And this is where YOU come into the story…

If you come to this blog on a regular basis, you know that I went to TequilaCon in Philadelphia last weekend. And by now, if you have any interest in blogger drunkenness, you’ve no doubt read recap after recap all over the Internet.

I want to tell you about what you won’t see in the pictures.

I want to tell you what TequilaCon has to do with you.

I’ve been thinking about this since the plan ride home. Sitting in my business class seat beside Avitable, watching him fall asleep sitting upright with his sunglasses on, I couldn’t keep the grin of my face. I found I was absolutely overflowing… with pride.

What Adam didn’t tell you on his blog is that he hates to fly. In fact, it had been at least three years since the last time he’d been on an airplane. Of course, there has been very little reason for Adam to fly because even more than flying, he hates hates hates stepping outside of his comfort zone. (Or his fiefdom as our friend Crys so wisely describes it.)

He likes to host parties rather than attend them. He would rather invite you to his house than show up to yours. He’d just as soon die as make small talk with a stranger in a bar. He’ll drive 45 minutes out of his way to pick you up rather than have you pick him up, because it’s just easier if he drives. Like most control freaks, he asserts his as a way to keep himself “safe” and comfortable.

And yet… with less than 24 hours notice, he packed his bags and hopped on a plane to meet more than 50 strangers. He allowed his hotel room to become Party Central, offering up his bed and his bathroom when they were needed unexpectedly. He went to a party and moved from seat to seat, introducing himself to damn near everyone in the room – despite his inclination to stake out a spot and wait for people to approach him.

And you know what? He had a blast. “Most fun I’ve had in forever”, as a matter of fact.

Sitting on that plane, thinking about how much he’d pushed himself, I was so damned proud of him and absolutely thrilled that he’d stepped outside of his comfort zone.

And I started thinking about all the other people I’d watched to that over the last few days.

I thought about the woman who always classified herself as “better friends with guys”, and how she roomed with two women and allowed us into her world.

I thought about the man who admits to being an extreme introvert who was terrified of forcing himself onto new people, and how he quickly became the life of the party and the heart of his own little posse.

I thought about the women who were terrified to walk into a room full of strangers on their own, and how they begged their friends to come with them to give them strength… and walked away from the weekend with a suitcase full of stories and new friends.

I remembered the man who felt like he didn’t know anyone and worried about fitting in – the same man who would find himself becoming an invaluable lifeline to a brand new friend by the end of the weekend.

More than the tequila shots and the belly tattoos, this was the story of TequilaCon 08. Never before in my life have I seen so many people in one place who were pushing themselves past their fears – absolutely terrified, and doing it anyway.

To say it was inspiring would be an understatement. It was a supreme honor to be able to watch firsthand as these people changed themselves and their lives.

Yes. I said it. An experience like this life changing.

Every time we force ourselves to take a step outside the box, to push the envelope, to ignore what we think we “know” about ourselves, we have a unique opportunity to change our perspectives. Of ourselves and of the world around us. Walls come down, limits fall away, and if we’re lucky we see a whole new piece of the world that we never knew existed.

My friends, believe me when I tell you that there is nothing more empowering than that.

Now, what the hell does all this airy fairy bullshit have to do with you?

You tell me. What are you limits? What are your fears? What are the things you’d “never be able to do” because of your own insecurities? It’s OK – we all have them.

Whatever yours may be… push it. Whether it’s going to a party with a room full of strangers or simply commenting on a blog that you typically lurk on because you’re afraid no one will like you. Just… try it.

I know without a doubt that you have it in you because you’ve already started putting yourself out there. If you’re a blogger (as most of you are), you open up a web page and willingly share at least some small part of yourself with the Internet. That? Is amazing and something that lots and lots of people are unable to do.

And maybe you’re not a blogger. Maybe you just read what other people write but you don’t write yourself because there’s no way you could do that. And yet… here you are. Inexplicably drawn to watch as someone else spills their guts and their glory for the whole world to see. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something in all this vein splitting that calls to you…

Believe me. Trust me. Hear me when I tell you that if you just jump, it will be absolutely beyond measure worth it.

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