Why Moxie?

13 Jun

Before I go any further, I have to address the name of this website, especially when everybody and her sister seems to have a site with moxie in the name.

You can see how I define it here, as well as my mission statement.

I considered not using the word when naming this site, and honestly? The word feels a little cheesy to me sometimes, still, especially inviting interviewees who have never heard of the site. But our culture doesn’t have a lot of words like this, especially for women. To me, it’s kind of like saying, admirably, that someone has balls. But, well, that’s impolite, and also sometimes pejorative. And masculine. (I like chutzpah, though.)

So I stuck with “moxie.”

I was first told I have moxie when I moved to Chicago for my job in 2000. I was 22 and moved here without any friends or family. I was going to work out of my home, driving all over the Midwest to peddle children’s books, so it wasn’t like I was going to have a home base. My husband’s grandmother described this to a friend in my presence, and that’s when she said, “doesn’t that take a lot of moxie?”

Looking back, I realize how brave that move was. I was foolhardy, not necessarily smart about anything I was doing. If I’d been smart, I would have had someone drive down with me, a parent help me choose an apartment. I would have found a roommate so I felt less alone in the city and met more people. I was so happy to get the job and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that they would move me to Chicago. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was my big leap, my life-changing time. It pointed me in the direction I would take for at least a decade now.

So now I try to find women who take big leaps and share how they do it. How do you get to own your own business? How do you switch to a creative career? How do you achieve the promotions to get to the exact place you have always wanted to be? Sometimes these are really conscientious paths and sometimes my interviewees leverage their confidence to take a chance and end up in the right place.

I need to set up some new interviews. I have leads on several, but the process isn’t easy, I’ve found. I ask a ton of questions and people take so much time to answer them. The answers I get back are so rich and I feel like I owe it to them to spend a good amount of time posting them. The process will become smoother as I practice, but for now it’s like I’m paddling a little row boat to get them online. But now that you have a better idea of what moxie means to me, do you have any suggestions? Do you have a wish list? (I know I do!)

Even better, comment on your own moxie. What have you done, lately or ever, that you feel was brave or extraordinary? I recently took a flight with my toddler… alone. I haven’t felt so brave in a long time.

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2 Responses to “Why Moxie?”

  1. Erin June 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    I love your blog- it’s nice to read something that celebrates taking risks, working hard and attempting to balance work and life. And of course, celebrates smart women! I get tired of reading about “stuff” all the time and your blog is a welcome change.

    As for things I’ve done recently to challenge myself, I also took my daughter on a solo trip- it was hard but I was proud of both of us when we returned, plus we had some great bonding time. I’m also contemplating submitting an entry to a blogger contest- it would be the first time I sent in a written piece for anything so it’s pretty scary!

  2. Amanda June 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Erin, thank you SO much for the compliment! I’m really glad that this is making sense to someone out there. I think you should submit the entry. I love peeking into people’s lives through blogs, and yours is a very stylish, fun life, especially with kids. Go for it!

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