Entries tagged "influence"

Taylor Negron distils Sandra Bernhard’s impact

Great piece by the wonderful comic, writer and director Taylor Negron which captures the best of Sandra Bernhard and her impact. Sandra’s work had a huge influence on me and it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t be performing today if not for her groundbreaking solo show Without You I’m Nothing.

Like many innovators, much of what she did unique and edgy was rooted in the context of the time. Taylor Negron’s piece captures that beautifully. He’s a wonderful performer too. If you get a chance to see him live too, jump at it.

How do you know you matter?

I just got an email from a conference that made me sad. It was only two sentences long. It was a dismissal in the guise of being a favour. It showed me that I didn’t matter to this person professionally anymore. We are done.

It hurt. It still hurts.

When I started out there years back I was just doing what was fun. I never thought of myself as in any kind of “in crowd.” Some people told me then that I was some kind of miniature celebrity in a miniature world. I didn’t see it. But I did feel like I belonged. I felt like I was with my people: the kind of people who were excited by ideas and who said to the new person who showed up at lunch “come on here and sit down.”

This is making me re-think how I learned that what I had to say mattered.
It mattered to me that what I had to say or who I brought together mattered to others. A conference or a show or an audience.

I’m having to learn over and over that what I have to say or do has to matter to me first. it sounds so simple and perhaps brain-dead to you that this is a thing to know or to learn. But it is for me.

In every world I’ve been in: artistic, entrepreneurial, or political everyone wants to know what people like. The truth is that even in the worlds that consider themselves “indie” they care. For me independent performing, publishing, creating business was about being able to follow the creative impulse you have. It was about an environment that preached and modeled empowerment.

You *can* do this.

You are allowed to do this.

I’m the kind of girl who needed to hear that. You can always tell who else needed to hear it: they’ll say it to anyone else, anytime.

Great encouragers of others always need encouragement.

People are always talking about themselves. Always. Whether we know we are talking to ourselves is another story.

I’ve never been a big triangulator of creative talent. Either I like your stories, your voice, your perspective, your jokes, your vulnerability or I don’t. I don’t like it because someone else does (no matter what any database, social media platform or popular kids table might say).

It never made a lot of sense to me to like someone because they were popular. That was true in junior high and it’s true when it comes to indie art too. I’m not interested in someone because they’re alternatively popular. Truth is, the people whose work I often love are often dismissed. But I don’t love someone’s voice or work *because* they’re dismissed. I love what resonates with my heart. That’s all.

It’s easy when I think about other peoples’ work: Justin Vivian Bond, Patti Smith, WhoopDeeDo.tv , Paul Mooney. The kind of folks I want to interview for my news upcoming subvert podcast (you can also follow @subverting on twitter). I’ll be subverting the SXSW conference live with impromptu gatherings. Add me on twitter and foursquare to join. I want to see what’s in your heart.

So why am I afraid of what’s in mine?

 

10 top obstacles to women's influence

1. “No one will listen to me.”

2. “I don’t have anything to say that matters.”

3. Fear they will upset someone or that they will be criticized.

4. “These guys act as if they know everything, when they don’t. But I don’t know enough to speak.”

5. No one asked me or invited me.

Many women, not to mention anyone of colour or who does not fit into the the existing image of authority held by attention centre gatekeepers are invisible to them. And if you’re not just like those who “already matter,” you probably have to live in translation in order to gain attention from these gatekeepers.

6. Not having someone in their life (ie role traditionally cast with wife, girlfriend, mother) to encourage them and emotionally take care of them when they risk and fall working for public influence.

7. “I learned to shut up in public in grade 6.” (in order to be liked by boys-if they liked boys- or blend in)

8. “If I want to be popular or influential, isn’t that selfish and egotistical?”

This is a subset of fear of wanting. If you want, then you exist some way other than relationally. If no one is there to affirm your own desires and wants…do they exist?

9. “I have more important things to worry about.”

The profound satisfaction of strong and intimate bonds of close family and friends seem much more valuable to many women than trading this mode of connection for public influence. I believe the skills and most of all *caring* that make these strong bonds possible are actually necessary to create growing public influence now.

10. “This crap is obvious to me. Why do I have to shoot my mouth about it in public? I could just be doing something.”

Who is more likely to get something done without asking for public credit? Women or men?



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