June 26, 2009

Facing the unknown and surviving

Something I neglected to mention in my roundup of PresentationCampLA is that, from the very beginning, I was apprehensive. An "unconference" that is created on the day by the people who attend? Scary!

I'm a planner, an organizer, and a recovering control freak. I like to be very well-prepared. As you may have noticed, I talk a lot about preparation on this blog.

So how exactly was I going to help pull off this unconference if there was no planning involved? Yes, we got a space, solicited sponsors, scheduled lunch delivery and did PR and marketing. But the event itself was pretty much a blank slate. We had a couple of ideas for how to get started and suggestions we would make to the group for putting it together, but it was going to be up to the group how to proceed.

Just like most people, I have my comfort zones, and a spontaneously erupting unconference didn't feel like a good fit for me.

However, I like to challenge myself to try new things and to get out of my comfort zone, which is why I agreed to help out in the first place. I didn't know if I would enjoy it or if I would be stressed out the whole time, having no control over the outcome.

If you read my post the other day, you know that I had a fabulous time and that PresentationCampLA was one of the most rewarding events I've ever been part of. I allowed myself to feel some discomfort, at the same time just trying to be in the moment. It turned out to be a successful experiment, and it felt surprisingly freeing to let the day unfold according to the group's desires.

Maybe it was because we had such a jovial, open-minded group to begin with (a whole room full of me would have been a disaster, I'm sure), but everyone adapted easily to the lack of a rigid structure and seemed comfortable to create a new kind of experience.

And because everyone else was comfortable, I was comfortable as well!

I try to practice what I preach, and I've asked you before to get out of your comfort zones. I want you to know that I also have to challenge myself sometimes to do the same thing. It's so satisfying to face the unknown and come out the other side feeling like I've achieved personal growth.

How about you?

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Unknown said...

I was recently at an podcamp that was similar. Like you, I like to plan and it can freak you out, however mine was also a good experience. We need to stretch a little

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for sharing, Letitia! It feels good to open up, doesn't it?

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