From Foolish to Fortified: My Planet Hollywood Visit

Planet Hollywood casino, as seen from the Mezzanine

"Why is this so hard?"

Stepping into unfamiliar territory can really crank up the self-doubt of impostor syndrome feelings. It screams the loudest in times of transition and change because things are simply unfamiliar. This hit home for me this week during what I thought would be a straightforward visit to Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

My goal was simple: to meet face-to-face with a meeting planner I’d been emailing about a speaking engagement. Though they went with another speaker, I’m a big believer in the power of personal and face-to-face connections.

The conference was at the Planet Hollywood (PH) resort, nestled somewhere inside the massive Miracle Mile shopping mall. I’ve been to the mall, but never to the PH resort. Just getting from the parking garage to the casino turned into quite the mini-journey. Once inside the casino, finding the conference center should have been easy, right? Instead, I ended up circling through a sea of slot machines, bars, and restaurants, feeling more lost and more inept by the minute.

I couldn’t find any signs for the conference center, and my frustration started to spike. I kept thinking, “Seriously, how hard can it be to find a huge conference in this place?” Doubts began to whisper, “Am I out of my league? This was a mistake! I feel stupid. Was I really cut out for this? Why is this so hard? What’s wrong with me? What a dumb idea.”

I quit. I left the casino and started the long walk back to the parking garage, defeated and feeling silly.

Then, I stopped. I thought about my speaker buddies who’d stick it out, the one who find a way and make a way, the ones who go over, under, around a roadblock to get something done. And using my own impostor syndrome strategies, I challenged my inner critic. I thought “What else can I do? What would happen if I gave it my all?” I pictured finding the meeting planner and having that awesome chat that could lead to a wonderful relationship and great speaking engagements.

With a new burst of energy, I sat on a bench. Using my phone, I found a map of the PH resort and discovered something I’d totally missed: the conference center was on a completely different level called the “Mezzanine.” I don’t know how I missed it, but there it was. I headed back in the casino and I finally spotted the elevator bank I had overlooked before. I half-expected it to be off-limits, for guest use only. Luckily, it was open to everyone. Up I went to the Mezzanine and at last, found the conference center.

I asked the staff at the registration desk, “Is the conference director available?” A lovely woman said, “She’s here, but she’s unavailable right now. If you give me your name, I’ll let her know you were here.

 I said “I’m Maureen, a professional speaker. She and I had communicated about me speaking at this event, but it didn’t quite work out. I live in Vegas and I thought I’d come by just to introduce myself in person.” The woman said “If you have a card, I’ll make sure she gets it.”

I left my card with her, and as I walked away, I thought “I didn’t get exactly what I came for but I got more than what I would have if I left.” I felt euphoric, successful and very proud.

We know persistence pays off. But sometimes, the journey—with all its unexpected twists—teaches us more than the destination. Persistence is about more than just sticking to a task. Every time we push through the fear and feelings of foolishness—even in something as simple as finding a conference center—we’re not just moving forward, we’re transforming. 

Breaking through these small, everyday barriers can feel surprisingly euphoric. Suddenly, you realize you’re resourceful, brave, even unstoppable. As I say in my keynote, “Growth happens in small nudges, not quantum leaps.” So, next time you bump into a challenge, even if it’s just navigating a new place, remember: these aren’t just minor irritations; they’re chances to push through and unleash your most powerful self.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Craig Chamberlain

    Hi Maureen, just wanted to let you know you are missed! Just read this (most emails go unread) as I was curious as to your latest adventure. Couldn’t help but think that if some mere mortals can figure this out, surely a rocket scientist can. And indeed you did! You have an opportunity to be of service to that director that their conference area is not as obvious as it could be and there needs to be better signage for attendees. Up to you if deceide to disclose you ARE in fact a rocket scientist.
    All the very best to you!!!

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