Change Your Mind to Change Direction
 In General

perfectionism-procrastination3By the time I saw the call for pitches at B2B Camp this year, I had already booked another speaking engagement that weekend, so I decided to pass on the opportunity.

A few days later, since I had presented at the camp before, the organizer of this UnCamp format conference, Kevin O’Malley, sent an email requesting me to pitch a presentation, and so I decided to go ahead and do it.

In the uncamp format, not all of the proposed presentations get selected.  In the weeks before the conference, attendees vote the proposed presentations up or down, narrowing the selection to the top 12.

I pitched an hour session of quick website critiques, which I have done before and is a lot of fun.  A week later, I was checking on my votes; and, to my dismay, I saw someone had pitched the exact same presentation but with a sexier title, Your Baby is UglyRapid Fire Content Critiques.  And to be expected, Ugly Baby was passing me by.

I fumed that it wasn’t fair that this guy pitched the same workshop as mine. Then, I decided that it was okay, I really didn’t want to give up my Saturday anyway….etc etc….

Then I called bullshit on myself. I did want to go. The B2B Camp was a great group of people, and I had been looking forward to  getting out to do some networking with people who either owned, or could refer, small to mid-sized businesses that we enjoy working with.

I decided to reach out to Eric Martin, my B2B Camp interloper. I introduced myself, congratulated him on his title, and asked him if I could join his panel. Eric graciously agreed, and told me that someone had suggested that he call and ask me, but I beat him to it.

As it turned out, I had a great time and the panel was a hit.  And to think, I almost let my initial feeling 0f “that’s not fair, I was here first,”  get in the way of a very good experience, and a lot of great connections.

This reminded me of another time I had been feeling shitty about something, and turned the situation around, which ended up leading to amazing opportunities for me.

Six years ago, I went to my first WordPress Meetup, which was being held in a coffee shop across town. It was a small group with some real WordPress experience, but the location was too noisy to have a technical conversation.

I went again the next month, and the same thing happened. It was beyond frustrating having all that WordPress experience right there, but inaccessible due to the limitations of the setting. For a couple of months, I would see the WordPress Meetup email pop up and I would get all grumpy thinking how it was such a shame that I couldn’t hear anything. And I wouldn’t go. Then I had the thought that maybe Jack, the organizer, would like some help. I called him and asked if he would like a co-organizer and to move the Meetup to my loft.

He readily agreed, and attendance eventually grew to over fifty people each month. We actually started using a projector for presentations, and I could finally hear everything. We held the Atlanta WordPress Users Meetup Group at my loft for five years, and I’ve seen it grow to over 1,500 people, transforming it into an amazing community.

My involvement with hosting the Meetup group led to the WordPress foundation asking me and Russell Fair to co-organize WordCamp Atlanta. We have now put on WordCamp Atlanta for four years with a fantastic, all-volunteer committee who have been involved in our Meetup Groups.

One year Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress and CEO of Automattic, attended WordCamp Atlanta and came to my house afterwards to attend a party. Last year was especially rewarding when we sold out all 500 tickets to WordCamp Atlanta in just 48 hours.

Had I continued to grouse about how the Meetup wasn’t working for me and never asked to help, none of this would have been possible.

Have you ever found yourself feeling snitty and then turned it around? How did it work out for you?


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  • Leanne Fournier

    Hi Judy,
    This is amazingly well-timed. Just had some much-coveted work pulled back in-house by a large company. Really shitty when you’ve done your best work that’s been clearly acknowledged, yet power and politics prevail. You’ve given me the push I need to get over my “snit” and think about how I can turn this around. Thanks!

    • Judi Knight

      It is so easy to fall into the sour grapes but it is just not worth the energy and sometimes turning around has great consequences. I also had a big client who I was going to redo their website but their IT guy convinced the client to go with a custom CMS. And he is worried about price and timing. I wish him well but I am afraid of what he will find out about going in this direction.

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