No Greater Agony

From the brilliant Maya Angelou:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.

The title and topic of my keynote talk today @ BDConf | Orlando is this: On Failure. The real description didn’t make it on the website, which is somewhat frustrating but not for the reasons that you might imagine.

I wasn’t even sure I was going to give that particular talk today until I literally walked on stage. The description on the website, which reads:

Working within the Mobile Universe: John will spin us a tale of his adventures as an entrepreneur; his experience launching, living, and running a project within the mobile universe.

See what I mean? This somewhat vague title and description could have easily allowed me to pretty much talk about anything I wanted to; I certainly have a number of presentation decks that I could have swapped in and that were easily at the ready.

The real description was this:

On Failure: A potentially awkward but definitely candid retrospective on the life of a mobile product and the cost of doing business.

I sent it late so it’s not their fault they couldn’t get the site updated – totally my bad. But the tension, the frustration that I had was that I wasn’t “locked in” to do a specific topic and the deliberation took a serious toll on my body and mind.

But as I read my closing slide, which shares Maya Angelou’s thoughts about “untold stories” I realized that it would have been agony to share anything other than the one that I had mentally committed to. My heart was just lagging a bit behind.

My encouragement to those in attendance was quite simple: Tell your story. Don’t let it sit and fester. Let it out. Give it life. Release yourself from the pain that is the endurance of being the lonely steward. It is not yours to keep.

In this way you’ll have the opportunity to, quite literally, move mountains for others. You may even move a few of your own as well.