Whether I’m meeting someone new over coffee or interviewing someone for my podcast…it all gives me butterflies right before. (Listen now: The Making Bold Moves podcast)
But once I’m actually meeting or interviewing that someone, I find my heart beating slower…
I begin to feel less nervous and more excited to be where I am and whom I’m with.
In my first podcast episode, I mentioned how terribly shy I was from 13 to 17 when I struggled with moderate to severe acne.
I spent those years mostly in my room letting my insecurity with my acne shatter my social life.
Or really, the fear of people thinking I was ugly and not worthy with cystic acne all over my face.
Looking back now at 22, I would want to tell my even younger self – “Let fear fuel me, not stop me.”
Fuel me to be the person I want to be and do the things I want to be doing.
“But, it’s just not that easy Mia!” – you might be muttering behind your computer screen.
My answer: It might not be so easy, but it’s not this impossible task.
And I think you will see it this way when you take steps not giant leaps of bravery – which brings me to my first point…
1. I show up and embrace it
For me, showing up means getting my butt to those meetups and conferences even if I’m all alone. (Read more: How To Succeed Going To Events Alone).
When I was 20, I was really interested in social media and digital media. So, I wanted to attend many workshops and networking events to learn more about it.
I remember attending this workshop on social media marketing at General Assembly (awesome co-working and learning space!). I sat silently with my notepad waiting for it to begin not trying to initiate a conversation with anyone.
Even though I wish I had the nerve to, I was still glad I showed up and invested in myself.
Now, attending social and digital media networking events was a different ballgame for me as people expected me (as well they should) to at least talk about myself and what company I was working for.
So when people turned to me asking who I am and what I do, I would say something like “My name is Mia and I’m still in college and I don’t have a company I work for, but seeking to learn about other companies to either work for or with after graduation.”
I don’t remember receiving a negative response when I was up-front and honest. Most of these people were over 35, so they were actually interested to hear my input as a millennial in the company they were working for or just beginning to start.
Also, people would remark how brave I was going to these events at my age – AKA – they admired my small (but important) step for showing up!
2. I understand other people are scared too
When those people would remark how brave I was, I’d naively ask “How’d you become so comfortable?” (I assumed they were!)
They usually would laugh, and explain how they are just as nervous as I am when approaching and meeting other people.
So just remember that although we’re young adults, people older than us are unsure and nervous too.
Even if people don’t appear scared or nervous, you can’t believe that they are these all mighty confident fearless beings.
No one is “fearless”.
Those who might seem “fearless” and ultimately confident, have a relationship with fear.
In other words, they know fear exists and doesn’t shut fear out – but instead, know when to listen to it.
For me, I think fear as a woman that lays on my shoulder trying to protect me – trying to signal me when to stop doing something before I become hurt in some way.
If I’m being chased by a vicious animal, yes I listen to fear in order to survive. However, if I’m trying to meet more people alike and improve my life with new experiences, I’m aware of fear but ultimately tell fear to allow me to grow.
3. I know it’s better on the other side
On the other side of fear, is something much greater (No fluff – it’s so true!).
I think it’s just crazy to assume that we’re wasting our time (or only bad things will happen) putting ourselves out there. (Read more: How To Succeed Going To Events Alone).
Of course, do your research to find events (I suggest joining Facebook groups in your interest/niche!) and attend events, like meetups, conferences, coffee dates with people you really think you’ll blend well with.
But once you do your research, understand you have no idea who will show up. It could be your next business partner, client, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, roommate…you just don’t know!
There have been times, actually recently where I’ve found myself exhausted right before I know an event (something I really wanted to attend last week when I signed up) is about to take place.
Obviously being exhausted, I don’t want to see anyone let alone talk to anyone. But I’ve learned to take a quick power nap and remind myself how exciting it is to be given the opportunity to meet someone new.
I haven’t met my future boyfriend (well, not yet – you never know!) but I have met some damn new awesome friends!
Over the weekend, I actually attended a clean-up hiking event – and met, even more, people who not only have great love for our Earth but have such passion about life.
I would have never met them and they would have never met me – if we both didn’t have the right attitude to show up and meet some cool people!
Now, I want to hear your thoughts! Comment below.