So there I was at a conference. I’d just presented the opening keynote and was feeling extremely self-important and successful. The feeling didn’t last.
I can say with certainty that that is precisely how I felt because I don’t get that feeling terribly often and hence it’s memorable.
When you bounce around on stage, you really can kid yourself that you’re a total legend. People smile, they laugh, they applaud and if you’re really lucky you get paid too. It’s a win-win-win-win. Win.
And as you sashay away from the auditorium to what people assume will be a stretched limo waiting outside, it’s only you who knows you have to find the nearest bus stop and that what’s really filling your genius mind is whether you put the bins out before leaving home.
Anyway I digress. Back to the conference in question.
At the coffee break immediately following my session and while signing autographs (ok, scribbling pithy notes in a handful of my books) a young man pushed through and asked if he could interview me for his podcast.
“Of course. When?” I responded, assuming a team of virtual assistants would fire into action heralding the familiar ‘he’s busier and less available than you’ online diary nonsense.
But no, I got that wrong. I’d overlooked the fact that increasingly everything is a rush and every moment worth living is worth capturing and sharing.
Sure enough ten minutes later I was crouched in a quietish stairwell with a man I didn’t know thrusting a microphone in my face and asking some very unusual questions.
Yes, I’d made a classic ego-led mistake. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
In my eagerness to grab an opportunity, in my haste to ride the insatiable ‘hustle wave’ I hadn’t paused to ask anything about the podcast and knew nothing about the style or professionalism of the interviewer.
Frankly what transpired was a diabolical experience and I have only myself to blame. Oh, and writing about it is doing nothing to help by the way.
I was flustered (my airport bus leaving in less than 30 minutes), totally unprepared, and as the stupidity of my actions began to sink in, irritable and annoyed. What a great state to be in for a rewarding and fulfilling interview!
I was surely channelling Madonna on Graham Norton’s couch.
Add to this some technical glitches and signs aplenty that my podcast host was less than on the ball himself and it was obvious things were freefalling from bad to worse.
And yet I kept going and didn’t pull the plug. I know, right.
After 20 minutes of complete gibberish I fled, feeling distinctly unimportant, unsuccessful and very ruffled.
And that should be the end of this sorry tale. But in this day and age I fear it isn’t.
It’s highly probable that podcast will be online f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I can almost guarantee it will rank supremely well on Google and the chances are, if I ever have grandchildren it’ll be the first thing they come across.
‘Due diligence’ is essential when we say ‘yes’ to anything. We simply must pause, if only long enough to duck into the bathroom and have a good solid, think. I wish I had.
Through this experience I’ve learned a lesson that I already knew and for that I’m begrudgingly thankful.
And happily, I had put the bins out.