I am a very shy person at heart. Once I’m comfortable in a situation, I’m good to go, but for the most part, I’m pretty shy. I used to always be scared of going into a new situation like new classes, networking groups, social groups, etc. Terrified. I am always uncomfortable, not knowing what to do, where or how to stand, what to say, what to wear, etc.
Until one day, when I had a revelation of sorts. When faced with two job interviews in one day in a new state that I didn’t quite understand yet, I just didn’t know how I’d get through it. I had no support – the hubs was on a business trip, and my family and friends were far away. Panic was quickly settling in with nobody to talk me off the ledge. Then I thought to myself “Why am I so scared? What is the worst that could happen?”
What is the worst that could happen?
This became the first question I asked myself when I became nervous about a situation. In that instance, the worst that could happen was that I wouldn’t get offered a job. That means that I would have had practice interviewing and would be able to have seen more of the new area I was living in. Not so bad. I went into the interviews prepared to dazzle as best I could, but also not so nervous about what ‘they’ would think. The result? I was offered both jobs.
The second interview that day was with 8 or 9 people, and I had them laughing. My boss-to-be had already e-mailed me some ‘work’ before I even got home, and the head of HR called me at 8:30 that morning to see if I could start that day. That was over three years ago, and I’m still at the same job.
In social circles, the worst that could happen is that people won’t like me, or I won’t like them, and I just won’t return. Again, not too bad. If I host a party and nobody shows up, then I just have a clean house, some down time and a ton of food that gets me out of cooking for a while. That actually sounds pretty good.
But somewhere along the way, I forgot that attitude. I’ve been shying away from taking risks, sticking my neck out, and trying to achieve more. Even in little things like crafting, I’ve been afraid to start projects, in fear that they won’t turn out right. So I end up sitting in front of the TV after Lil Man goes to bed until it’s time for me to go to bed. What’s the worst that could happen if my project doesn’t turn out right? I might be out of some money (although I have enough supplies to let me play without investing any cash up front), but at least I did something entertaining that required my brain and helps unleash my creativity.
The past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to reignite my little mantra and try to take some risks. The process has been strangely liberating.
Instead of always worrying about what other people want from me, I focus on how I want to present myself – what I want people to know about me. Instead of worrying about whether I’m going to fit in with a group, I am now able to take a deep breath and learn about the people I’m meeting.
It’s a slight shift in consciousness. It’s really a study in self-confidence. By knowing what I want out of a situation, rather than wondering what people will want from me, I am better able to face it and experience it to the max. Thinking through the worst possible scenario (well, barring tragedy) helps to put everything into perspective so I can focus on what is important.