***Note: In case you’re wondering, this blog post is a follow up to this one (love the comments I got on this one and I did my best to respond to each and every one by the way)!
So, last week I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger (sorry about that).
I shared with you that I have had some insights and new perspectives (what I called my “Big Shift”), that I believe will both revolutionize the way I serve you and the the way in which you help your child.
Anyway, I have been reluctant to share it yet, as it is still forming. But it is clear to me that it is time, so here it goes (plus a little background on how it unfolded)…
When I first started working with families who have children with autism over 20 years ago, I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to have the impact that I’ve had.
I have the great honor of serving a subscribing community of close to 10,000 people from over 30 countries. I am so moved by the comments and e-mails I get from the video blogs that I send out weekly. I was especially touched by this comment I received not long ago:
I am amazed that my book “Play to Grow” is not only sold in 4 languages but was voted as a top 5 resource by the Special Needs Book Review. And the opportunity to serve thousands of participants in my annual Autism Empowerment Telesummuit that I ran for 4 years (but skipped this past year for a very specific reason, more on that later…) was incredibly exciting.
When I look back at the experiences I have been able to have, I am both incredibly humbled and grateful.
And, I have learned some things along the way.
Here is what I have learned in my work within the autism community;
- Parents are desperate for community. This is one of the things that have made my annual “Autism Empowerment Telesummit” such a huge success. Parents from over 30 different countries sent me effusive e-mails about how they often feel so isolated and alone and how wonderful it was to be a part of this event and feel connected, supported and energized for the first time in their lives.
- Knowledge is Power. The other thing that parents loved about my telesummit (or my weekly video blogs) is the knowledge they gained. They learned a tremendous amount both from the the amazing panel members but also from all the resources they shared among themselves.
Parents with children on the spectrum are among the wisest and most resourceful people on the planet. Wouldn’t you agree?
But here’s the thing…the telesummit ran for a week and then, it was over.
Parents from all over the world (all over the USA, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, etc.) went back to their lives, helping their child in the best way they can. But the network; the infusion of hope, inspiration and knowledge… had expired.
So, instead of running another one in 2015, I decided to take a break and consider how I can more fully serve my community.
I hit the pause button for a moment to rethink some things.
And here is what I have been holding out on…
All of these observations led me to wonder…how can I create a network that provides ongoing support, inspiration, hope and knowledge?
That’s when the idea of an online community came to me. A place where I can, in an ongoing way, share the knowledge and experience of myself and other leaders in the field and create an active support and networking forum for parents.
I threw this idea out awhile ago to see what you all thought of it and I got some very enthusiastic responses, like these:
And yet,here’s why I have resisted doing this for months…
I am so excited about the idea of cultivating and facilitating a community, but I have been around long enough to know that my ‘small’ projects quickly get out of hand and turn into big ones.
As soon as I came up with the idea, my mind started swirling with people I’d want to interview, monthly content I’d want to offer, the software I could use, what the user experience would be, design for the members site…(getting a sense of how my brain can go on over drive)?
In short, if I do this, it will be a lot of work.
The thing is, this will be a labor of love, as everything else I do is (I simply don’t know how to do it any other way).
So, I am seriously considering doing this.
Despite the millions of pieces that are swirling in my head, I am deeply excited about the idea and I just know, with all my heart, that creating a community like this will help you help your child with more inspiration, knowledge and support than ever before.
And though I got an amazingly enthusiastic initial response, I want to make sure that there is enough interest.
So, I am checking in again and I would love to know:
What do you think?
Should I do it?
Would you be interested?
Your feedback and thoughts are the absolute fuel that keeps me going.
And I don’t want to even think about doing this if there is not enough potential interest.
Anyhow, if you have a second, please leave your comment below and let me know what you think.
It would mean a lot to me and I will do my best to respond to each and every comment.