A couple of months ago I was asked to speak about Google Plus (Google’s social networking platform) at a conference for Freelance Medial Writers. I was really flattered about the opportunity and last Saturday was the day.
I took the train even though the hotel is a mile away from the airport. I like to avoid the stress that comes with driving on I95. It seems I almost always learn something new and I now know that the cabbies at the airport won’t give up their spot in line to take someone to any of the nearby hotels. It also turns out that calling the hotel to arrange for a shuttle works better than running down the sidewalk trying to catch the one that passed right by.
I was both excited and nervous when I stood up to speak; I teach workshops on a regular basis, but it’s entirely different to stand in front of a room of people holding a microphone. It went well overall and people enjoyed learning about the platform and my experience with it.
By the end of the afternoon I was tired and anxious to get home. My plan was to catch the 5:15 train back to Yardley. I missed the first shuttle and the next one was late, which meant I had to take the 5:43 train into Center City and catch the 6:40 train home.
Because of the delays I ended up with a traveling companion, a woman who had attended the conference. She was headed to Trenton and I helped her maneuver the airport logistics and read the train schedule. I convinced her to get off at Market Street instead of 30th Street because it’s a much nicer train station and she’d still be able to catch the right train.
I was right about the first part, it is a nicer station. As for the second part, I knew that the Trenton Line has departures from the Market East Station because I took it once by accident. What I didn’t think about was that even though the trains leave from different platforms it was impossible for both of them to leave at the same time.
Thankfully my new friend turned out to be a plan B sort of person and chose to laugh about the situation and make the best of it. It’s funny how sometimes you meet a complete stranger and within minutes feel like you’ve known them for years.
I shared some of my recent artwork with her, and my Embrace Your Second Grade Art Girl, sparked a conversation about the importance of being kind to yourself. When we parted she left me with a hug and this thought, “Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.”
I woke up Monday morning feeling positive about the weekend and looking forward to the week. My first self-assigned task was to delete my extra profile on Google Plus so the next time I wrote or spoke about the platform, my presence would be “perfect.”
Long story short, I deleted my active profile instead of my abandoned/duplicate one. This may not seem like a big deal, but I was devastated. Google Plus has become an important part of how I share content I write for my business blog and it’s been an amazing place to network and generate opportunities.
I can’t repeat what I said, but there was nothing kind about how I described myself after I realized what I’d done. Words like stupid, idiot, and failure followed me around all day. “How could I,” “why didn’t I,” and “I should have,” started nearly every thought that went through my mind.
I spent the day doing as much damage control as possible and accepted the fact that I was going to have to start over and make the best of the bad circumstances. I couldn’t help but think about the irony of the situation. Less than 48 hours after speaking about Google Plus as an “expert,” I did the unthinkable and deleted my account. I see the humor in it now, but I can’t say I did that day.
As I often do when something happens, I took out my journal to write about it. I find writing cathartic and it helps me work through the emotions and move on. That night the negative self-talk continued until I thought back to my traveling companion’s parting words.
I stopped and asked myself, “is this how you would treat your best friend?”
The answer was clearly no. If my best friend had done the same thing, I would have given her a hug, let her cry, and reminded her that she is smart, beautiful, and lovable. I’d have taken her hand, helped her put things in perspective, and come up with a plan.
The phrase, “Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend,” replaced the negative self-talk. It should come as no surprise to me that when the negative thoughts were replaced with kind ones things didn’t seem nearly as bleak.
The real point of this post is this – we all make mistakes and they are recoverable. Remember to be kind to yourself and sometimes you need to be your own best friend.