The Madison NEDA walk is less than three months away – things are starting to get real! We had a committee meeting last night at the Vilas Park, where we will be holding the event. The weather was gorgeous, and I got there early to walk the path around the perimeter of the park, which will most likely be the route we take on the day of the walk itself. It’s about a mile. As a fund raiser for eating disorders, it is not our intent to have an aerobic, distance event. It’s a symbolic walk.
We all got really stoked by being at the venue and visualizing what we can do with the space; and by the energy and great ideas shared by a new committee member. She had some great ideas and connections for sponsors, speakers, and local semi-famous people we can contact in support of our walk. Her energy was and is contagious!
We talked for two hours and came away with some great ideas for generating publicity, interest and sponsorship for our event. Now the challenge for ALL of us is to find the time and take the RISK of reaching out to those beyond our circle of comfort.
I discovered some vestigial shyness that I needed to overcome personally, in order to reach out to request support of our very worthwhile event from Eating disorder providers and from local businesses. Respecting my inner nerd, I had to clarify and hone the message I wanted to deliver: 1) Why this is such a worthy cause 2) why I care so much about it personally, 3) options for how they could help and 4) what is in it for them (cheap, easy publicity and the satisfaction of supporting a truly worthy cause). Once I had the message crystal clear, I had the confidence to articulate it to others.
Thus far I’ve received donations from my dentist, my yoga studio, a personal trainer, and an author I admire. All I had to do was ASK! These successes are building my confidence in continuing to ask… wherever I go. The act of asking creates an opportunity to inform and educate, which may reap unexpected rewards beyond donations for the walk.
I often listen to audio books on my way to and from work. I prefer lighter, comedic material for my commute; to improve the probability that I will be in a good mood when I arrive at my destination. My current selection is “I Regret Nothing” by Jen Lancaster. In a passage I listened to this morning, Jen laments those that rely solely on social media to promote causes, versus DOING something about it. Her example: It is better to drop off a sack of groceries at a food bank than to post something about hunger on Facebook. (I am paraphrasing – my apologies to Jen). That struck a chord with me, and is spot-on with my personal motivations for coordinating this walk; I’ve done the reading, the research, the lamenting and gnashing of teeth, the POSTING ON MY BLOG… all of that is fine; but it is not a substitute for DOING something.
DOING something is risky. We might fail. People may not understand. Not everyone will support us. We worry that we will make mistakes, we won’t be perfect. The goal of perfection often gets in the way of taking action, taking risks, trying something new. Tragically, for many eating disorder sufferers the pursuit of unattainable perfection leads them down a path of incredible pain and suffering. I am not a fan of perfection: it is usually an impossible ideal that makes us unhappy with what we DO have, who we ARE, or what we CAN accomplish.
My Promise to you: The NEDA walk will not be perfect, but it will be AWESOME!