I’m the opening keynote speaker at Blog Indiana this year. Man, is that ever a weird sentence to type. But it’s true. No matter how many times I go back to that page, expecting them to realize this was all a misunderstanding and Doug Karr or Muhammad Yasin or one of my other marketing idols will be delivering the address instead, it’s still my picture at the top. After all, I always hoped I’d get to lead a session, but the freaking keynote? Please excuse me while I hyperventilate under the table.

Trust me, this is no “aw, shucks” deprecation. To have such a big platform at such an important conference is one of the most important moments in my young career. I wonder how I can teach the audience, which will be filled with people I learn from every single day, anything at all. But every time I express my fears to one of those same colleagues, they look at me with crazy eyes and say “What are you talking about? You know this. You’re ready for this.”

After enough people told me this, I finally started to realize the problem wasn’t with anyone else thinking I was too young or inexperienced for this; it was all in my head. It has to do with not believing that I deserve a seat at the table. It’s something I see all the time with our small business clients, and it’s something I work hard to drill into their heads: you matter. You deserve respect. You deserve to be taken seriously.

No matter how small you are, you matter. No matter how new your business is, you have knowledge and expertise to share. There are people you can help and people who can benefit from what you know. That’s why you’re in business, isn’t it? Get out of your own way and be awesome, I tell these clients. And when they listen? That’s when great things happen.

So I’m going to do my best to take my own advice and acknowledge that maybe there’s a thing or two I can teach people. I hope so. If I can just realize that I deserve to be at that table, I think we’re all going to have a great time come August.

About Blog Indiana – While many of the attendees for this annual event attracts participants form the Indianapolis Marketing  / social media community, we expect there will be strong representation from around the state.  Want to join us? Register for Blog Indiana before early bird pricing expires. Hope to see you there.