Diane Fitzgerald is the founder of the Upper Midwest Bead Society (UMBS) and is a well established and talented bead artist. She has authored many beading books and often has projects and articles published in popular beading magazines. She also teaches classes and gives presentations around the world. I have had the opportunity to chat with and bead along side Diane Fitzgerald. One of the conversations I had with her really stuck with me and changed my view on how I approach my passion.
At one particular UMBS meeting, Diane was working on the finishing touches to one of the projects that was going into her next book. She told me that she often has other beaders try her patterns out to see if they are comprehensible. In turn, I told her that I would love to ‘test-drive’ her patterns if she ever found herself in need. (How awesome would that be? Getting to create a Diane Fitzgerald piece before it was published, wow!!) I consider myself fairly talented and can usually figure out a pattern with a few quick glances. Diane’s pieces are all innovative and amazing, but none are particularly challenging for me so I felt comfortable offering help.
Diane responded to my offer of help with a slight hesitation and, “Well, are you any good?” I was slightly taken aback by her response. Of course I’m good! Doesn’t she know who I am? Hasn’t she seen my work? I can do anything she can! But the fact remains that I haven’t done anything she’s done. Of course she doesn’t know who I am. Of course she hasn’t seen my work.
I feel so fortunate to have met Diane and had an opportunity to speak with her. I learned so much in our few short encounters. (Did you know that she tries to spend six hours a day beading? I’m lucky if I can get in six hours a week!) The most important thing I learned from her is that she is human, just like me. She didn’t magically happen into beading fame. She worked hard for her success and continues to work hard for it.
Although I have no desire to be as awesomely successful as Diane Fitzgerald (that would be way too stressful and scary for me), I do desire to have a slightly larger presence in the beading community than I have now. This is going to be my year for staying focused and following through. This is my year for working hard and earning my version of success. This is my year!
Have you had the opportunity to meet someone you looked up to? If so, what lesson or tidbit did you take away from your encounter?