In my last post, I talked about speaking at EconoMe in Cincinnati. Today, I’ll tell you a little bit more about the weekend.
I always enjoy visits to the Midwest. I grew up in Chicagoland, so going back to the middle of the United States always feels like I’m returning home. But, I had never been to Cincinnati, so this was a new adventure.
Cincinnati, EconoMe, and Skyline Chili
I got into Cincinnati on Thursday evening. I get bored after about 5 minutes in a hotel room, so I walked across the street to the University of Cincinnati.
I was feeling a little queasy about my upcoming talk. Seeing the venue that I’m performing at helps ease the anxiety, so I walked over to investigate.
The doors were locked, but I peeked in the windows. It was a big room. Scary! What had I signed on for?!??
The next morning, I took a walk down to the river.
Cincinnati is a city in transition. Some parts of the city are beautiful. Other parts are still waiting for someone to restore them to their former glory.
I really enjoyed the vibe of the city.
The riverfront is beautiful.
On the walk back, I was feeling a little anxious again, so I rehearsed my talk in my head. It was at that time that I realized I had the entire thing memorized. This felt good.
Terror (Where Are My Speaker Notes?!??)
At 12:30, it was time to rehearse my talk. When giving talks, the speaker has a monitor in front of the stage that only they can see. In every talk I’ve ever given, the monitor displays speaker notes from the slide deck. When I looked at this monitor, it was simply a mirror of the big screen the audience sees. So, this happened:
- Me: Can I get my speaker notes on the monitor?
- Diania (conference organizer): We’re not doing that. You’ll just see a mirror of what the audience sees.
- Me: (freaking out quietly): Shit! Shit!! Shit!!! SHIT!!!
It was at this time that I nearly had a panic attack. I was depending on the notes to trigger what I was going to say and make sure I didn’t forget anything. While I had the talk memorized, I wanted the notes as a crutch on the big stage.
I rehearsed the talk many more times…
Skyline And Stackers
Skyline Chili is a divisive food. I find that the locals love it. Visitors to Cincinnati hate it. I had to try it.
Skyline Chili does not taste like the chili you may be accustomed to. It seemed to have cinnamon and maybe nutmeg. If you eat it expecting it to taste like chili from Texas, you’re going to be weirded out. Knowing that it was different, I went in with no expectations and enjoyed it. I’d go back.
Friday night finished with the crew from Stacking Benjamins putting on a hilarious show. If you ever have a chance to see Stacking Benjamins on tour, do it.
The big day had arrived. Diania opened the conference followed by Bitches Get Riches.
The rest of the day was a blur. It was difficult to enjoy the other speakers knowing my talk was coming up.
I was scheduled to go on after Paula Pant. Paula is a great speaker and knowing I’d have to follow her freaked me out a bit. I also found myself rewriting parts of my talk in my head 5 minutes before I had to go on stage. What could possibly go wrong?
I was mostly confident in my material, but that little voice in the back of your head is difficult to quiet:
What if you screw this up?
I was happy with my talk. No matter how much I prepare, I usually forget something. This time, I didn’t leave anything on the table. Phew! I could now calmly enjoy the rest of the weekend.
One thought I had going into this was:
If I do a good job with my talk at EconoMe, maybe I should quit public speaking? Go out on a high note.
I’m still undecided. These things take a lot of time and energy. I rehearsed this talk (always me just talking to myself) 100s of times. Hours and hours of preparation for 25 minutes on stage.
Sunday morning, we went on an urban hike. It was fun to learn a little bit more about Cincinnati.
In the afternoon, I went back to the conference venue. I sat down in the back of the room and considered the weekend.
For much of my life, I lacked confidence and felt uneasy around others. Some call this introversion. I probably am an introvert, but I think the discomfort was more a manifestation of me not being right with myself. Insecurity can take you to bad places. A people-pleaser personality ends up pleasing no one.
But, then I took myself out of my comfort zone and tried public speaking. I noticed every time I gave a talk, I felt a little better about myself. Less insecure. More confident. I began to notice how conversations with other humans were energizing instead of terrifying.
After this weekend at EconoMe, I’m in a good place. I feel at peace with myself.
Cincinnati was good.
Thank you for listening.
More 1500 Days!!!
You can also find me (and the dinosaurs) at:
Mile High FI podcast:
- EconoMe: Hey look, I’m speaking at EconoMe later this year!
- Facebook: Facebook group and page
- YouTube: My channel is mostly devoted to home improvement, but I have some other material coming up soon too.
- Instagram: Pretty pictures of dinosaurs, sunsets, and nail guns!
- Twitter: Spontaneous, often insane, ramblings
- Coworking space: On the surface, MMM HQ is a coworking space. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that we’re really building community. The members of MMM HQ are some of the finest people I know.
Other resources I like:
- Camp FIs are amazingly fun! I hope to attend Rocky Mountain and Joshua Tree this year. See you there?
- Need to learn how to invest? The Simple Path to Wealth is all you need.
- New to FIRE? Need some FIREy guidance? Check out Fiology and the accompanying workbook!
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