This was one of the greatest moments of my life – I met Brené Brown!! For those of you who don’t know her – she’s the greatest thing since sliced bread as far as I’m concerned! She’s a researcher from the University of Houston, best-selling author and my idol.
She was a keynote speaker at a coaching conference that I was attending and the truth is she was the only reason that I went.
It was just after 7am and she was walking across the ballroom by herself. No one had seen her yet and she was by herself. The conference organizers didn’t even know she was there.
I wanted to run up and hug her, but I managed to live 42 years without a restraining order being placed against me and I’d like to keep it that way.
I had all these thoughts running through my head – don’t bother her. She’s trying to prepare for her speech. You don’t want to be “that” person that walks up and annoys her. She’s a person and she doesn’t want to be bombarded.
Then I thought if I don’t walk up to her now, I’m going to miss my opportunity to tell the woman who has fundamentally changed my life how much her work means to me. Someone else will for sure walk up to her and I’ll miss my chance.
You know what – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Thank you Wayne Gretzky for those words of wisdom.
So I walked up to her and I said I was sorry for bothering her but I wanted to tell her that I love her work and I’m completely in love with her and she has changed my life. That’s when the tears started.
She was incredibly gracious and she walked towards me and patted me on the shoulder. Then she extended her hand and smiled sweetly and said, “Hi, I’m Brené.”
In my awestruck awkwardness, I looked at her (with tears still streaming down my face) and shook her hand and had the eloquent response of, “I know.”
A few seconds later I was able to introduce myself as well and repeat everything I had already said. As my friend said when I told her the story – I had one message. My opening and my closing were the same.
I thanked her for her time and went back to my seat, just as the crowd was descending upon her. Three other people were able to shake her hand before she was whisked away.
I had my moment with her. I was incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to tell her how much she means to me.
I started to wonder – what if I hadn’t had the courage to walk up to her? I would have regretted being 10 feet away from the woman who changed my life and not taken the opportunity to say hello.
Courage is about being willing to be vulnerable. I didn’t know I was being courageous at the time. I only knew that my desire to speak to her was greater than my fear.
So I faced my fear of looking foolish, put aside my concerns of what other people may think of me, and I walked up to my idol and shook her hand while I was crying.
Now that my friend is vulnerability at its finest.