As you are probably aware, yesterday I gave my Roll Models talk, “Confessions of a Homecare Client: The Complexities of Trust in the Caregiver-Client Relationship,” at an event for the Kansas City Regional Home Care Association (KCRHCA). This was my second talk for the KCRHCA, and it was to an audience of nurses and CNAs who either already work in homecare or soon will. The talk itself went very well, and they were a fun, energetic group that interacted with me and had a good energy. They seemed to respond to my stories, and several individuals thanked me afterwards and said they had learned a lot, so I think my message got through. I even got a good result from the new material I was telling for the first time, which is always a great feeling. At a minimum, I am confident that I improved the life of at least one member of my audience, and that is the important thing. In addition to furthering my mission of helping people with my stories, I also got a new, enlightening experience and learned some valuable lessons from today’s talk. Prior to this afternoon, every Roll Models talk I have given has gone exactly as planned. Everything from getting to the venue on time, to being loud enough, to making sure I don’t run out of time, up until today had all been executed perfectly…up until today.
I woke up on time after a decent night’s sleep and felt good. I did my morning, pre-talk meditation, and then started getting dressed and such. Nothing really went wrong at this point, but my nurse and I were just not in sync, and we ended up running about 15 minutes behind schedule by the time I got in my wheelchair. This was alright though, because I always build in an extra half hour into my routine just in case something happens. I figure worst case scenario, I get 30 minutes to relax before heading out the door, and I have the peace of mind that if something does go awry, I won’t be late. I ate breakfast and warmed up my voice, and then it was time to leave. It was raining, so I needed to put on my rain gear to keep me dry and protect my wheelchair, so my nurse went to grab it. When she got to where I thought I had put it, it was nowhere to be found. We spent about 10 minutes searching all over (thank goodness my apartment is not that big) before we eventually found it, and we could finally get out the door. Now, when you are in a power wheelchair, any kind of precipitation makes things take much longer if you have any hope of staying somewhat dry. I had already burned through my built in extra time, so I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t make it to my talk on schedule, especially with noon traffic and the rain. I didn’t panic though, realizing that it would negatively effect my talk and wouldn’t get me there any faster, and we got on the road and made it to the building at 12:36pm. Since I didn’t go on until 12:45pm, I was rushed, but I thought I was fine.
I get inside the main lobby of this building, which it turns out is a massive research hospital, and I don’t see any signs pointing me where to go, nor anyone to ask. Somehow, after 10 minutes of wandering around this labyrinth, we manage to stumble upon the correct room. It is now 12:48pm, and I was supposed to go on at 12:45pm. I shake the event organizer’s hand, take off my poncho, and the next thing I know I’m hearing her introduce me to speak. So, without even taking 2 minutes to compose my thoughts, I put on a smile and get on stage. Thankfully, I had given a similar version of this talk recently, so I had that experience to help me get going, but I won’t lie, I was a little frazzled for the first 5 minutes or so. After that I hit my stride, and the rest of the talk went smoothly.
Even though it was a tad stressful, I am actually kind of glad that I got the experience of giving a talk where everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. I know that it is easy to feel this way since the talk went so well, but regardless of the outcome, I needed this exposure. Now I know that even when I’m running late, have to rush on stage, and don’t get to put all of my ducks in a row before speaking, that I can still deliver a quality Roll Models talk. I know that I can trust my instincts, and the hours and hours of preparation I have put in, to help get me going and carry me through until I get in the groove with my talk. Also, I know now that when these stressful scenarios do occur, and I am sure that as I continue to speak that they will, that I have the tools and techniques to overcome them (see the things I write about actually do work). It’s nice to have this piece of mind, and it will help me keep my composure during those talks that throw me a curveball.
This is a lesson that can be applied to nearly every aspect of your life. As you encounter difficult or trying situations, whether they conclude successfully or not, they do have valuable information for you to learn from. As you build up your repository of life experiences and grow as a person, you will learn from your past hardships and be better equipped to handle similar situations in the future. You will eventually develop so much experience that things that you used to see as major obstacles, now are not such a big deal. Always take the time to reflect upon your mistakes and the adversity you have faced, so that you don’t miss out on the priceless information they can teach you. This will ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes again, and it will give you valuable knowledge that you can apply to similar events in the future.