The Tribe Conference is a marketing conference for people who don't think of themselves as marketers. It's a gathering for writers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs to grow their craft, share their work, and get the attention their work deserves.
I would describe TRIBEWRITERS as a community of weird, brave and oh so creative men and women who have ‘stuff’. It is the kind of ‘stuff’ that is made up of real, often messy, mostly ordinary people and events in our lives that make up our story.
This is Part 4 of 4 in a series of posts I have been writing called "story to share". It is the last of this series, but not the end of the story. In most ways it is a new beginning for me. But I'm getting ahead of myself. If you would like to read the other posts in the series, start here.
Though this is my story, the main character of the Story to Share posts is a woman named Jenn Wenzke; coach, mentor, founder of the So Now Professional Network of Women, and overall, champion of women.
Truly, she championed the woman!
Over and over I have heard women say, Jenn…
listened to me,
challenged me for more
In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve,author Jeff Goins calls this kind of person a “patron’. Often we think of the purpose of a patron is the money they might give to help an artist get started. But this goes way beyond the financial support.
All creative workers need:
influencers that will vouch for the artist to an audience who doesn’t know them yet.
advocates who see the artist’s potential, believe in their work and give them a chance.
The right person/or people to connect the artist to the right people.
I knew immediately as I read Jeff’s description that Jenn Wenzke was my influencer/ advocate/ chance giver/ connector.
She believed in me, challenged me, and supported me. She was a cheerleader, an encourager, exhorting me on more than one occasion to quit making excuses and step up to the mic. She asked me questions others might be afraid to ask and listened deeply as I searched inward for my answers. She wasn’t afraid to tell me when she thought I was off track. Jenn was my coach to the core.
She helped me decide what ‘good art’ in my work looks like and then championed me in the doing of it.
Jenn was my patron!
On June 7, 2017 my friend and mentor, Jenn Wenzke, died after battling the terrible ALS disease that threatened her body the entire time I knew her.
Our last conversation was at her home several weeks before her death. She was so fragile, but still had much to say. We spoke of her health, her family, and of course the So Now Network.. She knew the legacy of that group was in good hands and felt confident it would continue strong. Her one big regret was that her SO NOW COACHING practice would not.
I asked her how I could help. She said, “You need to be coaching leaders. “ I don’t know why I hadn’t specifically identified that before, but it suddenly seemed exactly right.
We continued talking for a while, this time about my business and thoughts I had for my future. I spoke of wanting to create interviews with other women in leadership who could bring value to the women in the GHC community.
Before I got the words out of my mouth, she was shaking her head—actually her whole little body in her great big chair.
“NO!” She insisted. “Your voice. Your message. NOW!”
My breath caught .
I knew this was not just any moment. This was THE moment. The moment that summed up all Jenn had been speaking into me since the first Tuesday SO NOW meeting when we met two and a half years earlier.
In last week’s blog post (posted above), I started to tell you the story about a woman, a champion, in my life by the name of Jenn. We talked about our value in that post- yours and mine. The three questions Jenn asked me on our very first meeting were…
Do you know your value?
Do you offer value to those in your world?
Are you getting paid what you are worth?
(If you want to know what we said about that, check the link above to that blog post.)
But I also said that when I hemmed and hawed with my answers to those questions, the next thing she said to me was,
“When you are done making excuses, you can get down to your business.”
Yep! That was the bottom line! I was making excuses about why I wasn’t being successful or seeing the kind of difference I wanted to see.
Are you doing that- making excuses instead of doing the things you really want to do?
Isn’t that true of most of us though? We don’t know our value because we don’t realize who we are. I thought I did. I had spent a great deal of time and money going to workshops, reading and researching personalities and strengths seeking to understand, and to help others understand who they were made to be.
I recently attended the funeral, actually, the celebration of life of a 23 year old daughter of a friend.
The uncanny timing of this particular event was not lost on me. As I sat at this funeral, I was reminded of another that took place just one week shy of 11 years ago- in the same church- led by the same pastor. It was a funeral I was very much a part of since the life being celebrated was my 15 year old daughter, Leisha. Continue reading 6 Reasons to Be Grateful at a Funeral→
I’m in the people business
Care for people
Feel for people
Because of this I have to be very aware of how I take in the emotions & pain of others. It can effect me not only emotionally, but physically as well.
Over the last few days a series of losses took my breathe away.
Death of a 26 year old friend of Leisha’s
Death of a 16 year old friend of a friend
Our friend’s 17 year old fighting for his life
Watching our parents process letting go of strength, while mourning each week the death of another friend or loved one.
Watching the girls navigate life and wondering what’s ahead for them and any future generations.
I’m not trying to take on all this pain but I’m struggling about what to do with my own emotions as I create a bigger picture for ministry I know I am part of
That involves more people
What started with simple greetings and an order of coffee, became a conversation about YOU. Not you personally, but you WOMAN, family member, friend, professional.
WOMAN who wants to make a difference in the world but feels enveloped by so many important things; spouse, kids, parents, job and friends. These are surely the people we want to serve and influence for good. But sometimes there are so many ‘good’ things going on that we forget we ARE making a difference.
WOMAN who wonders if we truly know what we want to be true of our lives. We find ourselves in a new place; an empty nest, a season of life, a change in job or relationships, and we puzzle over what we have accomplished in the past or whether we are on track to do all we want to have done at the end of our life.