What I Learned At (Word) Camp

Lorraine at lectern giving SEO presentation Wow – where did the week go?

Last Saturday I was enjoying the second day of sessions at the WordPress conference.

My SEO presentation was right before lunch on Friday so I was done & done.

You might remember my introvert freak out a couple weeks back.

All went well and feedback indicated the presentation was well received.

The kind and enthusiastic words of support prior to and checking in afterwards were greatly appreciated.

 

One very wise woman – you know who you are – asked what was the best part.

Leaving the answer at “being done” was too easy.

The invitation to such a great question needed to be accepted.

So here goes …

 

What I learned last week at camp

 

Molehills are meant to be molehills

Last week the tension and drama continued to ramp up. Along with the presentation, there were three other time critical tasks on the plate to deal with. How they would all get done kept me up at night.

Then, as some may know, a friend died unexpectedly. Dumbfounded shock took over. All drama and tension flashed into thin air. Nothing I was worrying about really mattered. Clarity and reasoning returned. The mountains I faced were of my own creation. And they could be uncreated. Any time drama tried to grab hold again, there was no sticking. Molehills returned to their rightful status as molehills, and each one was dealt with and completed on time.

 

Stick it out

I’d made a pact with myself to avoid slipping into the usual pattern of being a shrinking violet wallflower at conferences. Waiting around for the registration segment to complete, I found myself at a table with three other people. Instead of being an interested listener, finding out more about them, and contributing, I overcompensated tenfold and consumed the conversation. Fortunately, I caught an eye shot across the table and clued in. Instant zip of the lips accompanied by the self-bashing about knowing better.

But the real accomplishment was not letting the bashing take hold. My normal response to such embarrassment would be to withdraw completely and become as invisible as possible. I corralled the feelings, took a deep breath, and evaluated the situation as objectively as possible. There was a path to recovery from the faux pas. Be me. Focus on moving forward – and the presentation – rather than dwelling on 10 minutes of a 2-day conference.

 

Managing introversion

Being an introvert poses a bigger hurdle when hanging out in person, especially in larger groups. Energy and sensory input can reach overwhelm levels quickly. What I was able to do differently this time was manage the need for quiet as an ebb and flow instead of all or nothing. I didn’t have to be “on” all the time. Sessions were little pockets of time for rejuvenation and found myself much more at ease during breaks and lunchtime.

 

Online is great. So is in-person.

Meeting cool people from around the world without leaving home is an introvert’s paradise. I’ve thrived on that for years. But the conference made me realize I can’t hide behind the internet either. Everyone I met had a unique and interesting greater purpose for having a website. The tech wasn’t the greater purpose, but the technology enabled a greater purpose. And people like coming together. There’s a different energy in the room when it’s physical rather than virtual. Not that it’s better, just different.

 

I enjoy “teaching”

Not that this is new insight. More like a reinforcement and reminder to do more of it. And by teaching I mean sharing information that helps others get closer to what they need or searching for in a way that’s accessible. There’s nothing better than being part of a light bulb moment that changes everything. Those moments don’t need to be profound to make a difference. Making a difference is what’s important.

 

I could can do this

The biggest surprise was finding myself thinking about possibilities for in-person offerings, whether related to coaching or SEO. A whole other avenue opens up. Maybe not right away, but who knows where mulling may lead. Or what might show up by paying closer attention to what’s appearing. What I do know is I’m not going to force anything to happen and I’m not going to automatically turn down anything either. It’s kind of a nice place to observe from and decide what steps to take next.

 

PS: And yes, for those who are wondering, I would consider presenting again next year.

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Lorraine

Not quite a crazy cat lady (yet?) – Lorraine’s insatiable curiosity of life leads her to explore, question and push beyond the box. A self-professed “left-brained creative big picture idea” type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing possibility everywhere and in everyone, and is a moth-to-flame for being part of making that possibility come true.

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