I checked out the criteria for the annual international conference of the biggest association of PR people in the world -- the Public Relations Society of America. They required references -- at least three people who could recommend me based on presentations I'd done in the last three years.
I was a little stymied. I had spoken now and again before groups large and small, from communicators to business people to students. But it was in no way an ongoing, organized thing, and I did not have the required references. So I passed.
This year as I filled out the application, I realize I've got nine references from just six months. And these aren't just any old speaking opportunities. They're in front of PRSA's Chicago chapter, one of the biggest in the nation. And the Chicago chapter's young professionals network. And next month I'll be keynoting a conference of all the Western chapters.
I'll be astounded if my application isn't accepted. (Though stranger things have certainly happened.)
Things never seem to move fast enough. Progress doesn't come quick enough. Results don't come soon enough. But when I poke my head up and have a look around, I see I've truly come a long way.