Do you ever have those moments where you realize how wrong you were to agree to something only when you try to do it? If so, you too may be someone who has difficulty saying no. This Labor Day weekend provided a very real example.
In Atlanta Labor Day weekend is marked by Dragoncon. If you have never been to Dragoncon just let me say it attracts 80,000 people and most of them are in various states of costume or total undress. It is a sensory overload that is almost impossible to explain. It was the height of Dragoncon where I found myself on Friday. Me, a daily meditator and introvert, was going to be speaking on a panel about water. I started realizing early on, almost right after I said yes that I don’t belong at Dragoncon. Friday night as my husband and I squeezed through crowds and chaos toward the booth our water industry group had put up, I was as close as I have ever been to a panic attack. I really just felt like I wanted out.
I did not run out of Dragoncon. In fact that would be impossible given the crowds and constant pop up activities. I spoke on the panel. I know it was not my best effort. I speak at a lot of events so I am aware when I am on and when I am not. To be fair when all you can think is get me out of here, it is hard to be a stirring speaker. As it turns out all of that stress was for nothing. I did not even really add anything to the work of my colleagues or the listeners.
Once safely back in the car with my husband, I immediately vowed to never participate in this again. I found myself asking out loud “why did I ever agree to this?” I am still not sure. I am not people pleaser, I am fairly comfortable with who I am. So I don’t think it was any of that. I do take a lot of pride in my career and particularly my ability to give voice to a profession that is often overlooked and often silent. If I am being perfectly and embarrassingly honest, it was probably to feed my ego. Ironic that it turned out making me feel anything but accomplished. I have to start asking myself more questions before saying yes.
The rest of my weekend was much more true to who I am. We went to the Decatur Book Festival, exercised, spent quiet time with our cats, and time reading. I am getting better at recognizing what is really important and valuable. I just wish I could do it before I say yes. Oh well I hope you had a good weekend.