That Pesky Fear
A few nights ago I ventured back out into the world of business networking. There was a time in my life when I did this regularly. It was part of my day job working with women entrepreneurs. Later it became a way to grow my own freelance writing business. I like people and have the ability to talk to almost anyone about almost anything. But I can’t eat, breathe, and sleep business nonstop, which is what I was forced to do for far too long. So while the networking was valuable and sometimes even enjoyable, I got burnt out on it.
So for the last 18 months or so, I've been dormant. I quit my day job and crawled over into a corner to recuperate and refresh. And of course, my word of mouth referrals slowed to a trickle. I knew that I needed to get back “out there” and start connecting with people again. But the mere idea of it exhausted me.
Why should it? After all, I already admitted that I like talking with people. One word: Fear.
Because I'd stopped actively networking at the same time that I was mentally and physically tapped out, my fight-or-flight mind connected the two. I subtly started to hate the idea of going to business events because I feared losing myself again. Rationally, I knew this didn't have to happen. Viscerally, I was the victim of a mini-trauma.
Not long ago I laid out a loose plan to generate more business, and of course networking was on the list. Lo and behold, the perfect event showed up on the calendar for this week. How convenient.
Oh how I hemmed and hawed. I came up with every excuse not to go. The weather forecast called for rain during the hour drive there and back. I didn't have any clean business attire. I didn’t even know if it would be a beneficial event. As I threw out these excuses, I saw a look of disapproval cross my husband’s face. A moment later I realized that I was seeing a mirror of my own disappointment for chickening out.
So I rooted through my closet and found some clothes that weren’t jeans and a sweater. The weather cooperated and only rained on the way home. I overcame my fear and was rewarded. I rekindled old connections and made a few new ones. I even met a few people face-to-face after only "knowing" them over the phone. And there are new business prospects on the horizon, some related to the event, some not. (I have a theory that work breeds work, but that's a post for another day.)
I did my best to talk myself out of going to that event. I almost let mini-post traumatic stress get in the way of a good experience.
How are you talking yourself out of something good?