A lesson in connection that will change your life

A Lesson in Connection that Will Change Your Life



Connections. They’re part of being human. We’re always looking to get connected in some way and the right connections can change your life. I learned a lesson in connection at Tribe Conference 2017 that changed my life. It can change yours too if you’ll do the connecting.


Are you ready?

It was my first writer’s conference. I’d finally embraced the truth of being an introvert. I hate labels so I kicked against it for a long time. I was excited but my introverted-self was nervous to connect with so many people. I had no idea what to expect I just knew I needed to be there.

I knew I needed to prepare and did four things.

  • I read a book on networking and inclusion at conferences.
  • I studied the speakers.
  • I joined a Facebook group made for attendees where newbies like me asked for advice from the alumni.
  • I printed out an old blog post of mine about a lesson I learned when you leave your comfort zone and how to not hurt yourself. It was a lesson I learned the hard way that I didn’t want to repeat.

I was as ready as I knew how to be and you can’t ask for more than that.

I was as ready as I knew how to be and you can’t ask for more than that. Click To Tweet


Are you serious?

When Pamela Slim spoke she said Be the weirdo in the room.

When Marsha Shandur spoke she told us everyone has a dork goblin. I’ll explain, but first I have to tell you about Marsha (aka yesyesmarsha).

I love her. She makes me laugh.

Know what else she does? She owns being the weirdo in the room and makes you feel comfortable.

She described her dork goblin in detail before putting a photo up on the screen. Her dork goblin’s name is Cynthia, has yellow blonde hair in braided pigtails and has a crazed look on her face.

I sat in amazement as she so comfortably owned this.

I want to be that comfortable connecting with myself.

Shame is learned. We are born knowing how to dance –Jeff Goins Click To Tweet


Progress over perfect

I’ve come a long way from when I used to be a hider (one who is excessively private about what they think and feel, ashamed to be seen and afraid to be discarded).

Through the process of writing Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals I learned my excessive privacy disconnected me from the relationships I longed for.

Releasing it to the world took all the courage I had. My greatest fear was someone would read it. In it are things I was terrified for people to know. Ways I’d behaved. Things that’d happened to me. Abuse, drugs, sex and crazy writing in my journal. I felt so naked.

But as people read it, they connected to my story and it changed their lives.

It made me happy but I still wasn’t comfortable with the whole vulnerability thing.

It was hard to allow myself to be seen in print. It’s taken me longer in face to face connections but I’m making progress.


Shame is learned. We are born knowing how to dance –Jeff Goins


Embracing your mess?

Another speaker told us we need to amplify our quirks and make our mess our message.

To me, that meant I had to embrace my mess.

This is what amazed me about Marsha. She didn’t tolerate, she embraced her dork goblin.

As Marsha shared stories of her dork goblin popping up in various encounters, laughing and carrying on, she asked us how our dork goblin’s behaved. Many knew and shared with the group.

I knew I had one but couldn’t answer her question. I needed to connect with my dork goblin.

What is a dork goblin?

It’s the person who shows up when you want to impress someone, and who you normally are—is not available. Emotions and strange quirks take over making you act in a possessed sort of way and afterward you look at yourself and say what just happened?

That my friend is your dork goblin.

Marsha said when this happens we need to acknowledge our dork goblin and have compassion on it.

I wanted to embrace mine like Marsha.

I want to be that comfortable connecting with myself. Click To Tweet


The victory

Life is a great teacher. During the break following Marsha’s talk, I met my dork goblin.

I walked up to someone I thought I knew calling them by the wrong name only to discover they were not that person. I was so embarrassed, my dork goblin showed up. I couldn’t speak in complete sentences or remember useful information.

Thankful to Marsha for her story only moments earlier I owned it. I said out loud to this perfect stranger that they were talking to was my dork goblin. We laughed, chatted and the awkward moment passed.

I have yet to name and characterize my dork goblin (which Marsha encourages) but by connecting with myself and embracing my mess I’ve taken another step of growth.

The lesson I learned is the better you connect with yourself the better you’ll connect with others. 


What about you?

  • Will you connect with yourself?
  • Do you know what your dork goblin is like?
  • Get help having compassion on your dork goblin here
  • Are you a hider? Want some help? Get a copy of my book here
  • Pass this on and connect with others


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9 thoughts on “A Lesson in Connection that Will Change Your Life

  1. Danielle, from what you wrote. It does seem like you had a wonderful time at Tribe conference. I’m intrigued by the concept of the “DORK GOBLIN.” I never quite thought of it that way, but I completely know what this means.

    Then you speak of community. We do have to plug in with like minded people in order to see things from a different point of view. This is how we grow and learn, expand our knowledge base to push our boundaries.

    I know I would be nervous going to Tribe conference, but a good nervous. I could push myself to do.

    Great take away and thank you for sharing with us. JG

    1. Thank you, John. I did have a wonderful time. There is SO much I took away from the conference. I’m so glad I went. I got my ticket for next year before I left.

      I’ll be sharing again. Next time I embrace my mess by sharing an epic embarrassing thing I did.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

        1. You’re ahead of me in that area (not being phased by embarrassment) – but I’m growing. 🙂
          I have a lot of mess too. 😉

  2. Great blog, I too can relate to the dork goblin and have not name my dear goblin either. Waiting for the right name to reveal itself. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Thank you!
      I wonder how many others are like us? With a no name dork goblin. Just curious.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’m honored to have you here. Blessings to you as well.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.

Please share your thoughts!