Today was proof of one thing and one thing only (okay, maybe a few things, but one IMPORTANT thing) – you really never know what you might take away from a day at a conference. Today seemed fairly mild according to the schedule. I’d spend half of the day chasing around partners in the trade show. I expected to talk about tents, flooring, chairs more awesome than any other chairs I’ve ever seen and event management software. I expected to be intrigued by Frank Abagnale (even if I think I will still pretend he looks like Mr. Dicaprio in real life). I expected to end the day with a swollen left foot because after all, what is a day on my feet without going to bed with a mongoloid left foot? I did not expect to wag my finger at myself with a disapproving look. You know the look, it’s the kind you get from your best friend when you’ve actually managed to disappoint him/her (which is hard to do, right, because they are your bestie). Yeah, that kind of look.
I attended a Women in Leadership session today. It dealt heavily with the topic of self doubt (well, that’s not what the speaker called it, but that’s how I’ll explain it for simplicity’s sake). I’m talking about the ugly creature that lives in the back of your head telling you things like “Oh, lucky you being in the right place at the right time and getting that awesome opportunity/promotion/raise/project” or “It won’t be long until my boss figures out that I am TOTALLY the wrong person for the job even though I’ve been doing it for 8 years” or “I think I’ll just go ahead and let someone else do it, they are probably better equipped for it than I am”. Ugly, ugly stuff, people.
At first, I thought that wasn’t me at all. I’m confident. I’m smart. I’m pretty. Dammit, I know what I’m doing and that is more than I can say for some people. Oh yeah, and I’m modest! (see what I did there… it’s called being ironic… or something like that). However, I stepped back for a moment and realized that it was me. It was so much me that I was ashamed of years of being that person.
There is one way, and one way only that I am that person on a regular basis. When people ask how I got into my industry, I almost always say “I fell into it, I guess. The job just happened to be open when I was looking and it was in a small market”.
WHAT THE HECK?
Why on earth do I tell people that?
Had I not been EXACTLY the right person for the job, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Heck, I’d probably have already gone back to school for a grad degree and be in a completely different field.
Everytime I say that, I’m cutting myself down. I should sing my praises. People ask me about how I got my start in venue management because they are interested. I should indulge them, not downplay it. I should represent myself as the fabulous person I am. I should show my true self, not the self conscience, mousey person I make myself out to be.
So that is my goal tomorrow. When asked about my past, I’ll stand up and explain how awesome my first job was and how my skills and qualifications got me that first job. And I promise to be humble about it. After all, I’m not looking to be a braggart, just to give myself my due.
I would have to say I soaked a great deal in today.