Earlier I wrote about being selected as a possible contestant in the UPS Salute to Small Business Event this evening.
When they contacted me they said that I was “selected”. I had gotten my hair trimmed especially for this event. I had needed something dressy to wear since wearing my usual workout togs that I wear for weaving probably wouldn't cut it on-stage, so I found a beautiful true blue, Eileen Fisher cashmere sweater on sale. It will serve me as my dress up sweater for years to come! I had worked for a week to get my 3 minute 'pitch' just right. I had pictures printed up to illustrate my points. I had everything timed down to the second. And I had told lots of people.
But . . . I never made it to the event. Or I should say, I made it to the event, saw people going into the Minneapolis Event Center, and then couldn't stop myself from accelerating away from the curb as fast as my Prius would take me.
Totally unforgiveable and so unprofessional, I can't believe that I just ran. But I did Part of me thought I wouldn’t be missed because the Facebook ad announcing the event indicated that you could apply online or even just show up at the event and get selected then. So, I thought that a quick replacement would step forward out of the 100’s that probably applied online, or who just showed up at the event to see if they could present their idea . I rationalized this to myself ad nauseam while watching people walk into the Center before I bolted. Plus, I thought that there are so many sharp people out there with some really sexy ideas. What judges in their right minds would want to back someone who wants to use the prize money to buy looms. I envisioned people booing me, and heckling me. I imagined 4 Donald Trumps sitting as the judges, and attacking me verbally for being a woman and for being an idiot.
Okay, I have a really good imagination. But . . . I was so terribly nervous my voice came out really tight when I was practicing. My heartbeat felt like a hammer, my ears were ringing, my head ached, my legs felt wobbly, my shoulder muscles were tight as violin strings, and my stomach . . . well, I won’t get into that. This is all while I was still in my studio practicing. I kept saying to myself, “Why did I say I would do this?! What have I gotten myself into?!” I just could NOT relax. I had to get up in front of 200 people and 4 judges who are being critical of every movement and eye blink I was going to make.
In my defense I have to mention that while I was getting my presentation photos reproduced at . . . Ahem . . . UPS, I mentioned what the photos were for, and they were all sort of impressed in an odd sort of way . . . or maybe it was that they were viewing me as a lamb going to slaughter, because one of the clerks said, “Oh yeah! The Small Business Salute! Yeah! It’s going to be like “Shark Tank”. Well, that certainly helped me!
I have a REALLY difficult time talking about facts and serious stuff in front of people. I am beginning to realize that I am a ‘seriously impaired introvert’. I can’t help this, and it really isn’t a bad thing. Introverts are the people who go off by themselves and solve the tough problems, as Susan Cain (another serious introvert!) writes in her book about introversion, “Quiet”. Introverts shouldn’t be expected to be loud and boisterous and want to jump up in front of a couple hundred people and feel comfortable talking about their passion, just as extroverts shouldn’t be expected to read books all day and enjoy the solitude.
In days gone by I used to be able to handle getting up in front of people and talking to groups, but I think that in raising kids, one of whom is special needs, and as a mother needing to be extra sensitive to both of my children’s needs, my brain has shifted and gotten even more sensitive to picking up on the vibes of others. So a crowd of people with revved up feelings is not a comfortable place for me to be, much less standing up in front of them while they judge me.
The crummy part of this whole thing is that I should have known this about myself!! I DID know this about myself. But my passion is so intense, and that carrot they were dangling was pretty big and tempting. I fell for the temptation and now I have to confess it in front of everyone. This frankly is just as bad as failing miserably in front of 200 people and 4 Donald Trump judges.
I suppose I will be banned from all UPS stores from now on.