It is important to me that I be active in my community. My parents instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility to use my time, talent, and treasure to benefit society. They lead by example, and continue to be active in their community, volunteering at a senior care facility, a food bank, and in their neighborhood. Yes, my parents, in their late seventies/early 80s volunteer at a nursing home.
My preferred way to engage in the community was through volunteering and serving on the board of a local chapter of a national nonprofit organization. I met Debby Williams that way, and we shared a vision of creating a vibrant chapter that was active in volunteering in the community and working toward social justice issues. In 2017, after several years on the executive board, Debby was elected President, and I served as Vice President. The experience was extremely frustrating, and neither Debby nor I sought a second term.
The lack of support from a vocal minority of members of our community and their active resistance to the changes we sought to implement, combined with the lack of support from the national chapter lead us to distance ourselves from the organization.
The thing is, we still want to be involved in our community and make a positive impact. We are still interested in social justice issues and politics. That’s why Debby and I started to talk about putting together a podcast. We want to create a space and build a community for women to freely discuss what they are passionate about and offer opportunities to channel that passion into making a positive difference.
So, in 2018, we came up with a name, Feminist Utopia. We made lists of topics, people we’d like to interview, segments for the show, equipment we needed to buy, notes on the length and format of the show ….SO MANY LISTS!
We formed a corporation, commissioned a logo, and came up with a mission statement:
“Feminist Utopia is a platform where we embrace the principles of intersectional feminism and explore ways to live these values day to day. Feminist Utopia commits to hearing the voices of those directly involved on the front lines. FU is designed to platform change-makers and is committed to helping people become change-makers in their own communities.”
We told our friends and family, and even recorded a few episodes.
What we didn’t do in 2018 was launch the podcast. As of today, January 10, it’s still not available for anyone to listen to. Why? I can list a thousand reasons, but it all boils down to perfectionism and fear of failure. I don’t want to put anything out there that isn’t perfect.
If I heard it once growing up, I heard it a million times, “if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” (Thanks, Dad- it has served me well for most things).
But now, I’m just stuck in the fear that what I have to say isn’t good enough- I’m not good enough, and what makes me think that anyone would want to listen to what I have to say? AND if what I put out isn’t perfect, I’m opening up myself to criticism and ridicule.
I need to get unstuck. Of course Debby and I talk about this all the time, and she said something that stuck with me- “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. She wasn’t the first one to say it, but it was the first time I heard it. I did a bit of research (because, procrastination) and found inspiration in this quote by Gretchen Rubin, “instead of pushing yourself to an impossible “perfect,” and therefore getting nowhere, accept “good.”
Dang it’s hard! I got a shot of confidence from my sister, who assures me I am smart enough and have a perspective that others may want to hear. A friend that is helping us edit the podcast also reassured us that she enjoyed listening to us and thought we were producing a valuable podcast. My husband is very supportive as well.
Why then, is it that my first reaction to those compliments is to dismiss them? Julie is my sister, and Aki is my husband- they have to say nice things. And Melody- well, she’s invested in how the podcast sounds, too, so of course she’s going to compliment it.
I could give up, no one is forcing me to do this, but I don’t want to. Truth- I am passionate about Feminist Utopia and am motivated by our mission statement. What if, by finding my voice, I can provide a platform for someone else to have their voice heard, or inspire someone to get involved in their community, or to speak up, or just give them the reassurance that they aren’t weird or alone?
We have a way to go before our first podcast is launched, but I’m committed to getting it out there. Stay Tuned!