PowerShell Summit 2018 was one of the most humbling and rewarding trips I've ever been on. I was given an award from Microsoft for my community work, I learned a ton from the sessions and I connected with so many people around the world where I was able to get first-hand feedback on how my content has helped them.
But, it was a conference experience that almost didn't happen.
"Forget this! I'm going home!"
Have you ever been really anxious about something that, logically, seems ridiculous? Perhaps you've had a panic attack before or suffer from the occasional bout of anxiety. These are more common that I'd like to admit in the world of IT engineers.
Over Denver, CO, my brain suddenly told me, "Adam, this trip isn't for you. You want to go home. You want to be in your soft, comfy routine. This trip is so not going to work out for you."
What normally is a trigger I can recognize, went right by me this time and straight to the downward spiral of anxiety and depression. I texted my wife, "I think I'm going to come home". Being the person that knows me better than anyone, she replied, "I don't think that's a good idea. You are obsessing".
After twenty minutes, a pack of pretzels and one tiny cup of Sprite later, I had changed my mind. I loved this conference. Why would I be wanting not to go anyway? Chalk up another incident to an overactive, anxious, thinking mind. Whew! I'm glad I didn't do anything stupid.
These days, times like this are few and far between. I've had so much experience dealing with these situations I can manage to overcome the ludicrous ideas that seemingly come out of nowhere like wasting $1,500 and countless opportunities to connect with people.
Control the Monkey Brain
The brain can sometimes be irrational and it's up to us to recognize this behavior before we do something completely stupid like skipping a conference or worse.
The feeling will pass. It always does. The trick is to simply wait it out. At some point, you'll begin to notice just how insane your thinking has become and rationality finally kicks in.
I've heard countless stories similar to this from introverts. It may not be to the panic attack level but every one of us experiences this sudden rush of anxiety in some fashion.
- "I have to speak in front of people. Forget this!"
- "Am I really going to put myself out there and show people my code?"
- "What is this hallway track you speak of? Isn't a conference all about the sessions?"
- "Eating lunch with strangers is terrible!"
We somehow think if we attempt something scary it's going to be this terrible experience before, during and after it happens which is completely untrue!
Every time I've felt like this and took the first step, it felt great! It felt like I accomplished something as simple as speaking up to a stranger for the first time. Baby steps.
The Hardest Step is the First
Once you've mustered up that strength to step over the scary line, the wind is at your back. You're in the clear. You'll find that anxiety will begin to wane and once the encounter is done, you will feel a sense of gratitude in yourself.
After you've forced yourself past that tiny window of uneasiness, the experience becomes so much easier. Momentum is in your favor at that point.
- A plane burns lots more fuel taking off than flying.
- A car's engine is most exerted when first hitting the accelerator.
- An entrepreneur first has to go looking for work. At some point, the work comes looking for her.
- An investor has to put a lot more money in at first for his money to make money.
I could go on and on with examples. The key is momentum and time. There are tons of activities in this world that always require more effort up front. You have to ask yourself, is it worth it?
Is doing that conference talk, speaking to that stranger or thanking that online persona you feel a connection with in real life for what they do worth it? If so, you owe it to yourself to just do it!
Consider What You're Giving Up
Think about what may come by speaking up and taking a chance. Perhaps that person is looking for someone to fill that dream job of yours, knows someone that can introduce you to that next big client or give you that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that changes your life, forever?
You'll never know until you walk through that door!
Why are you holding yourself back from these opportunities because of a few minutes of being uncomfortable? Think about it. It's not rational at all!
Don't infatuate on the small price you pay in anxiety. Consider the value of the best-case scenario you're giving up if you let it pass.
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