I’m 32,000 feet over the continental United States, somewhere between Philadelphia and Houston.
I touch down in 3 hours; I have that long to overcome my anxiety about attending the Dad 2.0 Summit.
I’ve performed stand-up comedy in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver; I’m a freelance television weather forecaster for CBC Montreal; calming my own nerves is something I’m familiar with. Yet, I’m uneasy about two days at the Four Seasons with a couple of hundred fellow bloggers. I gotta do something about that.
The solution to overcoming fears is three-fold:
1) Identify why you are nervous.
2) Put into perspective the real consequences of anything going wrong.
3) Force yourself out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
Why am I nervous about a blogger conference?
Mostly, I hope the trip is worth it, and justifiable.
Living in Montreal, a trip to Houston is no small expense. There is also an added sacrifice for my family who is forsaking whatever this money would have otherwise been put towards: i.e. a trip for the four of us to the Maritimes this summer.
How will I gauge if the conference was worth it? What do I hope to get out of it?
In an ideal world, I hope to meet a contact or two which would eventually lead to representation for, and the publishing of, my book.
Of course, the information provided at the conference will at the very least provide me with helpful tools to become a better blogger, as well as to provide me with some renewed dedication to writing in general.
Will I feel that is enough to fly home with?
What are the real consequences of anything going wrong?
Realistically: pretty much zero.
I have my wife’s support, regardless of what comes from the Summit.
At the very least, this will be a one-off; and provide this blogger (who, in the blogsphere, is a relative toddler) a peppering of life experience, and more Twitter contacts and Facebook friends.
How willing am I to step out of my comfort zone?
Ahhh…this is the real meat and potatoes.
I’m gathering from the conferences newsletter, Facebook group, and Twitter chatter, there are many attendees who have not only tens of thousands more fans of their writing than I do, but also an established relationship with each other.
While secretly I hope to meet another ‘me’ – a startup blogger, a little shy of the bar scene, and reluctant to raise his hand during a conference break-out session – I know the people I should seek out are the Yins to my Yang. To make the most of this Summit, I need to be fearless of the loud groups of friends and the taxis to the karaoke bar after hours. I should show up to drive the Honda at the testing track, introduce myself to the alpha Dads (and Moms), and hand out business cards (freshly minted with my blog logo, thank you).
But, will I? Or will I sit back and take notes from the back of the room, read about the extra-curricular activities through the Twitter feed, retreat to my comfy room at the Four Seasons at 10pm, and cuddle with a bag of chips and a late movie?
I return to a mantra I would repeat to myself before any stand-up routine: what’s the worst that will happen if you step out there tonight?
Not much that I can’t live with.
I’ll only have myself to blame if I don’t make the most of the next two days.
Step out I shall…not yet, though; I’m still at 32,000 feet.