Last week my university flew me to a conference to further my knowledge on social innovation for The Honest Consumer. I had so much fun! I learned a lot and met many inspirational change makers. While I had an excellent time I definitely had to fight through some anxiety while I was there. In the morning walking into the conference room with endless tables and picking a seat made me anxious.
What if the seat is being saved for someone? What if I don't have anything in common with the people I sit next to? What if everybody at the table knows each other except for me?
And then there was networking. I actually love to network because I think it is interesting to hear what other people are doing and learn their stories. But the self promotion aspect is where I struggle. I wanted to promote The Honest Consumer by handing out my business cards, but I was anxious.
I don't want to be pushy. What if they don't like my blog? Will they think I'm self-centered? What is the best way to start the conversation?
Founding The Honest Consumer has been an incredibly positive experience in multiple ways, but especially concerning my anxiety. Basically everyday I do something that makes me anxious in order to pursue what I love. I drive on the highway to meetings, I conduct phone interviews, and you would think that after doing these tasks for a year the anxiety would subside, but it doesn't. I still get butterflies in my stomach every time I get ready to talk to someone new on the phone or go to a meeting.
What if they can't hear me on the phone? What if I run out of questions to ask? What if we talk over each other on the phone? What if they forget? What if I'm at the wrong place for the meeting? What if I messed up the time difference and call at the wrong time?
But I think it's empowering that I've shown myself I CAN do this. I CAN fight through my anxiety whether it's meeting new people at a conference, talking on the phone, or driving on the highway. I CAN push through the jittery feelings and follow my passion. And I'm lucky to have incredibly supportive business owners and followers to encourage me to do so.
While I was in Miami the sky was a beautiful reminder that something beautiful can come out of a chaotic storm. So if you are struggling right now, I encourage you to step outside take a few deep breathes and remind yourself that you CAN do this. You are so much more than your anxiety. You are a strong force to be reckoned with. I encourage you to share this with someone who might need that reminder.