GThis week, along with Lucas and Justin, I will be speaking at the ACEs Conference in Austin, Texas. I've spoken a few times before, but if this event is similar in size to last year's event then it will be the largest group of people I've ever encountered. 

I've known for months that I'd be speaking at this conference. As such, I wanted to be responsible with my time because often when we have deadlines that are months away we procrastinate. It's simple nature to think, yes, preparing for this conference in important, but currently I have four other, more urgent things with which I need to deal. Early on, I decided I had to do something that would do more than help me prepare. So I started a vlog. This has been entirely separate from my work with Foojee and I have had no idea what I'm doing. 

I started my vlog back in January with a few specific goals. 

  1. Get comfortable in front of a camera/audience
  2. Become more confident in front of a camera/audience
  3. Become a better story teller and communicator
  4. Create quality content that's interesting to someone besides myself

I initially started doing one vlog a day, but if I'm honest, it was exhausting. It was mentally taxing to have to figure out something to say every day, shoot it, edit it, and upload it. That's just a lot of work for one day. So I started doing them less frequently until I discovered that my sweet spot is one video a week. It gives me plenty of time to shoot extra footage if I need it and to plan and prepare for the following week's video.

All that to say, these vlogs have helped me prepare for our session at the ACEs conference. My comfort and confidence speaking in front of a camera/audience have risen with every video I've made. I wrote the rough draft of my part of the talk months ago and started recording it on camera in an effort to begin the process of critiquing and improving. 

I've practiced my part at least a dozen times and for the first time in my life, I've seen the value of not procrastinating. Now, that's mostly a joke because I don't often procrastinate at work, but I have learned a few things from this experience. 

  1. Investing in preparation not only makes you feel better leading up to the event, but it actually helps you look forward to the event. Instead of butterflies in your stomach or shaky knees, you feel excited and full of anticipation that you're going to knock this out of the park.
  2. Growth comes from disruption. If I hadn't been chosen to speak at this conference, my life would have remained undisturbed and comfortable. Because of the disruption of being a speaker, I've been forced to grow well outside my comfort zone by starting a vlog and regularly practicing my talk in front of a camera and friends as practice. None of those are comfortable things to do, but they have helped me grow.
  3. Anxiety comes from unmet expectations. However, when you prepare adequately and set yourself up for success, you're able to meet all of the expectations set upon you and resolve most of your anxiety.

We're thrilled to have the opportunity to  share some of what we've learned with other Apple consultants from around the country and to learn from the other speakers at the conference. If you're going to be in Austin this week, be sure to find us and say hi!

Have a great week!