Monday, March 14, 2011

Be Here...Or Don't Be Here, but Choose One

I am on a business trip right now, my first since my last trip with my former employer.

It's been 18 months since I last traveled for my job and in typical fashion, I caught a cold which turned into a sinus infection right before my trip. After landing yesterday evening my right ear never popped. I've heard people say how painful that is -- yep, they're right. It hurts. A lot.

And my ear didn't pop until about 2:30 a.m. Why do I know it was 2:30? Because I was awake for it, thank you very much.

Needless to say, I've been pretty miserable.

I was scheduled to speak today at this conference at 4:15 pm today. As I was going to bed last night I was checking out the schedule for today, looking at the content of the opening session, knowing that I really needed to be at registration by 7:20 am since I got in too late last night to pick up my badge, and that way I could hit the breakfast session at 7:30 am before the opening session, and so on and so forth.

And finally, in the middle of the night, I realized I didn't have to.

No one was going to miss me at the breakfast. No one was going to take me to task for not being at the opening session which, I heard, was amazing, but I refuse to feel guilty for missing it.

Because I am a human being. And there is only so far you can push your body before it says "ENOUGH!"

I knew that if I was going to be fully engaged for my speaking engagement, if I was going to be able to field questions and actually think, I was going to need to miss the breakfast and the opening session. I needed to give my body the extra rest that it needed to feel better, so that when I did finally attend the sessions I attended the sessions, and wasn't just there physically.

I made it to the last session of the morning which started at 11 am -- that was when my day began. I felt that our presentation in the afternoon went well. The audience was engaged, asked a lot of questions and it was a good discussion. We couldn't even make it through all the materials which was just fine with me, I was happy to have people in the audience interested in the topic.

And then I noticed the woman in the front row, whose eyes were half-closed as she pointed her face our way.

I resisted the temptation to call her out on it. I know, that would've been incredibly rude, but as I'd just decided myself, either you're engaged in what's going on around you, or you're not. And people can tell the difference. If you're not going to show up 100%, don't show up at all.

I'm glad I missed the morning sessions. It was the right decision.

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