Monday, February 4, 2013

Why I still get scared to get involved

As you might already know, I wrote a book about networking for college students, and why it's so important to get involved and meet people in college. 

I got involved in my community college and my university and joined everything I could. 

I read at least five books on networking each year and speak to college students around the country about networking and college success. 

I meet people all the time and get involved in new opportunities whenever I can because I believe relationships are the key to success in everything.

But I still get scared out of my mind every time I get involved in something new where I know I'm going to meet new people. 

I recently got an e-mail to attend Leadership Stetson, a leadership program for alumni at my alma mater. I applied, because that's what I do. 

And then I got accepted. Uh-oh, I thought, Now I actually have to do this. And at this moment, all of my defenses kick in: Do I really need to do this? Will it be worth my time? Why do I need to do this? Don't I have other stuff you need to do that weekend? 

But I RSVP that I will attend. 

I continue to resist, all the way up to Friday night when I drive to the college for the opening reception. As I'm driving, I can physically feel everything in my body telling me to turn the car around. I feel slightly short of breath, anxious, wondering, What will I say to people? How will I know who to talk to? I won't know anybody. I'll probably be the youngest person there. No one will want to talk to me. Why am I doing this?!

But I keep driving. 

And of course, by the end of the weekend, I'm hugging new friends good-bye, clutching my iPad filled with new ideas and inspirations from the experience, thinking, I'm so glad I didn't miss this. 

Throughout this entire experience, I also kept thinking of you

I remembered how absolutely terrifying it is to try something new, to go to college for the first time, to transfer schools, to attend a club event when you don't know anyone, to visit a new professor during office hours, and to strike up a conversation with a stranger in class. This stuff is HARD. Scary. 

And this weekend I realized I'm still scared all the time.

Despite the many amazing experiences I've had and the knowledge that every new experience will bring growth and new relationships, my brain still doesn't get it. 

It still washes me over in fear and tries to get me not to do anything but stay in my apartment and work on my computer (kind of like how your brain might tell you to just go to class and go home and not bother with anything extra).

So the next time you feel anxious about trying something new, don't wait for the fear to subside before you make a decision - because it'll probably never go away. 

Instead, just do it (I've come to appreciate Nike's branding genius lately). 

Act in spite of fear. In spite of laziness. In spite of all your doubts.

Your action will turn resistance into persistence, your greatest ally in success. 

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