In every situation in life there are lessons and blessings. After a full week of work events and situations that took me waaay out of my comfort zone, I’m taking a moment to look at what I learned this week.
1. I Am NOT A Performer.
Some people light up when in front of an audience, or can just “turn it on” when they are in front of a camera.
Not me. I’m awkward and stiff whenever I am on stage or in front of the camera. I’m good at facilitating workshops and making presentations when the focus is on the content or the participants. When the focus is on me, I want to curl into a ball and hide.
This week I was reminded of what a terrible performer I am when I did a short video project. All I had to do was read a few announcements with enthusiasm. It sometimes took three or four takes to get me to look and sound like a real person and not an angry robot. The camera went on, and I shut down. In the end, I didn’t embarrass myself too much, I don’t think …
Lesson: Perfectionism is a waste of time. I will not succeed at everything I do, but that does not mean I should not try.
2. Nerd Skills Are My Superpowers
A few days after the disastrous on-camera incident, I had one of the biggest, best days of my career. It was the state conference for which I was the Committee Chair.
Months of working with a team of coworkers to coordinate concurrent sessions and hundreds of attendees all came together for one eventful day. The conference went well; attendees said they enjoyed the day and learned a lot. I thank God and my coworkers for its success.
I don’t mean to brag, but throughout the conference, people complimented me for being “calm,” “organized” and “attending to details.” Exciting, right? Well, that’s me. #Rebel.
Lesson: I should continue to play to my strengths, even if they are not sexy.
3. Embracing Introversion Keeps Me Calm
At the conference, I — along with the committee team and other staff — was host to 350 colleagues. That’s 300+ potential situations for small talk … All. Day. Long.
It was an Introvert Nightmare.
I love my coworkers and colleagues who attended the conference, but the thought of so many social interactions leaves me anxious and exhausted. Thankfully, I know myself well enough to be able to nurture my introversion and play toward my strengths.
Before the conference started, I scheduled times during the day to find a quiet spot to clear my heard. I also focused on having meaningful one-on-one conversations with a few people, instead of attempting to talk to everyone. Also, I asked my extroverted coworkers to be sure and “work the room” — they are better at it than I anyway, and prefer those conversations.
Lesson: Honor my own style of working and communications, and encourage others to do what they do best, too.
Also from DeniseMpls:
- Introvert’s Guide to Professional Conferences
- First Rule of Personal Branding: Be Yourself
- Q&A: You Never Know Until You Try