Awkward moments at BlogWorld 2011 #BWELA

Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Day to Day | 4 comments


Peter Shankman & SimplyD

Peter Shankman is a constant source of inspiration in my life. I had the pleasure of meeting him earlier this year when he was in town for a symposium. It hadn’t been announced when I registered for BlogWorld, but he was the keynote speaker on opening day – it was the best added bonus I could have received. As expected, he rocked the house and his name was always mentioned if we were discussing who our favorite speakers were. Another attendee, Tom Treanor gives a great recap.

After his keynote, he was gracious enough to stick around and answer questions or take pictures with us. I stopped by to say hello and do the picture thing. At the time, I was at the end of the line so there was no behind me to ask to take the picture. I spotted a woman off to the side and asked if she would mind taking it – she agreed and I handed her my Droid-X  in camera mode and showed her the button to push. I walked over, stood by Peter and waited…and watched… and waited some more as she was figuring it out. I realized the camera mode was going to shut off at any second – which it did. I ran over to turn it back on, set it up again and once more stood by Peter. And waited for several agonizingly long seconds… More discomfort. Same problem, more explanation, and then relief as the picture snapped. I thanked Peter and walked away. The woman and I looked at the camera and my heart sank – no picture. I was ready to leave, “its okay” I told her, and I meant it.

I’m tenacious, but on this occasion, she won the war on tenacity. She wanted to learn how to take the picture on the Droid and was adamant that we were going to get me that picture with Peter. My level of discomfort was in the red zone – blown head gasket level. Since there was now a line, I managed to convince her to let those people go through before we tried again. Thankfully Peter knew her, or at least knew her first name, so he was very patient even though he suggested at one point that someone else take the picture. Discomfort overload…

Finally – Click. Success, a picture with Peter! I walked over to the woman that helped me; she wanted to make sure we got the picture that time. Then, I saw the picture – discomfort followed by disappointment. When I first saw the picture this was the conversation in my head:

“OMG, I look like a freakin dork. How is it that I barely weigh one hundred and ten freakin pounds and I still have this huge-ass Charlie Brown face? I look like something Charles Schulz created. Crap.” Once I looked at the reality of the situation, the conversation in my head went like this: “First of all, get over yourself, no one is going to look at you, Peter is in the picture! Besides, who cares what they think. There are so many people who would love the opportunity to be at BlogWorld and meet Peter and all you can do is complain? Shut up and enjoy the moment.”

A perfect stranger was willing to stay with me and help me get a picture with the person I have adopted as my virtual mentor (unbeknownst to him). They were both patient and gracious enough to make it happen. I thought back to two lessons I’ve learned from Peter – one was in a post he wrote about reality vs. perceived reality. “Perhaps I need to remember that I’m the only one who sees my perceived reality, and not get so worked up about it.” The other was one of the many lessons in his keynote “Nothing good ever comes from staying in your comfort zone”. I’ve lived more of my life out of my comfort zone than in, and he’s right, it’s something I preach and practice – nothing good comes from being comfortable or complacent. I have a life I love – and my picture with Peter. Neither of them came easy, but the discomfort was worth it a million times over. Charlie Brown head and all.

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  1. D – that’s a great story! I know the feeling you had about being uncomfortable getting that shot, especially when things started going wrong. I’ve been at many conferences with flip camera or camera in hand and just deciding not to bug the speaker and just walking away. It takes courage to make that happen!

    Well, this time I captured the event and took some shots (which Peter seemed pretty happy with). No picture of me though.. still enough introvert left in me.

    Thanks for the mention in your post as well and take care!

  2. Thanks Tom, I debated on writing it but I had a feeling a lot of people would be able to relate.

    I debated on whether I was even going to ask for the picture so by the time I was in the middle of my awkward moment I just wanted to disappear. That picture will forever be a reminder that we can survive being uncomfortable..

    Thanks for stopping by – next time, get the picture with the speaker. If I’m there I’ll take it!


  3. I thought you looked great. 🙂

  4. Thanks Peter, You just gave me a years worth of smiles. The moment was a good reminder to just enjoy life and to quickly turn our negative mind chatter into something productive. 😉