Sunday, September 23, 2012


Trying to clear my head at the moment...just get in it, get out of it, and everything in between.  Conferences, while often anticipated for the travel, the change of pace, and the promise of face time with my colleagues, does indeed bring a crash.  I remember my first APAP and the crash that followed.  It was like the day after Christmas.  Many moons have passed since then but I still experience it.  I was cranky last week, no doubt just trying to get caught up on sleep and tie up loose ends before the next trip.  Midwest was terrific - easier, busier, great meetings, a great session, meaningful connections.  I felt for a moment, brilliant.  And PAE was...well, when I get out my own head and get perspective, even a better sense of space and time, it was decent.  Especially given that I didn't know any southerners.  I made a lot of new connections and that does matter in the long run. 

It's hard to not compare the two conferences.  Each has its own mission and values and personalities.  Hard to not compare my experiences at one versus another.  They were both decent in their own way.  I long for consistency and pay off.  I suppose it will eventually happen. 

It's also hard (for me) to not always be thinking, what's next?  What is the next goal to achieve?  It's hard to be in the moment.  Be content and appreciative and grateful of this time and this experience.  That overachieving side of me is one of my greatest strengths but also a weakness since it can eat away at a sense of worth.  It's easy to let myself be defined by a series of achievements and met goals.  I'm remembering a TED talk about how it's important (and often enough at times) to just show up.  To show up, bring our best, put the time in and do it.  Not every day is magic or brilliant. 

Not every conference or meeting or moment is awesome and most probably won't be.
Not every piece of art I create is stellar or needs to be stellar.
So accepting that and being OK with showing up and creating for the sake of creating...that's enough.  And in the world of conferencing and artist representation, I need to find a way to be OK with the mundane. I suspect these two are related.  If I can get back to some things that I've missed for some time, namely creating some art, I think I will find an inner peace that will allow me to feel like the hard and smart work of each day is enough, and will in time, allow for another moment of brilliance. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some people are just moody souls sometimes and the other night at the opening party my mentor was in a mood. I let it go and did my own thing. My last words to my roommate before nodding off to slumber were, "I hope he doesn't come to my session tomorrow."

The thing is some teeny part of me thought he probably considered it. But truthfully, he doesn't attend keynotes or sessions or any of that so I never expected him to show up. At 8:05, maybe 30 seconds after I started my presentation, he walked through the door. Amazement and panic hit me in the face. I couldn't stop, I had to keep going, but it tripped me up for a few minutes. Eventually I had to not think about him being in the room and my nervous thoughts that I was "on" and was I doing a good enough job? Was I measuring up? It's easier for me to talk for 90 minutes to a group of strangers versus to one person I know. And not just know but respect and admire and whose integrity and business ethic and smarts are what I strive for as well.

Way to make me nervous.

I never looked over his way the entire time. Somehow I got through it and it was near 9:30am and as I was wrapping up he offered some additional insights to our audience. It was over, I was done, I packed up and finally breathed and took in the fact that I just led my first ever professional development session at a regional. I did it. It was tough but I did it and it was rewarding.

I fired off a text message that was - I cannot believe you came. I couldn't even look at you. Way to make me nervous. To which he replied, Sorry. You were great. I wanted to hear it.

I spent the better part of that morning "on" in the booth and decompressing and digesting. I immediately felt like he set out to make me crash the session if you will. But slowly, I realized that wasn't the case. Let's just say building confidence as an entrepreneur is tough, even for otherwise independent confident people. I'd been fighting to find myself - both old and new versions of me. I had been realizing since November just how much BS was in my head and how easy it is to get caught up in old patterns of thinking. Thinking that people are out to make me feel nervous, "on" and to be perfect all the time so as to impress and prove myself. Something, I don't know what, got a hold of me and shook me to my senses. It's enough to show up and do what we do. It was enough to show up, in Grand Rapids, be my great self, bring my knowledge, and be part of something bigger. And people come because they care - about me. Isn't that why I go? Even when I know the material? It's for moral support. Finally, I gave myself permission to accept that I was enough and I was worthy of that. That maybe I had shown the gorgeous genius that I am and continue to be.

I circled back with a very sincere thank you...thank you for coming. It was great to have you there. So many compliments on the session, on my knowledge and on "that guy at the end" who had really thoughtful insights. He was there for me. He had my back.

This conference was the final nail in that old thinking's coffin. I realize how much support I have. Real, genuine, I believe in you and have your back, support. It's not always spoken by our colleagues and mentors but it's there. I'm liberated and very blessed.