So, I was at South by Southwest Interactive last week. Amazing experience, I got so much out of being there, with smart, creative people talking about fascinating ideas and sharing their dreams and passions. Awesome. AND, I felt like hell about half the time I was there. My Inner Critic was having a field day:
Why aren’t you headlining?
You don’t have any clients yet?
You’re not working very hard!
You’re not good enough!
That guy (or girl) is smarter / funnier / richer / sexier than you!
On and on it went. It was tiring, and at times discouraging, but the fact that that bastard was screaming in my ear so loud…told me that I was doing the right thing. It only comes out when we are taking risks and stretching, so I conclude that I must have been taking some risks, and I choose to be proud of myself.
There were a few times I had to sit down and pull myself together. At one point I had to return to my room and scream into a pillow, but I kept getting up and going back into the fray, and I’m glad I did, I met some amazing people. For example, I managed to meet up for coffee with Nilofer Merchant, a writer and activist I admire deeply for her courage, voice and mission. This only happened because I was willing to reach out and ask, and trek several blocks away on short notice to where she was. It would have been easy to blow off and stay safe and small, but I would have missed a wonderful conversation.
Who knows what will come of the ideas and the meetings and the coffee and beer? I don’t know. Even if nothing comes of it, I am a better man for having stood up and gotten into the ring, over and over again.
(And I’m exhausted. I’m glad I’m home with my wife and daughter)