I quickly learned that only the early get seats at Social Media Marketing World, and the rest line the walls until the fire marshal gets nervous. So, I sat in my seat on the left side of the aisle seven minutes before Park Howell was set to take the stage and show us how to tell better stories.
I was typing out a story of own on my phone when a woman put her bags down and sat in the chair in front of me. Before I could finish and hit send, she had turned to face me and introduce herself.
She started with her name and followed up with where she worked and what she did there. Then came the talk of all the awards they had won recently.
About three minutes in, she asked my name and what I do for a living. I dug for a business card.
I’m Marketta and I work for a non-profit that serves people with developmental disabilities. We’re also expanding into child care and home health care, particularly for those who are older.
“I’m the caretaker for my mother,” she said.
That’s important work, I replied.
And with the word work, she was back to talking about hers. When the seats filled in to my right, she started the process again.
It made me, an introvert, feel exhausted on her behalf. I took the woman’s business card and dropped it in my bag, and I turned my attention to the speaker who told us we can’t be the hero of our company’s story. The hero has to be the customer, the one we serve.
The One we serve.
When I cast myself in the starring role, I leave no room for the hero to remind me that I’m already valuable. I’m already heard. I’m already loved by the One who created it all, who says to come to Him to find rest and peace.
Instead I find myself working hard to peddle the idea that I’m worthy. I want my product, my image, my suggestions, to be chosen. I forget the hero, the savior, says I already belong.
Turns out striving, pushing and selling aren’t just terms for marketers and people networking. They’re terms for me when I get the story wrong and carry the weight and the responsibility of the hero – a role I was never meant to play.