I got roped into doing an event tonight where I was supposed to speak on a panel with another person to give our perspective on the ramifications of the election on our industry. Generally I hate doing these things. How did I end up in an industry that relies so much on networking and getting to know people? I have no idea. Because in general, I hate small talk and I tend to make a decision on whether I like you in 2 minutes. And if I don’t like you I really don’t want to spend my precious time talking to you. (Yes, this makes me sound awful…but I love my friends and I am not looking for artificial relationships based on ones job.). SO these types of events where I have to go, network, smile, nod, talk to people, shake hands, pretend like they have the most FASCINATING job in the world…its not me and its hard for me to do.
So I am roped into this event and I have to speak. Noon today I get a call and my co-speaker is down with a stomach bug so it’s going to be just me… the Jen Show. 30 Minutes of Me..talking about the ramifications of the elections. I am not going to lie..I was petrified. I cancelled all my afternoon appointments, locked myself in my office and wrote out my speech like I was writing something I would do at a Speech Tournament. I read it, re-read it, studied it, memorized it, and I was still completely nervous to do this. Did I mention it was a sold out event?
So long story short: I did it and I lived to tell about it. In fact, I loved it! I had my notes, but I didn’t even look at them. I did it completely off script. I fielded questions, I told little antidotes, I went completely train of thought. In the end, I had several people ask me to come speak at their company meetings! Amazing! I had so many people tell me how much they enjoyed it.
So the lesson I learned tonight is that regardless of how old I am and where I get in my professional life, I still sell myself short. If I had been able to, I would have cancelled tonight. But in the end, I was in my element. Asking me to talk about politics is like asking a kid if they want candy. I forget that I can put it in a perspective that is useful to others, and not everybody can do that. And because I am so passionate about politics, I can also spend 30 minutes on the “Jen Show” without even blinking an eye (or looking at notes).
In the end, we need to give ourselves a break. I never would have taken this opportunity if it were left up to me. But, I am thankful for the opportunity I got tonight.
PS I am severely behind and I have a few other posts that I hope to do in the next few days.