I truly hate putting myself out there. Sure, I’m vocal and stand strong when I believe in something, but every time, every single time, I have to wrench myself out of a deep hole to do it. I’m sure there are people out there who relish being the centre of attention, but I am absolutely not one of them.
Does that surprise you? See, there is this perception that social people are extroverts who love the limelight. While this may be true of many, it’s not true of all. It’s not true of me. I’m a loud, social introvert and it’s very draining to put myself out there.
But every time I do, I’m ever so glad.
Take this morning for example. I was at a parent information event at the school and there was a discussion around kids and social media and the programs in place to help guide our kids through the minefield (oh my, our poor kids). After the briefing on the school’s programs (which are exceptionally good), one of the mum’s asked if it was possible that the school could run a session for parents to show them how to use different social media platforms and make them safer for kids.
I had no idea that so many parents had no idea about social media. A light bulb went off for me and before I could think it through, my hand was up and I found myself saying that as a parenting writer and a social media manager, perhaps I could help that mum over a cup of tea. Then I said, “I’m open to any parent asking for my help in deciding what’s right for their kids.”
One thing led to another, and I think next year I’m going to be delivering a talk about social media to the parents at our school. Which I am thrilled to do because kids and social media are both a passion of mine and yet…
I’m out there now, aren’t I? Ever since I found my hand up in the air drawing attention to myself, I’ve been feeling so drained and even a touch foolish. I ‘tall poppy’ myself all the time. Because who am I to be the “expert” and who am I to guide other parents and who am I to have my hand up in the air getting all involved in the conversation? I feel rather exposed and silly, to be honest and yet…
The thing that makes me certain that I will go through with it is the fact that the school and parents were so quick to leap on the idea of having a fellow parent talk to them about this stuff. After the meeting five mums immediately came up to me desperately wanting advice and help. I realised that lots of parents really don’t know much about social media and that makes me worry about the kids and that makes me want to do whatever I can to help. My help is surely better than no help, right?
Point is, because I’m big and loud and a bit in-your-face, I come across as someone who eats social events for breakfast when really I’m more of a breakfast skipper. I know so many people feel scared to put their hand up for things because they feel they’re not ‘qualified enough’ or they’re not ‘expert enough’ or because bottom line, they’re just plain ‘not enough’ in general. I know those people because I am one of those people.
But I want to tell you to put your hand up anyway. It’s always worth offering to help wherever you can, whenever you can, however you can. We’ve got to speak up and be an active part in the communities we are raising our kids in. Fact is, you never know what you have to offer others until you offer it.
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