Yesterday I spoke at Blog World Expo on Avoiding Mistakes in Blog Design. I wrote about my excitement and nerves while on the plane to LA. ¬†I love speaking and teaching. ¬†Actually, I wanted to be a teacher. ¬†I was not nervous about public speaking; that part is exciting. ¬†I wrote that I was nervous about 2 things: ¬†losing my voice and having no audience.
Guess what?¬† The night before I lost my voice. ¬†I went to bed at 8 pm and woke up with a mere whisper. ¬†I drank tea and tried to whisper. ¬†By the time my session came I had a choice between the voice of a baby chipmunk or a deranged Kathleen Turner. ¬† This was my first disappointment. ¬†I have a strong speaking voice and I love to use a lot of vocal expression when I teach. ¬†This session was videotaped so I will be able to hear my strange voice. ¬†Yippee.
You know what? ¬†At least my voice came. ¬†I used what I had and I asked for help from Melanie when I needed it because I was literally choking on my own throat. ¬†We knew our stuff and we shared it. ¬†And you know what…we are good presenters. ¬†We did our job well, even with my husky chipmunk at the mic.
We shared our presentation. ¬†To 6 people. ¬†This was my other fear. ¬†That no one would come. ¬†This, for me, brought the huge weight of disappointment down. ¬†It made me feel small and useless and most of all, embarrassed. ¬†I don’t know why so few cared about our awesome presentation on design with tons of useful tips, but man it broke my hard working heart. ¬†I totally appreciate each and every person who came. ¬†Thank you!
Well, we still gave our presentation and answered the few questions and after an hour, it was over. ¬†My first speaking gig at a blog conference did not go at all as I hoped.
I left the conference center to call my husband thinking I would cry. ¬†Yeah, I cry, sue me. ¬†I started talking and he felt so bad for me and then I found my stiff upper lip.
Now I am sitting on a plane on my way back to Charlotte and I decided to share not only my story (I was almost too embarrassed) but also the lesson in it.
How can we deal with this kind of disappointment? ¬†It happens all the time. We work hard on something, whether personally or professionally, and the result does not go as planned. ¬†You know what? ¬†Things happen.
Tips for Dealing with Disappointment
First, evaluate the situation.
Did you do everything you needed to do?
No: ¬†Sometimes the answer will be no and you can figure out how to do better the next time. ¬†Did you not leave enough time? ¬†Did you over extend yourself? ¬†Did you not give 100% because the project was not a big priority to you? ¬†This has now become a learning experience. ¬†Use it to your advantage and know that you will be better in the future.
Yes: ¬†Most of the time disappointment is the hardest when something we really care about goes sideways. ¬†In these cases I find that if anything, we have over prepared. ¬†We are ready to rock a presentation, a social engagement, a party…anything. ¬†Because we care so much we did everything we could.
We (Melanie and I) prepared for our session. ¬†We worked on our presentation, we researched great resources and we promoted our session. ¬†Still, it was a room meant for a hundred with only a few chairs filled. ¬†Each of those people totally rocks, by the way! ¬†We can be proud of what we did.
In this case, when there was no more you could do, you have to be able to be proud of yourself for what you accomplished and what you learned in the process and again, use it as a learning experience.
Can you identify the problem?
This is not about finding a scapegoat. ¬†This is giving your situation an honest evaluation so you will be able to put it behind you. ¬†It is worth it and may make the next situation better. ¬†Maybe there is someone you should follow up with or maybe you just need this for yourself.
I don’t know what to say about my situation other than that we presented right after lunch in a huge expo center as the first panel in the first year of Type A Parent at Blog World. ¬†I think that people weren’t sure these tracks would apply to them if they are not a parent blogger. ¬†While they would be wrong, that is neither here nor there. ¬†There were something like 11 other sessions going on at the same time. ¬†Next to our room was a session on monetization. ¬†Yep, making money. ¬†Duh…people go to that. ¬†Finally, for some reason people don’t really think blog design is that important or they think their blog is just fine. ¬†I can tell you that most blogs need a regular shine and an annual cleaning and that design is extremely important. Especially if you want to make money. ¬†I am confident that this session would be gang busters in a lot of places.
Second, find the silver lining.
I know I sound like your mom, but hey, I am a mom now. ¬†Moms are smart cookies. ¬†As I said above, did you learn something? ¬†Was the experience still worthwhile? ¬†Did you make a new friend? ¬†Did you see something new?
I did all of these things this weekend. ¬†I learned a lot about blogging and social media from the conference and I learned a lot about myself from this situation. ¬†I am strong. ¬†The experience was wonderful despite my vocal distress. ¬†I still wish I was less shy, but I am not going to beat myself up. ¬†I made new friends. ¬†I now totally adore Melanie and I found some other amazing people too! I saw downtown LA and my first non-parenting blog conference. ¬†Boy was it different. I spoke at my first blog conference! ¬†Yay! Downtown LA was super awesome and I really hope to go back sometime and see some sights and hit the beach!
There is more than one side to every story and your situation is probably no different. ¬†So maybe the main event wasn’t what it was cracked up to be but the peripheral stuff rocked. ¬†Focus on that.
Third, allow your feelings. ¬†They are real.
Disappointment is natural. ¬†It is fine to feel this way. ¬†Let yourself be disappointed, just don’t let yourself wallow in it. ¬†That will keep you down a lot longer!
I am disappointed, sure. ¬†I wanted to report amazing success to you, my readers! ¬†It’s okay though. ¬†You just wait. ¬†Next time!
Fourth, Look forward, not backward.
I know we did well speaking and I am already planning which other conferences I can submit a speaker proposal to. ¬†I am less nervous about submitting than I was before and I am ready to roll! ¬†This conference is over now. ¬†I don’t need to let it weigh me down. ¬†I was also thinking of offering a local workshop or webinar on blog design for people (business or personal blogs) who want the information but will not be at a blog conference anytime soon. ¬†See, I am letting go to let new and positive ideas in. ¬†Try it. ¬†It really helps.
Finally, give yourself a little treat.
This is not a pity party, or maybe it is. ¬†It doesn’t matter really. ¬†Grab a bowl of ice cream or a heap of that Halloween candy or a really full glass of wine and indulge yourself. ¬†Take a bubble bath. Catch a movie. ¬†Just because everything out there did not go as you hoped does not mean everything in your own space can’t be just as you like it for at least a little while.
Share Your Tips!
I am feeling a million times better today as I move away from the disappointment (both physically and emotionally) and I hope you are able to move on from some of the disappointing situation in your life. ¬†If you have any other great tips please share them in the comments!