This week I've been teaching my students how to consolidate their research into a 5 floor elevator pitch. You know - when you're on an elevator, someone asks you who you are, what you're doing, where you're going, what you're presenting on, and you have approximately 5 floors to answer that question.
My students need to be able (well, anyone) to verbalize what their research papers are about, in a succinct, precise, brief, clear approach - no humming, full of confidence, and hopefully, do that in 3 floors, with 2 floors left for feedback!
As a college professor, that's been easy for me to do: "I teach Freshman and Sophomore writing and a Folklore, or Cultural Studies course." Bing batta boom, message sent, plenty of time for questions and conversation.
As a chaplain, an introduction is horrible. "I'm a chaplain, a clinical chaplain, at a major hospital. I work with those who are dying, or have received a diagnosis that has rocked their very foundation." Beautiful - but what does that mean? "When we face any major upheaval in our lives, our entire being is traumatized. My focus is to help those who are in this situation as they question their beliefs, their values, their life's purpose." Or - "I listen as others sort through their thoughts and feelings."
But I had a friend awhile back who said to me, "Ronda, who are you? What do you stand for? What's your life purpose?" Yikes! Don't pin me down! I felt cornered, caught, tied down, and then stuck in that spot until I could give an answer. And my life is not one that is static - I am constantly on the move, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and to be asked to put myself in a box just about caused me an anxiety over-dose.
Today I attended a meeting at UVU (where I teach), and while one of the presenters talked about the Inclusion initiative at UVU, my elevator pitch to my friend, and to ya'll came to me.
"My deepest desires are to make sure that every person has a place to land where they can feel safe, share their story, and be heard." "I am one of those safe places."
There you go - that's what I've worked for and toward, all my life. My academic world, my professional world, my chaplain world, my interpersonal world. These are the people I'm attracted to, and quite often, they are attracted to me. Put the message out - verbally or silently, and it will be heard.
I came home from this early morning meeting quite happy - feeling at peace. I did it! I created my elevator pitch, defined my "mission," and expressed my deepest emotions, all in the matter of 5 floors, or a lifetime - depending -