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The One Brown Girl Challenge

Monday, August 09, 2010
I broke my own rule.  I went to a conference for women bloggers with expectations.  I expected sponsors to want my voice; I expected a blogger I know from the Blogosphere to actually befriend me; I expected the sessions to be great; and I expected every single person at the conference that I smiled at to actually smile back.  Shame on me.  (And I know better too.)  I'm always disappointed when I slip and don't follow my own rules.
I try not to go to conferences, shows and networking events with expectations although I do go prepared (with the exception of leaving my business cards on the dining room table...LOL).  Instead of expecting all of my dreams to come true, I prefer to go in to events with a good attitude and a pure heart and then just see what happens.  In general, my success - so far - has hinged on this very rule.  I won a contest when I didn't expect to win because my intentions were pure and I just wanted to spread the OBG brand message; I made a new lifelong friend and got some unexpectedly positive feedback at a recent conference in Chicago and I certainly didn't expect it.  I met a wonderful family of four from Suriname that shared their salty Chinese food snacks with me on an airport shuttle ride yesterday and of course I didn't expect that.  And after arbitrarily glancing at my Blackberry and seeing on my Facebook feed that another member of the Blogosphere was at the same conference (serendipity?), I spent a few hours bonding with her and if you know how unlikely it is to see one particular Facebook post out of hundreds of posts in Facebook's newsfeed, then you know there was no way I could've expected that.
So when I found myself disappointed and on the verge of tears (I really think the tears were due to exhaustion) after the first half day of the conference, I went back to my hotel room, took a power nap and woke up with a new attitude of Let's Just See What Happens and the rest of the conference was a success!
Now.  I do admit that this No Expectations Rule of mine really does depend on the situation, don't you think?  If I go to a hotel and pay $300 a night, I definitely expect superior accommodations.  But I don't expect to meet Oprah in the elevator; I just better be ready if I do.  Likewise, if I pay a fee for an airport shuttle, I expect to be picked up where and when I'm supposed to be picked up and delivered to the airport on time.  I certainly don't expect the driver to start yelling at me because he's having a bad day because of the heavy traffic resulting from the Dominican Day Parade (another story entirely); I just better be ready (and - trust me - I was) when it happens.
When I was reflecting and contemplating my feelings about this post, I thought the challenge was going to be:  Have No Expectations, but I'm not entirely sold on that concept as there are too many exceptions.  So I guess the challenge for me (and you, if you choose to accept it) is to Be Prepared, Relax and Just See What Happens when you're out and about trying to make things happen for yourself or for your brand.  Who knows?  You might even find yourself enjoying something as simple and delightful as salty snacks and good conversation with a lovely family from South America.  =)
Do you go out into the world with expectations?


KatBouska on: September 1, 2010 at 2:23 PM said...

Ugh! I feel you on this one! I think going to any kind of conference by yourself is nerve racking, but there's something to be said about that loneliness you feel when you realize you're in a room FILLED with people you talk to online, but feel alone.

It makes you kind of question why you're even doing any of this in the first place. Now I try to make arrangements to meet people BEFORE I go to the conference. Much easier that way.

Aqueelah on: September 10, 2011 at 4:44 PM said...

Oh Tracey shame on you "disappointed and on the verge of tears"? You are a blessed child and if you count them you will see they increase often. The fact that you mentioned the Surinam fam and their kindness shows that big things really do come in small packages. Don't get discouraged...aren't you living your dream?

Unknown on: September 10, 2011 at 4:49 PM said...

Aqueelah...Shame on me? I think not. I didn't at any point in this post say I was discouraged. I was disappointed and I stand by that. I also stand by the fact that I found a way to master the situation. Living my life fully and dealing with disappointment aren't mutually exclusive.


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