A cautionary tale: fear of catering and party writing & how it can cost only God knows how much P.S.A. or Public Service Announcement Reader Advisory: about Party Mad Monday posts
Now back to our regular programming...
I hate the word... fear.
I especially started to really hate it when I learned of its acronym:
F - False
E - Evidence
A - Appearing
R - Real
Fear truly sucks when it debilitates people. I promise you, I know about this firsthand. I can honestly tell you, on one occasion in particular, it nearly got the best of me. And when I got past it, I made a vow to myself -- I simply said, Never again!
To say, Kiss my ass to fear, is largely why I write Party Mad Monday posts. I know that it's not the so-called "politically correct" thing to do; to speak out like that - on the behalf of many of you out there who won't call and hire a professional caterer or party planner because you don't want to spend the money or just simply don't have it to spend. But I have to talk about what apparently no one else is willing to say; that they're not on your side (because they're not) yet pretend that they are, by trying to convince you to do business with them by offering your "discounts" and "sales"(that are a essentially a joke).
Fear is demonic. And just like the devil, fear lies.
Fear costs too damn much. Fear had me in it's grips similarly as to how it once had celebrity "foodie" television personality, author, and cook, Paula Deen; like she, I had agoraphobia.
In case you've never heard of the term "agoraphobia" before, the clinical definition (from the Mayo Clinic) is: "Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you avoid situations that you're afraid might cause you to panic. You might avoid being alone, leaving your home or any situation where you could feel trapped, embarrassed, or helpless if you do panic.
People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place, especially where crowds gather. And trust me, the fears can be so overwhelming that you may be essentially trapped in your own home."
So... let's just tell the truth and shame the devil, shall we?
I'm not always so sure that I don't still struggle with a touch of it; agoraphobia, I mean. Writing and spending so much time alone, online... well, it's easy to not go out and get to know people. It's easy to justify not talking to anyone and being anti-social. So honestly speaking, I have to stay aware, monitor things and watch out.
As nice as parties are to have and as wonderful as it can be to produce them for people, there is no "real" perfection... ever. I just had to get over myself and give it to God on that one. I mean... if you're looking for perfection, from me anyway, you may want to stop reading this and click away and go right now. I'm not the one to look to if you're looking to find yourself a Betty Crocker perfect-type guru. I am seriously flawed... and damn proud of it because I'm still here, which means that I'm an "overcomer", which is the best that any of us could ever really be anyway. So, if you were (looking for a media-perfect sensation looking little darling), stop thinking that you've stumbled upon a blog whose author is coming from the position of having a "perfect party image" because clearly, what I am NOT is perfect. Sorry. I'm still working on the perfection-thing. Will be, to my grave.
No one that I now know, or have ever known, especially those who are exceptionally successful have what we see from the outside looking in; which looks like a "perfect" life, an exemplary life.
This party business stuff is pretty cool and all, but it's a lot of smoke and mirrors.
Although, I'm not jaded about parties, because I love them... still. And speaking of smoke and mirrors, that must be what we're looking through... because we have a tendency to see super successful people, like Martha Stewart (who we know has had her public struggles) and my girl, Bethenny Frankel (who we know is currently battling her way through an ugly divorce), and tend to look at all the great money that they're making and don't even consider the sometimes high price people pay to get where they've aspired to go. And as I see it... this business, the party business, is just one example of this kind of thing happening to the some of the giants in each perspective industry.
Before I published my three ebooks, Caterer's Top Secrets and The Four Talks You Should Have Had By Now with Your Planner and Twenty-Five SITS Girls Killer Wicked-Cool Party Moves, I was getting comments and email messages from people who come to Cater-Hater asking me why I didn't have one; an eBook... or a book-book, for that matter. Well, there were a few reasons… The first reason is that there are several books in my head. I'm writing three or four books, in my head, all the time. What I mean by that is... I have too many damn book ideas and haven't yet figured out how to hone down those ideas into individual books. So, they're kind of stuck in there... in my head. I am an organized person, but the book-thing is something I haven't yet mastered. I know that when you write a book that organization is a must. But let's, again, tell the truth and shame the devil here. It's been a "fear thing" to some degree. Just sayin', y'all. Sorry, but I'm working on it, working being a complete overcomer just like you are, too.
I've been writing Cater-Hater (or CH, as I sometimes refer to it) for four years now. I know that people subscribe and unsubscribe from blog newsletters as often as the day is long, but quite honestly, I had a much higher list of subscribers than I currently have. I promoted one of my mentors products and lost people... trying to be nice, helping him out (hindsight is 20/20: he's a billionaire, for real, so he doesn't really need me to help!). So, as stupid as it might sound, I let that get into my head. I know, I know... that's dumb. But I felt like (and sometimes still feel like, when I think about it and let it bother me)… Ouch! How stupid was I to do that; help out someone who clearly doesn't need my help. Quite frankly, it really rattled me. Not because I doubted the value of Eben's material... it's stellar. But worried that more people would jump ship, leaving Cater-Hater - so I feared failure. I should also mention this was the only time I've had a significant subscriber readership loss. So isn't it funny how we can get 1,000 reader-subscribers, but we let that fifty or so that leave screw with our heads? Crazy how that works, isn't it? Get this... some chick named Melanie or Melody or something like that even dangled her subscriber-ship in my face, opting out while purposely telling me that she might come back, knowing full well that was a lie. I was like, go... but what really got me was that she had a nasty attitude about it. Trust me. I realize that it's a free country and that you can come and go as you please. I appreciate you staying, though.
