Last Wednesday in my Fear Is a Liar blog, I invited you to join my Halloween challenge and face down a fear that is holding you back. The very next day, I received the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is.
Fear 1: Doing something publicly that I've never done before
A message from a connection on LinkedIn arrived inviting me to participate in the Women In Insurance and Financial Services national conference as an exhibitor. The conference began on Sunday evening and ended at lunch yesterday.
Having never before participated as an exhibitor, my initial fear response was to say no, and it sounded like this:
Despite all of these valid fears and the natural decline, "Sorry, I don't have enough lead time to clear my schedule to participate," I found the courage to accept.
Because I value making authentic connections, I started by asking my conference contact to tell me about the attendees, their expectations, what they like, etc. Next, I reflected on this empowering possibility question, "What do I need to do to make this happen?"
My initial list was something like this
Fear 2: Networking at an event where I am an outsider
The conference kicked-off with a social reception on Sunday evening. Not attending was easy for me to justify given all my preparation tasks, and yet I knew that I was cheating myself of the opportunity to make more connections by skipping it. I walked into a room full of people already gathered in conversation groups. I joined the line at the bar and chatted cocktail choices with the woman next to me while we waited. Drink in hand, it was now time to swallow my fear and approach one of these groups. Luckily my first request to join a group was eagerly accepted. What's more, the few women that I met in those initial 2-hours became my quick girlfriend connections that made me feel at home throughout the event.
Fear 3: Everyone will know me for the impostor that I am
I'll be honest; my initial inclination was to pretend that I was a trade-show veteran. Instead, I decided to be vulnerable and own my newness. That was the right call. From the first to last conversation, this fantastic group of women made me feel welcomed and appreciated. They chose to engage with genuine interest in learning about me and my coaching business. They made those two days of the conference fun and fulfilling. I even received a compliment from my neighbor exhibitor about my ability to connect and tell my story.
I'm not going to lie. I was exhausted by this journey, and yet I have been rewarded and affirmed in numerous ways because I said YES. Fear is a LIAR! What victories are you scoring against him? Be sure to comment and let me know.
Be Bold. Be Brave. Be YOU!