When I woke up this morning, I stumbled out of bed, packed my lunch and mindlessly drove to my place of business. As I sat at my desk, staring at my screen the way I usually do on Monday morning, I was hit with the harsh realization that the moments I had been accustomed to experiencing throughout the weekend were now quickly fading into memories. There were no bright eyed coffee enthusiasts shouting “Good Morning”, ready to be inspired, all on only three hours sleep; nor was breakfast set up, waiting to be picked apart and then refilled as many times as was needed.
It was my second trip to Blissdom Canada but things feel monumentally different this time around. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to go through the roller coaster of emotions that I felt throughout my time in Mississauga and I still feel like it is going to take some time to realize the full impact this conference will have on my life.
At the very top of my list was having the opportunity to achieve a personal triumph when I took to the stage for the Power Hour. If we’re being completely honest, I only applied for it because I assumed that with all the talented writers and speakers out there, I would never get picked. I was trying to cheat fear by being able to say that I at least put myself out there and it backfired beautifully. As the big day crept closer and the anxiety grew, I started playing mind games with myself. You know that Sesame Street skit, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here”? I glared at the names on the Power Hour board, Sharon DeVellis, Elan Morgan, Joe Boughner, Shannon Fisher and Erica Ehm, all established in their own way, and I began to fabricate all the excuses I could give to get out of it, when something funny happened. First, Elan told me everything would be alright, then Joe sent me a very kind letter of encouragement, which was followed by Erica being very kind and warm upon seeing me, closed out by amazing conversations with Shannon and Sharon. The next thing I knew I was up there, in front of everybody, sharing a story so personal that I was afraid I wouldn’t even get through it. And, nobody booed. I somehow managed to harness that fear and instead let my passion shine through, and it felt damn good.
In the hours that followed, I received so many encouraging tweets, messages and congratulations that, for a while, I lost complete control of my own emotions. It was surreal and overwhelming to hear a few people say that my presentation had actually made a difference in their lives. That short, seven minute presentation and the series of events that followed, have completely changed me, for the better, of course. I walked on to that stage, unconfident, unsure of my place in the group and scared as I’ve ever been; and I walked off feeling as though I truly deserved to be there.
So, as I sit here at my desk, still staring blankly at the screen, I’m hit with the harsh realization that the moments I had been accustomed to experiencing throughout the weekend were now quickly fading into memories. But, they are memories of the time I pushed through the fear and accomplished something that will inspire me to keep reaching as high I want to climb, for the rest of my life.