I am sorry. I got tripped up. I tried to write you yesterday, BUT I lost sight of my audience. I realized I was talking to you like you were 40 year-olds!
You aren’t 40, right? Because that could be weird. I mean, it’s cool if you stayed back 28 years in a row, I’m not judging. Good for you for not giving up!
I just have never seen it happen!
That aside, I’m guessing you are twelve’ish. Most of you. So, I won’t forget – today I am talking to 12 year-old YOU.
When I am asked to talk to students – I don’t get scared per se. I’m not afraid to talk IN FRONT of people (I used to be terrified. It takes practice). It’s the message that scares me.
I overthink the message. I don’t want to muck you up! I’m assuming the universe put me in front of you for a good reason, right? I take that seriously!
In my grown up life, I have spoken to some pretty “important” people. They don’t scare me. Talking to a young student, however, can change who they become in life. You, little young YOU, are an entire world of possibility. That’s a big deal! YOU are kind of a big deal. So, YOU guys scare the whazz out of me. You are that important!
"Whazz" isn’t a bad word, right?
I get emotional too. Looking at you is like looking at myself at 12 years-old. Over-and-over I wonder what it is I needed to hear, at 12. Who it was I needed.
All I remember about being a small child, was being afraid. I was very afraid all the time. By the time I was twelve, however, I swung the total OTHER way. I was more of a trouble-maker and probably loud? I think I was the kid that the teacher didn’t like, for a while.
I changed in high school.
So, I want to be for you what I needed at twelve! I want to say what I needed to hear, but to you. BUT, I think I was invited to kind of impress you with what I do (lol). Which is insane and what my friends and I would call RE-DONK-U-LOUS (one of us made it up). It means laughable. So ridiculous, it’s absurd.
I am not there/here, to show you what I have done in my life. I am simply here to show you what YOU can do in YOURS. You don’t need my resume. I don’t need to bore you with my life details. I can have my accountant send you my tax thingies, but who cares? You don’t need that at twelve. I’m forty now and I still don’t need it.
I asked you to write down what you did, on a daily basis, and to fold it up and put it in my hat for a reason. My point is – you ARE what you DO! We never got to unfold and read what you put in that hat together. Hence, I’m writing this blog to you. The hat and what you do, was my point.
You are what you DO, whether you get money or praises for it, or if anyone ever notices. I can assure you, you will not got nods or money thrown at you, at first. You will get dirty looks and haters’ opinions. You probably will have people tell you that you suck at it.
“You can never be a writer, you’re in special education!”
Politely, tell them to shut their pie hole (don’t really do that) and go back to what you are DOING. But every now and then, someone will SEE you and remind you to keep going. Hold on to those moments when you get afraid and want to give up. Hang out with the people who teach you! Pay attention to how it’s done!
Don’t pay attention to the negative noise people will throw at you. Keep DOING. If you don’t know – keep your eyes open, pay attention, and don’t cross anything off the list of possibilities. Try everything! DO everything you can.
When you find that one thing that you KNOW is that thing you NEED to do, hone in on it – just do it, at whatever level you can, do it! Do it freely! Do it for fun! Use it to help others! Twist and turn it, and explore it from every angle.
People will act like you have only “arrived” after you get paid or published or patented, like you need a “sup” and a head nod by the world as it walks by your work to be COUNTED. Lol. NOOO! You count, regardless. To many it’s about money and who you are sitting next to while you do what you do. NO! That’s all wrong.
I write, so I am a writer. I did and I do, so I am. You ARE what you do. It’s as simple as that my friend.
Take this with you in your professional life AND your personal life. If you speak kind words to people, do kind actions, lift their spirits when they are down, you are a kind person. If you are nasty with your words, point out other people’s faults, circling them with Sharpees and yelling, “Look everyone, come look at her faults!” then you are a bully.
If you write beautiful music that will never be heard, you are a composer, a musician. I don’t care if you never make a dime from it. Money will not define who you are. Your actions will ALWAYS tell people who you are. You are what you do.
Do what you do and you ARE. Do it no matter what. Fight for it. Do it feverishly. Drowned out the noise, the fear, and GO!
Fear will ALWAYS be there. As you DO what you love, you hush that fear so it doesn't take over. Don't let fear stop you. The most successful people on this planet will tell you they were afraid. They just didn't let it stop them.
SO now I am wading through these scraps of paper, scrolled on by little rock stars who have no idea who they will become, and I'm smiling. How GREAT they will be! It is honor that my office is messy. It is an honor to be in such esteemed company. Here is what you DO (for now)…who you are, according to your actions:
A field hockey player.
A writer for television sitcoms.
A video game designer.
A music critic.
A rock star.
A professional soccer player.
Whoa, many pro soccer players. You guys can make a team!
Professional football player.
A family person (go you!). You are an old soul!
A professional basketball player.
An Olympic gold medalist in softball.
A baker (mmmm cake).
An author! Yes! An author!
A book critic (oh no!).
And a dreamer.
And one fine teacher.
Right now you are 12. So please remember to be 12. Stand up...with the video...and do. Don't forget to be awesomely TWELVE and silly and young and innocent and funny!