So yeah... fear is what was greatly adding to my indecision over whether or not to write an ebook. But I'm doing it now. I tried to act as if it this other stuff didn't bother me. But due to stupid F.E.A.R. it really did set me on my heels, and I, like a fool, let it cause me to doubt myself. I look back on this now and realize how silly it was to worry about. But I did. A friend, a Voice of Reason, a real good friend, months later helped me get my perspective straight. And I was discussing it with my dear favorite cousin, Curtis, when I realized… Hey Carlo, you already have quite a bit of information out here, that's scattered all over the place. But when it comes to the book thing, I honestly haven’t known where to start. I need some type of "How To Get Your Thoughts Organized to Write a Book" guide, that's all. That should be easy enough.
But overall, a light bulb switched on and I reminded myself that different people value different things. And that we all have some amount of fear, periodically. I look toward Bethenny and Martha and think to myself, hell... if they can do it, well so can I.
God doesn't like Bethenny Frankel and Martha Stewart any better than He likes you and me.
How To Effectively Organize Your Party Equipment & Supplies for example, well... these people are not going to be in my book’s target audience more than likely. They're beyond that.
When I first started writing Caterer's Top Secrets I kept asking myself, as I was writing it… did I already talk about this on my site? Because it was important to me that I hadn't done so, and I hadn't. It's not a long book, per se. But I still felt kind of nervous about it. You know that was stupid fear trying to get me. I guess it was then that I realized that you guys are looking for answers to those same basic questions that have been asked, that I've already covered or that you were looking for more getting-started advice — even after visiting CH, which made this another reminder of how people place value on different things. And speaking of "value", you know I can relate all of this back to the party industry not giving you enough "bang for your buck", as they say. What I want to know is, what are they afraid of? Many party businesses have come and gone (or have been transformed, like mine was) since the economic downfall of 2007-2008.
So while the people who are constantly looking for more and new information about parties and catering may pass on certain topics that I write about, newbies... beginning DIY home party caterers and home party planners prefer to learn by way of an organized guide and will probably value it more. So that brings me to another issue; forgetting who my core audience was. What I mean is, Cater-Hater gets visits from some intermediate-level website owners and bloggers who may not need all of the basic; that have no use for newbie information. But many core audience readers still make up a sizable group of beginners who need help getting started, and need step-by-step information - that’s the audience I zeroed in on when I first started writing CH. So now, deciding what to publish is a trip. And everyone knows (or most will agree) that it’s difficult to write a book in the first place, especially when you're starting to amass hundreds of blog posts (content) that you've already published online.
One of the things on the top of my list is to publish a free email course. Yeah, that's right I said "free". Imagine that. Someone in the catering and party planning business giving something of value away for free. Hey, that Carlo chick must be out of her mind.... giving something away for free? Even though some people will be interested and will take the free course, I just know that there will be others who would rather buy an ebook version because of the value of having the information packaged for easy "refer to later" access. So what I'm realizing is that some of you would be interested in buying information that’s already here on Cater-Hater. But guess what? That still doesn't disseminate the fear that I've had associated with all of this stuff. Like I stated before, I'm still working on it.
The main thing I have to remember (and you do too, if you find yourself feeling like you're in the same boat) is that we're all unique individuals. No one has our exact same experience, voice, or will make our presentation like we will. Many of you guys who are loyal followers will probably buy simply because you like the way I've presented the information. Hopefully, you will appreciate the angle I'll be taking, and how I write it and will dig my approach to how I do it; how to get this party stuff done, and be willing to buy what I can teach you. Because you have to remember that there are several things I've never told you. Especially, about catering luxuriously to large groups of people. So, what I'm trying to stay focused on is to not sell myself short and to remember that there’s value in my unique way of presenting what I know from the years of experience that I have from being in the party business.
What Fear Cost Me
So at the end of the day, if you've been thinking about or talking about writing an ebook (or doing something else that you've viewed as an obstacle) and talking yourself out of it, I hope that I gave you something to think about. This has been cathartic; to write this particular blog post.
First of all, it's been cathartic because of having the nerve to admit all of this in the first place. And then, rising above the nay-saying voices in my head and just saying, Oh, the heck with it!, writing it... now feeling good about it because I've pretty much said everything I wanted to say about this and so I feel like I got it done.
All I can do is to give you my best and remember that fear isn't real and that I will never please everybody, especially all the time. The real deal is that what I have to teach is completely 100% uniquely coming from me. You know me. My delivery is about challenging the status quo, doing it yourself, saving a buck, and throwing a kick-ass party. And the really cool thing is that many of you value my approach and can relate to my style of delivery, which is what fuels me to keep going.
And hey, if I can admit this and begin to get past my issues... with all of my self-doubt, stupid agoraphobic tendencies and fear, then you can too.
And this is a cautionary tale: fear of catering and party writing & how it can cost only God knows how much. Take heed.
Sponsor of the Month
I do this... I write to help to create to opportunities for all of you to pursue your passion to have parties without regard to economic constraints.
I think if we keep talking about the cost of parties (I blog, you write comments), together, maybe we can break down some of the party industry price barriers and shame some of the people who've taken your money and delivered a poor quality product right into growing a conscious and treating you right (nice thought, isn't it?).
Opportunities to be inspired about parties are everywhere. Yet, people looking out for your wallet are few and far between. My goal is to inspire you, causing you to question the way things are that have been the status quo for too long. When we stand together and speak up, we can be a powerful force.
Let's keep the conversation of change going. Because in the sea of everyone talking, one voice is a whisper... several voices are a scream.
Leave a comment and share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions below. Remember to be as specific as possible because what you have to say helps us all.
I really love you guys. There, I said it.
Always... be encouraged and be encouraging to others too,
“Skepticism doesn't help you hear.” - Seth Godin
Image source: Kimberly Shoemaker and Google+
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