Ok, things are going swimmingly for the upcoming D.C. trip and stay! Professional to-dos that are done:
Listened to the first 15 minutes of the talk I'll be giving three or four times.
Transcribed the talk and burned a CD that I can play in the car as I'm running errands and driving to D.C.
Ran through the talk that I have so far for an hour today.
Left a message for the rest of the information I need to be fully prepared.
Once I started rehearsing the talk, I got so unbelievably psyched--I so miss this type of work, and I can't wait to get in front of people with it again! I'm positively dancing around the room, and I'm really eager to learn the rest of the talk!
Personal to-dos that are done:
The cat has a new carrier, has seen the vet for his fix of kitty valium, and has been riding with me in the car without freaking out.
My eyes have been checked, and a fresh supply of temporary contacts has been ordered.
My new arthritis medication has been ordered and will be shipped directly to the new corporate apartment.
I went to the orthopedist and got the scoop on what can eventually be done to solve some of the arthritic issues in my feet and hands. I was very happy to find out that there are some night splints and some custom pieces that will relieve the pain and swelling right away, and they are currently being made and will be shipped to the D.C. place. Yay! And I'm sharing this with you all as a written personal goal: I will find financing and time to have the surgery on my feet by September.
Got my car all checked out, tuned up and cleaned, just to be safe.
Arranged to have my mail forwarded. Did you know you can do that online?
Cleaned out my closet to send clothes to the tsunami victims.
It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, I tend not to like to complain or whine in this journal, but one of the things that I've always hated about success stories is that they never seem to give a really good feel for the frustrations and misadventures the protagonists had along the way. So there are a few things I thought it might be helpful for you to know. So many times I hear from people, "Oh, she's young, healthy and pretty; of course it's easy for her!"
HEALTHY?? This makes me laugh! See, I've suffered from a debilitating and chronic disease for over 20 years: rheumatoid arthritis that first appeared at age 14. And the great thing about getting a chronic disease at 14 is that 14-year-olds have absolutely no concept of what "the rest of your life" means. So I coped. I adapted. I found ways to do the things I wanted to do and didn't think much of it. In fact, there's a reason that most of you probably weren't even aware that I had this disease--I almost never mention it because it's so seamlessly integrated into my life. I've always waved off inquiries about my health because it was always so under control that it didn't even merit conversation. I take water aerobics to build strength so that I can do the activities I enjoy, like salsa dancing or standing all day at a trade show.
But that all changed this month when my primary medication stopped being made. (No, not Vioxx; it's another injectable medication). And the transition has not been a kind one. I was without medication for several weeks, and even now, the new medication hasn't started working yet. So I've been having to deal with limited functionality--about six hours a day, and not starting until around 2:00 in the afternoon. And yes, "limited functionality" does refer to simple tasks, like washing my hair, typing a sentence, walking down stairs or tying my shoes.
Have I been frustrated? Hell, yes! Do I want the new medication to start working as soon as possible? Damn straight I do. But this is where being an adult comes in handy. See, this is where perspective comes in. For one thing, the rest of my life is fabulous. I sent out Christmas cards, newsletter and gifts to friends, family and clients alike, and I'm damn proud of some of the great ideas I came up with, too! My friends have rallied around me to lend a hand with grocery shopping and other chores I haven't been able to manage, and they've offered sympathy and brought ginger ale when I got sick on top of all that, too. If you ever doubt your friends or family, just watch how they come to your aid when you really need it. And my new condo is wonderful, and I'm very excited about spending the next three months in Washingon, D.C.! It's bringing me new challenges, and I still get to go to shows for my clients, too! So really, except for my health, my life is absolutely fantastic.
See? Perspective. I know the health will change, too; the medicine will eventually work, my body will respond accordingly and my regular, active lifestlye will return. And I'll be stronger for it.
So, all that being said, here's my checklist for D.C.:
X find housesitter
Give housesitter keys and instructions
X Take cat to vet for shots and Valium (he doesn't travel well)
X Make packing list
Take care in for tune-up
X Start prepping the sales talk
X Check into mail forwarding
Have mail forwarded
Work on sales talk one hour a day
Find a pet-friendly hotel about six hours into the drive
Mapquest out the trip
X Locate rheumatologist in D.C.
Talk to E about setting up calendar and calling appointments
X Contact friends in D.C.
X Ask for introductions in D.C.
X Get suits dry-cleaned
So it's all progressing nicely, isn't it? Preparations for D.C. are just like dealing with these horrible arthritis attacks + flu: it's all about eating an elephant: one bite at a time.
It looks like this D.C. thing is really going to happen, and I'm scared! Well, as little Red Riding Hood said in Into the Woods, "Well, excited and scared"! Three months in another city sounds scary to me, even if it's a cool place like D.C. I know I'll miss my friends horribly, but who could turn down an opportunity like this? The seminar I'll be selling sounds really great--just what I would say in a seminar, only better. And the potential for helping people is high--I'd be in front of a lot of salespeople who could really use both a skills and motivational boost. So I'm really excited!
But still... yikes; I've a lot to do! So I'm off to make some phone calls to get this worked out. Wish me luck!
Well, my work year is through. No tradeshows in December, so now I'm free to work on planning next weekend's housewarming party and FINALLY clean my new condo. Oh, and of course add those finishing touches that are my hobby--new lighting, new photo design, new drapes, etc.
However, I got an interesting call last Friday. Rick Baker, with whom I used to work at the now-defunct New Altitude Network, called to let me know that his new speaking client wanted to open a new market, either in Chicago or in D.C., and would I be interested in doing the presentations?
The question evoked some interesting responses in me. Here's the backstory: New Altitude Network was a company I worked for about three years ago. They brought in nationally-known speakers to the area, and I sold membership to a year's worth of professional seminars. It was the best job I ever had. I believed strongly in the company, and I went to the seminars myself, with stellar results. I learned a lot, worked with great people, and loved every minute of my job.
But then... the recession hit. Salespeople stopped investing money in their professional development and decided "just to wait" or "just to do what I've been doing." I went to meeting after meeting, and instead of selling out the room, I'd sell a membership or two. And the company was new, without enough capital resources to wait out the recession. So it went under, but quick. And I was left with a lot of angry customers who called me a lot of unpleasant names and even left threatening messages on my home answering machine.
And yet, I still describe it as one of the most wonderful and educational experiences of my life. I learned a lot, both from the seminars and the sales experience. And the angry phone calls from furious customers who felt they'd been cheated really helped me to learn how to deal with conflict in a compassionate and non-defensive way.
And, after working for that company, I simply couldn't go back to working a normal job, even one that was in sales or training. So that was what inspired me to sit down and figure out what I loved about the job and try to replicate it--and that's when I started Heidi Miller Presentations, which is now the flourishing trade show speaking business you know today. :-)
All that being said, Rick's invitation brought a variety of emotional responses. First, I was scared. Selling in Chicago again? To the same groups that had lost their money before? I'm not sure I want to go through the ugly confrontations that situation would undoubtedly engender. So what about D.C.? Well, if I could still fly out for my trade show clients and accept additional clients for those months as needed, that could still work. And I do love D.C. and have a dear high school friend there.
But... there is a part of me that is wondering if I would love it as much as I did before. Have I moved on so that I don't need this anymore? Would I even be as good as I used to be? Would it wear me out, or would it energize me? And can I really even take three whole months away from my life in Chicago, from my new condo, from my cat, and all that?
And the most important question: do I want to?
Hmm. Ah, so the next step is to find out more about the speaker I'd be promoting. If he has a great message, then the decision might be easier.