When I meet people, they assume that I am an outgoing social butterfly. A peppy cheerleader who loves rallying the troops. While I do love building people up and cheering for the underdog, the anxiety that I feel when faced with…. well, people, is sometimes crippling. It is really bizarre. I find that I have one foot in the “OH MY STARS, I can’t believe I get to hangout with my Salesforce Ohana” pool and the other foot in the “Must. Hide. Alone” pool.
One of my most treasured Ohana memories was the night of the Dreamfest 2016. Instead of going to the concert, I had dinner with a small group of incredible souls. There was something magical about that night that words can’t explain. With the exception of the girl who invited me, everyone else was a stranger, but somehow quickly felt like friends.
That being said, at Destination Success 2017, I couldn’t bring myself to go to one dinner with the “group”. It wasn’t even strangers. I’d texted and chatted in the community, but when it was time to walk out of my hotel room and to the restaurant which wasn’t even off property, I couldn’t. Three Dreamforces, countless SF training’s, two Destination Successes, and the list goes on. I get myself there and then spiral in my head.
This anxiety isn’t just in the Salesforce Community. I struggle with crowds. I struggle with small groups. I struggle going to birthday parties, church events, school functions. Oddly, I don’t struggle as much with activities that I can blend in. Recently, I went to see Cinderella and didn’t have an ounce of anxiety. I think that I deal with two different anxieties. Social, which I don’t know will ever go away, and fear. Maybe I’ll write about the fear one another time.
Last year, I registered and paid for a Dreamforce breakfast and didn’t go. It’s like I spend all this time looking forward to meeting these people that I respect, love, and look up to. I get excited that I’ll finally get to know someone IRL that I’ve befriended in the community, or on social media and then, I freeze. I panic and I bail. The crazy thing is that regardless of how many times I’ve bailed, the Ohana still includes me. I’m still wanted. I’m still invited. Y’all, I want to face my giants.
I have hosted two meetings with the Chattanooga WIT User Group and didn’t feel anxiety with either one. I am actually looking forward to our meeting next week. This is HUGE. I feel like the relationship with my anxiety is transforming. Instead of giving it monster power that sends me hiding, I’m going to try to understand it. To face it. To love it. I have to believe that even it has a purpose in my life.
TrailheaDX and my beloved Destination Success / boot camp is in a few weeks. Who wants to sit with me at lunch, or meet for dinner? OK, that made my palms tingle. Maybe I’m taking the easy way here since it will be a week of intense learning and studying, but I am going to try to engage with my people more than I retreat to my room.