This week I attended the HR Florida conference in Orlando. I applied for and was granted a breakout session where I spoke about performance management. These conferences are a great chance to network and fertile ground for getting clients.
Since this is one of the largest SHRM chapters in the country, I felt very honored to get a session. They even asked if I wanted some of my books to be sold in the SHRM bookstore AND if I’d like to do a book signing after my 10:15 AM talk. Of course I agreed.
I started feeling pretty important.
I could tell my colleagues I was going to speak to one of the largest SHRM chapters. And have a book signing.
Things went well! I had my book on display. They even put up a big schedule and I was right up top, just underneath the keynote speaker who was non-other than Dan Rather, the legendary journalist.
Dan Rather did the keynote. I was busy setting up my room as my session started immediately after his. By 10:00, my room was packed. People were even turned away. I was feeling more and more important. When my session ended, I raced up to the book signing table and sure enough there was already a line of people waiting for a signed copy…of Dan Rather’s book. I worked my way around the crowd and sat just a few feet from Dan Rather.
Nobody asked for my signature. Nobody bought my book. My perceived celebrity was upstaged by the real deal. I stayed for about 10 minutes, had Vince, the book store manager shoot my photo, and slinked away from the table.
Now I’m not bitter or angry about it. I was at the conference to meet people, build a network, and grow my business. All three of those happened. It was a very worthwhile trip and I know those who took my breakout left with valuable information that will help them. Some will reach out to me for help. It’s a win-win-win.
But then there’s my deflated ego.
And here’s the lesson: No matter how big you think you are or how big people tell you that you are, there will always be someone bigger and better than you. You can allow that to paralyze you or you can use it to motivate you. I choose the latter. I’ll write twice as often, market twice as hard, and talk to twice as many people now. I’ll answer twice as many Calls for Speakers for conferences and work to reach out to twice as many groups. I could complain and blame Dan Rather for stealing my thunder, but the bottom line is that Dan Rather has no clue who I am and so blaming him wouldn’t really fix anything.
What will you do with your setbacks and disappointments? Your choice is to blame and back down or buckle down and power full speed ahead. I hope you’ll join me and choose the latter.
I’m sure Dan Rather would encourage you to do the same!