am type post tonight about this woman Liz Strauss, but it is from the heart, a deep warm hug of thanks for helping me break through that STUPID wall of self doubt that just needn’t be there for any of us.

And while I’ve got miles to go before I truly master second guessing or doubt, I’ve got that gem of a question with me 24/7: Do you own your fingers? πŸ™‚

And I’ve got that much more compassion, that much more patience, that much more how can I help others the way Liz helped me invested in my thoughts now. Because I’ve been there and I so so get it.

So Liz, to you in these wee hours before you launch another series of moments that will wow the masses, lemme hug you and thank you yet again for takin those moments with me and helping me press on that wintery Sunday last January.

For all you do and all you are in this space, big hugs to you Liz Strauss!!! We are all the better because of you. πŸ™‚

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