When one enters a video conference, webinar, seminar, conference or whatever sort of gathering that involves a featured speaker and a group, we as an attendee typically feel a level of expectation amidst a myriad of other emotions. Sometimes nerves, sometimes excitement, sometimes hunger or exhaustion... but we pull it together and try to remember why we are there, right? It's an opportunity to soak in wisdom from someone who has been deemed valuable in your or the host's mind and is being presented as an authority in their field.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join a live webinar for a woman that has been impacting my life for a number of month's now, Brene Brown. I recently began her book, Dare To Lead, in audible format and it has tremendously complimented my journey of growth in vulnerability through this season of my life. I was thrilled to have gotten a spot in the webinar, made in into the virtual platform with no technical hiccups, and was on the edge of my seat as the meeting opened up.
I wanted to soak the entire program in, so my eyes wandered in a sponge-like manner about the screen until they were fixated unintentionally onto the chat box. My breath, or my heart, or some part of my body stopped as I was emotionally floored with disbelief as I began scrolling the comments literally flooding in:
Hundreds and thousands of comments included:
"That is not Brene!"
"Who's This Guy?"
"What's His Title?"
I even took note of one extra special comment that caught my attention from Heidi:
"Taking the dog out to potty while I wait."
What?! I honestly couldn't believe my eyes, thousands and thousands of attackers degrading the host, the first guest, and honestly just putting non-sense out onto a public chat forum as if it made no impact on anything. My heart broke for the mindset of these folks. I was baffled that so many would act in such a way during an opportunity that was meant to be a blessing from Salesforce (webinar host) by instilling wisdom into the lives of small business owners, decision makers, and influencers nationwide from such a highly regarded individual.
Initially, I wanted to combat the negativity, react to a situation far beyond acceptable, comment in SHOUT form that their behavior was absolutely unacceptable... but a part of me grieved. I grieved their loss of this opportunity to be fully present and take the nuggets of gold Brene and the team were delivering. I quickly re-adjusted my focus to a more productive portion of the chat, which were the more articulated Q&A section submissions. I grabbed my pencil and green papered 5x7 legal pad and dove into frantically noting every rich quote and formulated idea shared.
Four pages of rich knowledge and refreshing affirmations later, I gave thanks:
1) to have known the difference in who I wanted to be associated with,
2) how I needed to conduct myself,
3) and where I needed my attention to be facing.
Without knowing those three things, the four pages of notes could have never been filled in the way they were. These are not just one time webinar wisdom nuggets, these are life lessons that can be applied in many scenarios we find ourselves in. The battle between surviving and thriving, scarcity and generosity, to serve or be selfish, and success and victim mentality is real - online and in person. Be aware of where you stand, how you posture yourself, and what you give your energy to. It matters.
Shrivel or shine bright - your choice.
I know if Brene Brown ever read one of my comments, I wouldn't want her to see me disrespecting another presenter in written form, snarking about taking my dog potty in front of 30k strangers. My vote: make a positive, loving, genuine impact NO MATTER who is in your company. All people matter.