Life Lesson I Learned from doing my presentation

The presentation I gave at WordCamp Utah went really well. It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. I prepped as much as humanly possible. I practiced as often as I could. I must have updated my slides several times every day for about a month leading up to the conference. AND I also had anxiety dreams almost every night especially the week before. In my nightmares, everything that could go wrong, did. I’d left my power cord at home. I left my laser pointer somewhere. I lost wifi connection and couldn’t find my presentation. My nose began to bleed spontaneously. I mean literally everything my subconscious could do to undermine my confidence, it fed it into my nightmares.

The irony is that I’m not here to tell you that “… and NONE of it came true… everything was fine!”. Well, everything was fine, but that’s not the end of the story. The truth is that almost everything I dreamed actually came true. I did accidentally leave my computer’s power cord at home. I couldn’t find my laser pointer when I needed it. The wifi did get disconnected from my laptop in the middle of my presentation. Really, if you told me that all of that stuff would really happen, I would have run from the room screaming, called up Joseph Scott and told him to forget it, I couldn’t do it! In the nightmares, when all of these things happened, the world basically ended. My presentation was a complete failure and life ended there. Every night, in the middle of the night, I’d wake up, jot something down on a piece of paper I needed to remember so that I could prevent the catastrophe I had just envisioned.

But despite all these things coming true, life did not end. In fact, nothing happened. Thankfully, my battery lasted long enough to survive the length of my presentation. It did die eventually, but not until about halfway through the day – hours later. The wifi timed out on my laptop and disconnected, but I kept going even though the cool slide remote I had on my iPhone no longer worked. (In my opinion: a design flaw in the app to have it only rely on wifi and not bluetooth!!) The arrow keys work perfectly well to move the slides!! And the laser pointer I realized later I left buried in my purse so I just made do without it.

All the anxiety and thinking the sky would fall if any of these things happened, and even my desperate attempts to prevent them – they happened. When they did, there was a logical solution. And life went on.

I think I know I spend too much time worrying about what could happen. I spend too much time trying to plan for all conceivable contingencies. And the truth of the matter is that, when a problem is real, there is usually a solution at hand as well. I won’t say always. But usually. It certainly isn’t worth the time spent worrying about the “what ifs.”


  1. Christine
    Aug 30, 2010

    So happy to hear it went well-ish. (I know, it isn’t a word. I made it up just for you.) I wish I could have been there – I’m sure you rocked it!

    I think it is an excellent life lesson to learn – thanks for sharing it! I see it get in people’s way all the time. Matter of fact, I think a key part of my job as a wedding photographer is reminding people that the world isn’t going to end if something goes wrong. Still not always easy to remember though!

  2. Jennifer
    Aug 30, 2010

    I think it’s that whole fear of failure thing. It’s debilitating to the point of making you want to quit or not try (which is what I have done previously) – and that is more a failure than actually trying.

  3. Joshua
    Aug 30, 2010

    Just for the record Jennifer, your presentation was fantastic and probably the best one I attended all day. Keep it up!

  4. Jennifer
    Aug 30, 2010

    Thanks Joshua!!!

  5. Wade
    Aug 30, 2010

    I have to agree Joshua, your presentation was one of the best of the day, and the conversation in the lunch line was fun too. I did notice you stop using the iPhone as the remote, but I had no idea there was technical difficulty. The laser pointer is totally over rated anyway.

    Thanks for a great presentation and I hope to see you at WordCamp next year.

  6. Jennifer
    Aug 30, 2010

    Thanks Wade! Enjoyed talking to you as well. I was really psyched to meet you and some of the other folks behind my favorite hosting company. :)

  7. Seth Shoultes
    Aug 30, 2010

    Dang! I missed your presentation. I was answering questions at the genius bar.

    I heard you did really well, though. Congrats! Any idea if the video is online yet?

  8. Jennifer
    Aug 30, 2010

    Thanks! I have no idea when it will be online. You can be sure I’ll be posting about it when it is! LOL!

  9. daisy
    Aug 31, 2010

    Congrats. The hardest thing we’ve had to do at the college where I work is convince the faculty they don’t need laser pointers. We connect using videotechnology with a campus in another town so a laser point doesn’t show on the opposite site. They have to use “gasp” their mouse pointer. Which actually works better as it is bigger anyway. So you might try that next time you give a presentation.

  10. Jennifer
    Aug 31, 2010

    I just checked the preferences – there is an option to be able to use the mouse. It’s not on by default, though. But if anyone ever asks me to present again, now I’ll know! 😀 That is way better than a laser pointer.

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