baby taking first stepsPicture it: you’re young, curious, walking on wobbly legs and venturing out from behind your mother’s thigh. What do you see? Everything is HUGE, right? You probably keep peering back up to your mother, not wanting her to know you’re less than willing to be all the way over there without her, but also wanting to experience life “by yourself.”

You know, I’ve always hated the kiddie pool.

Many years ago, when I was SmallJillian, the pre-Internet version of OneJillian (I know – what’s that?), we would go at least once every year to Waterland Water Park. Of course this would happen on the hottest weekend of the summer and we would have a grand time all day, daring the sun to over-bake our skin.  My sister and I were hold-hands buddies and we would explore, play, splash, float, glide, chase, slide, ride, and finally swim our way across the whole park.

The one area where we never stayed long was the kiddie pool, and as soon as we could charm our way out of it, we skipped it altogether. Our first visit, my sister and I were around six and five years old, respectively. All we wanted to do was conquer the massive wave pool, even though at those ages, we barely stayed planted in our rented inner tubes – let alone, swim! Somehow, every year, we made it to that wave pool and left the kiddie pool behind. We didn’t lose our inner tubes and, as hold-hand buddies, we kept each other from being carried off in the current.

woodcut wave patternFitting that I’m in over my head again

My comfort zone is right on the verge of discomfort. Call it a second-child-syndrome if you want. It is usually when I’m hustling to “keep up” with the big kids that I out-perform my peers, who are just hustling to one-up each other. Whereas many would look at joining a room full of people who are advanced practitioners in a profession (which itself may be in its foundational stages) and think they’ve made a mistake, I see that room as an invaluable resource. I see adventures sandwiched between books – an intensely focused kind of freedom.

This thrashing wave pool we navigate every day – the Internet – is scary if you focus on the waves, undertow and simple vastness of the wild wild web. But I saw SEO as a big wave pool and I spent my first week splashing around in it and teasing the undertow, all the while keeping within grabbing distance of my floating inner tube.

writing on a chalkboardI’ll learn by teaching

Every post in this series, I’ll teach you something I’m learning in my new position here – part the curtains, so to speak. Oh, it’s going to be incredibly hard to make pace and then keep up with it – but doesn’t that anticipation of action get you excited? Like the first time you balanced on your beginners’ surf board on that baby wave in 6 feet of water…total adrenaline surge, right?