I am a little lost right now. Maybe it is because I am turning 40 in 5 days or maybe it is because I look back on this last year and realize it has been one hell of a roller coaster. I have learned so much about myself that I am a bit scared of who I am becoming. I have changed. I am learning to REALLY fight the demons and depression inside of me. I have built new relationships and also lost old relationships. I have been stabbed in the back by someone I thought was very close to me and shared my same vision for the Center for Snake Conservation. This hurt and was extremely painful - it shut me down for months.
I have shut people out and invited new people in. I keep telling myself that I just need to process everything and let things happen but I am very impatient. So the end result - I am a little lost right now.
One thing that I am processing and really thinking about right now is the Power of Engagement. The "engagement" that I am talking about is defined as having emotional involvement or commitment. I believe that engagement is my key to bringing success to the Center for Snake Conservation - this is my primary and only goal at the moment. All else is secondary and it has to be. I have a deep emotional involvement/commitment with my passion for snakes so naturally my happiness is going to be tied to this passion. So I am going to have to step WAY out of my comfort zone as an introvert and learn to engage people on an emotional level in order to get them to commit to snake conservation.
|Put me in front of a group with a few snakes to talk about you you would never know I am an introvert - I SHINE!|
I am good at coming up with social media content that is engaging. However, I have learned that social media is lousy for fundraising or any other real conservation effort. Social media is about getting "likes" and "shares" - it is not about changing human perceptions about snakes. Even though the Center for Snake Conservation Facebook page is fast approaching 10,000 likes - it is nowhere near an effective means for snake conservation. I need to find a few key people and engage them -then I will see the snowball start the avalanche.
|An example of a successful Facebook snake post|
I am learning about engagement and how it works on Google+. Yes, I know G+ is social media but it is very different from Facebook. Facebook seems to be about outdoing the previous post and G+ is about community and support - at least this is what I am finding. I have found a group of thinkers/counselors/therapists who thrive on engagement. I am learning about how to turn my passion into my commitment. The trouble is that it is going to take me WAY out of my introvert comfort zone in order to succeed as they teaching. The other trouble is that I believe them and know that engagement will work. If I could just get away from all this fucking RESISTANCE!
Resistance - there is a word that has been haunting me for a long while. Resistance is brutal and comes at us from all angles at all times. I feel resistance constantly but I have been learning to battle the demons in my head that keep me from being creative. My creativity is my best defense against resistance. If you want examples you can read this short blog from last month - Creativity Is My Key To Happiness.
Well shit - reading what I have written so far makes it seem that I am not lost at all. I have learned a lot about myself, how to combat my depression (even writing this blog right now is helping), and have a plan for moving forward. NOPE! I am still LOST, LOST, LOST! How many seasons were the cast of Lost lost? :)
As a part of my struggle, I read and view what others are doing a lot. Just this morning I was going through my G+ feed this morning and someone posted the photo/quote below from Michael Jordan. It is a very good reminder that I even though I am still very lost, I cannot quit looking and trying. I KNOW I am going to find a way to bring my passion for snakes to the world and make a huge impact. I practice almost daily with photographs, blogs, and videos. These are all practice for engagement but clearly lack true engagement. I am putting myself out there for others to see and judge (yes - I struggle with the thought that EVERYONE is judging me ALL the time). I take and share selfies all the time because this is helping me thicken my skin and prepare me to engage the world. I am putting my creativity, passion, and commitment out there - NOW it is finally time to find myself and learn to ENGAGE.
So I made the announcement - "Cameron is Lost" but is it really true? Yes - I am lost and all of you that have had any interaction with me in the last year know that I am lost. Some of you think I am crazy. Some of you hate me for it. Some of you have no patience for me. Some of you forgive me for it. I have been extremely selfish and done many things in this last year that I should NEVER have even considered doing but I did them as I tried to find myself. I am not proud of these things and there is no excuse for many of them. but I think I am supposed to be lost right now. I am supposed to try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, try, fail and I know I will eventually succeed. Don't ask me how I know but success is in my very near future - the very near future. I have a rare and unique passion for snakes and speaking about snakes in a way that most people understand. This is my gift (and I accept it) and I am going to try (and fail) until I find the right people to engage and we all rise together making a difference in this world.
I want you to watch this video of me opening a package full of snakes - snakes excite me and if I can learn to stretch my passion into true engagement, you will see a new Cameron on a clear path to happiness. This video is of me "trying" and I know I am no longer failing because I can see the spark inside myself. I can feel it!
I am good at finding snakes (very good at it). Now I just need to keep working on learning to engage others in my conversations and passion for snakes and their conservation. Just like the ringneck in the field below - I will find myself.