This Saturday morning, I’m scheduled to give a presentation at Design Drip, a monthly gathering of creative types at The Beat inside Emergency Arts in downtown Las Vegas. While I appreciate being invited to speak at events — or classrooms, or conventions, or whatever — I’m actually terribly uncomfortable doing so, or at least in my own head.
I know that’s kind of surprising, given how much I put myself out there in public, how chatty my friends know I can get, and how long I’ve been doing live performance. And I’m sure I do fine once I’m up there, because I seem to have maintained a career requiring leading meetings and appearing competent. But at least in the preparation for such things, I get really worked up over the details and probably over-think things.
Take, for example, my “DJ set” a few nights ago at Artifice Bar’s weekly “So You Think You Can DJ” competition. Despite the fact that I’d be in one of my favorite places, “competing” against friends, and surrounded by people who I knew and mostly loved, I was terribly anxious about putting my musical selection (defined by the evening’s theme, “songs to get down and dirty to”) out there for public consideration/ridicule. Of course, those hours and days spent agonizing over and re-working my half hour of shagging music really didn’t matter by the time I plugged in my laptop at the DJ booth — everything went swimmingly, I did not get booed off, and people even danced/made out to my set. But in my head, up until that moment (and a drink or two), I was surely destined to fail.
The combination of being a little obsessive about excelling at everything I do, dwelling too much on public perception of me, and always having a “little kid” complex about my own self-perception (seriously, I am 35 years old and always feel like the teenage runt in the room) would be a potent danger to my entire success as a functioning adult, except that all of it is underpinned by an inflated sense of self that ultimately trumps everything and brings to you the overconfident buffoon you normally see dropping his pants at local bars for everyone’s enjoyment and amusement.
Hmm. All that said, you should probably come to this Design Drip thing Saturday morning. I mean, not only will you get to see me either succeed or fail in talking about whatever nonsense to which I finally boil down my presentation (right now, it’s a long ramble about how awesome I am, of course), but you can also network with, learn from, and bounce ideas off some really cool, innovative people.