Being in these types of environments immediately puts me back in a fishbowl. . . it’s like the first day of a new job or the first day of college or the first time you went to a party at a new friend’s house. All of a sudden you’re just you in this raw, you-ey form. You’re just talking and being and meeting and it all just happens (and you’re simutlaneously sorta wincing and hoping it works out ok).
Am I right? Anyone else? I don’t mean to suggest I’m not me-ey all the time. It’s just that when you’re around strangers you’re more aware of your you-ness. These types of experiences make me scared and grateful all at once.
So here’s what I learned today that I want to share with you (these are completely personal observations that I’m having as a result of being at a purely professional conference):
1. If you really believe (heart and soul) in what you’re doing, nothing else really matters. That is the single most transparent identifier we carry with us. You can’t fake heart. I met many people today who I could just tell wholeheartedly believe in the power of the work we do.
2. Don’t be afraid to be your real and honest self. This one always makes me nervous. I talk too long and too fast (long story, long), and I get overly excited, fairly loud, and pretty intense. and it makes me nervous. I’m like that loud kid at the 5 year old’s birthday party who is so excited that she starts jumping up and down, loses her balance, and falls into the cake. that’s me. But somehow, I realized today, I’m also a leader. I believe in what I’m doing, and I’ve done it long enough (5.5 years) to really know what I’m doing.
Being me is nothing to be ashamed of. That looks sad when I read it out loud to myself, but it’s an important reminder.
3. When you least expect it, magically people walk into your life who you just know you were meant to meet (hello Anni, Ross & Joan). I met these three people today in real-life (I met Anni online. She was my pen pal!), and they are just lovely- the kind of people who wear their heart like a coat of arms.
You have to be open to meeting these sorts of people. It usually happens after you believe in what you’re doing and after you realize that you are just great enough.
Those are all my takeaways from the Conference day 1.
Have you been on any business trips solo lately? How do you maximize your time while you’re there?