The Art Of Self Doubt: A Lesson From BlogWest
When I showed up at BlogWest in Edmonton on March 7, 2013 I didn’t expect to leave the 3 day conference feeling like a different person but I did.
As soon as Julie from 3 Chickens and a Boat got into my car on the first night, I could tell that she was going to be the voice in my ear and the foot in my ass to push me beyond my comfort zone. The last thing on the schedule for the Friday night was something called a “Pitch Panel”.
Huh? What’s a pitch panel?
A pitch panel is where a select group of people representing different brands sit at a table at the front of the conference room and listen to individual bloggers pitch their blogs and themselves to the panel in an attempt to engage at least one of them in a campaign where the brand will give the blogger a product or a service in exchange for a post or series of posts about their specific product. Think Dragons Den only with less of the “I’M OUT” and more of the sweating bullets.
I immediately decided that I wasn’t going to attend this evening event because I’m a self doubter and self-doubt is a powerful force when left unattended to grow and spread.
I don’t have enough experience.
I’ve never worked with a brand before.
What do I have to offer a brand?
I don’t even know if anyone out there is reading my blog.
Does anyone care what I have to say?
I’m not big enough?
I’m not good enough?
In that moment the only thing I felt like I was excelling at was the art of self doubt.
Thankfully no matter how many excuses I could come up with, they were met with positive reenforcement and encouragement from those around me.
What do you have to lose?
It will be a great learning experience!
You never know what the brands are looking for!
You’re blog is great!
You’re an excellent writer!
This is a great opportunity!
Take the leap!
You CAN do it!
Just say YES!
I knew in my heart that they were right. Or at least I wanted them to be right. As my new blogger friends and I parted ways for a dinner break I waved good bye to them hoping no one would ask me again if I was coming back for the pitch panel. The last thing I heard from across the parking lot was, “So you’re coming back tonight?! You’ll regret it if you don’t go for it!” I shrugged my shoulders and kept walking.
I struggled with my self doubt. I made my decision and got in my car and drove away.
I was half way to my friends house (where I was staying while in Edmonton) and a wave washed over me, I suddenly pulled off the road into a gas station. I parked the car. I called my friend. I talked to her. She responded with, “You HAVE to go back!” I hung up the phone. I had a little cry (ok, maybe a big little cry). I dried my tears and got some food. I drove back to the conference centre.
And then I started freaking out!
OMG! What am I going to say? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I DIE? (hey, it could happen) Once again my cheering team was right there with words of encouragement and support to bring me back from the edge.
After a short mingling and chatting we gathered in the conference room. There was nothing particularly scary about it. The panel of 6 brand representatives were friendly and all smiles. There were only a small handful of bloggers from the conference who even showed up to present their pitches. 6 of them were, what I would call, pros in their field and ambassadors at BlogWest, who were sort of obligated to pitch. The only bloggers left were the gal from Where Edmonton and ME! That’s it??? 2 novice bloggers???!! OMG, I AM going to die. Right here, right now, I am going to melt into a puddle of bubbling embarrassment. Deep breaths.
I sat in awe as the pitches started. The self doubt was spreading like wild fire thru my belly and all I could think was, “leave now while you have the chance” and “how can I possibly follow any of these experienced bloggers”. Pitch after pitch had all this lingo that I wasn’t familiar with. Things like, “reach” and “readership” and “campaign strategy”. I started to panic. RUN! RUN!
And then it was my turn.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Leap!
I smiled. I spoke clearly. I laughed. I joked. I talked about why I started my blog. Who I am. I talked about the journey that I’m on. I was genuine. I was honest. I was sincere. I was me.
I felt great. I didn’t melt into a puddle. In fact, I kind of rocked it…because I had nothing to lose and I was true to myself and not trying to be something that I wasn’t. I am so utterly grateful for the kick in the ass, the shove off the cliff and the hand to pull me thru the fear and self doubt. That moment has changed the course of my life in a big way and it feels fantastic! Thank you, Julie and Sunita. In the closing keynote speech by Elan Morgan aka Schmutzie she said that, “self-doubt is a sign that what you are doing is important to you and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual measure of your worth.” (lets just say that her speech was full of ah-freakin-ha moments for me)
Even though I didn’t get any brands to throw open their arms to embrace me and my blog as brand partners (that night), I got a lot of great feedback and the openness to keep in touch about future possibilities. What more could I ask for? They were warm and inviting and all of them smiled and accepted me for me.
Because lets face it, I’m gonna be the one to watch!