Grateful for my tribe(s)

grateful-web-01-450x260One of my BelievingInMe tribe members recently sent me a copy of Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds with a note that said, ‘I BELIEVE that you will give a TED talk one day, so get ready.’

I received this book just days before I went to Melbourne last week for the 2nd International Healthcare and Social Media Summit presented by Mayo Clinic. It was a great Summit and I am proud to say that I was the program chair for the event. I’m feeling pretty relaxed and happy this weekend now that it’s finished. But as the program chair I didn’t have much time to read the book beforehand. I did however read the first chapter on the plane to Melbourne.

On the first page of the first chapter of the book, Larry Smith is quoted, “Passion is the thing that will help you create the highest expression of your talent.” I thought about that as I put the finishing touches on my presentation, scheduled for Wednesday.

The summit was great. We had a couple hundred people from around Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and Japan attend in person. But we had thousands more interact with us through social media. More than 7000 tweets were sent over the two days with our hashtag and people participated in the summit online from around the globe.

My presentation at the Summit was as part of a panel on education. I train a lot of healthcare professionals on social media techniques and strategy and although not a teacher by trade, I think it’s important for everyone to learn and teach these tools to others to improve healthcare. I also love the connections that I’ve made through social media in this space.

But on Wednesday morning, I wasn’t feeling the love. I actually felt slightly ill. I had put together a presentation from my heart and hoped to show the audience how passionate I am about the power of social media in healthcare. But I wasn’t sure if it would resonate. It was the first time I’d given a presentation like this on stage. In the past, I’d always had to take my employer’s views into account and they hadn’t always gelled with mine.

This was the first time I’d been able to talk from my heart about my passion for healthcare and social media and it scared me a little. But if I was to stay true to my life manifesto, then I knew it had to be authentic and real.

About forty minutes before my presentation started, one of my BelievingInMe tribe members rang me to wish me luck. I took the call out in the lobby and confessed to her how I felt.

She was the perfect person for me to talk to. She showed me empathy. But more importantly she reminded me that I am enough. That to even organise a Summit of this size and with this amount of success was amazing. That I didn’t need to prove anything to ANYONE on stage. That I didn’t need to be a force of nature. She told me to talk to the audience like I had talked to the participants at my first retreat — from the heart. She assured me it would resonate, but that even if it didn’t, that was ok. I was putting myself out there and trying. I was trying to change the conversation in healthcare. Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn’t. But at least I was trying.

I hung up the phone and realised I still had twenty minutes before I went on stage. I went up to my room and stood in my Wonder Woman power pose for 5 minutes, looking myself in the eye and reminding myself that I am enough. If you don’t know about power posing, go watch Amy Cuddy’s famous TED talk about it or read the book Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges. All will become clear. We talked a lot about power posing at the retreat in October and I have loved hearing the stories of my retreat participants who have used it successfully in their own lives.

I was grateful to be reminded in time for my presentation that I AM a Wonder Woman.

I entered the conference hall calm and collected. I donned my microphone and stepped on stage and loved it. I loved the interaction with the audience. I loved seeing them engaged. I loved that they loved what I had to say. And yes, it resonated with many of them. I knew they were part of my tribe too. Maybe not my BelievingInMe tribe, but my Healthcare and Social Media tribe.

I was reminded why I got involved in this tribe to begin with — to help affect change in the healthcare community. And the response I received re-energised me to be able to continue that work.

I feel grateful to be in the place I’m in at the moment. I am connected to two distinct tribes of people, but both share so many things. Words that came up in the tweets after my presentation were ‘passion’, ‘tribe’, ‘health’, ’empowerment’ and ‘energy’. These are some of the same words that I use when talking with my BelievingInMe tribe. So I can see that there is potential for cross over in my life.

And it hasn’t escaped my notice that two members of my BelievingInMe tribe were the ones who helped me in the days (or even minutes) before my presentation.

I don’t see the two parts of my life as distinct or separate anymore. I’m not exactly sure how I will be able to merge the two, but I’m sure it will become clear if I stay open and willing to see the signs and continue to commit to an authentic, wholehearted life.

I now have a few weeks of downtime to try to figure out what comes next. No surprises that I’m heading to my happy place at the beach next weekend to rest and relax and think things through. I have BelievingInMe retreats to organise for next year, another social media summit to organise and a wholehearted life journey to continue.

So if you want to talk to me, I’ll be the one on the beach standing in Wonder Woman pose feeling grateful.

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