Today I Will Not Sit in the Chair

“Sit in the Chair” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot this past year — and it’s a phrase that I’ve tried to apply to certain parts of my life. It’s similar to “fake it ’til you make it”. There are certain tasks that require you to “Sit in the Chair” and sometimes that means staring at a blank word document for a really long time waiting for the inspiration to come. Sometimes it means doing that “one thing” that you really don’t want to do in order to move your goals forward. Sometimes it means working on that one beast of a project just to get out to the other side.

But, today, I am literally not going to “Sit in the Chair” … instead, I’m going to get up on stage in front of several hundred people and tell a very personal story about my life.

For years, I told everyone around me that I was okay with being the “behind the scenes girl”, and that I didn’t want the spotlight. The truth was, I didn’t think that I was worthy of the spotlight and so me hiding behind a different identity made it all okay.

I’ve also at times shied away from telling my story due to familial pressure. Keeping secrets is still a strong pull 20+ years later.

I was also told that being vocal about my personal story — whether it related to my life growing up or my struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome — was going to be career suicide. No one wants to know those types of things about an employee, so it’s best if you just sit quietly.

Today, I’m breaking that apart. This room full of people will be filled with past, present and possibly future business colleagues. They are going to hear about my struggles and how I made it through some of the darkest times anyone should ever have to overcome.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.

I also wouldn’t be here today and ready to tell this story without the support of “community” and there are a couple of people I need to thank in this post.

First, AJ & Melissa Leon and the community of misfits. The idea and structure for the presentation I’m about to give today was literally “born” at MisfitCon last year. The understanding that I have a unique story to tell and that I need to be fearless about telling it was inspired by you and the group of people you put on stage.

Second, Jon Acuff and his community of Starters, Dreamers & Hustlers. Today is one huge examples of “punching fear in the face”, and I’m not sure I would have made it to this point without the community that you built and the words that you used to inspire.

And, my team at work. When I first floated the idea of pitching a “very personal” story to present, I received full support and have continued to receive a huge amount of support along the way. I appreciate that so much.

And, finally, to all the people in my community, especially folks on Facebook who have been super supportive — especially as I agonized over each and every slide and got a bit obsessive.

Today, I will not Sit in the Chair. And, while my stomach is in knots as I write this I know that this is exactly where I need to be.

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2 comments

  1. Just wanted to thank you for your bravery today at NTC. I loved your three points, and your last point especially — we need to have faith in ourselves, and a faith in something bigger than ourselves.

  2. Sue Anne,
    Not only did you get up out of the chair, but you did it with poise, beauty, and resonance. I applauded you then and will continue to do so for a long, long time. I am such a huge fan of your courage and you. Congratulations on accomplishing so beautifully what you set out to do.

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