You know those events that really scare you, the ones where you’re there, sitting in your car, feeling like you want to throw up, willing yourself to take the brave path and step out of the car (versus the not so brave path of simply driving back to the safety of your home). I’ve had two of those events hit me this week!
For me, when attending these events, I’ve learned to arrive as close to the starting time as possible, which cuts down on the wait time in the car, the wanting to throw up time and the “should I stay or should I go” push and pull. To where, if I time it right, I park, take a deep breath, and just go in. Easy, right? Not so fast…
This week made me reflect on one of the hardest events I went to, alone, when we were living overseas. At the beginning of every school year, there was always a “Mom Brunch” so the moms could get to know each other, but really so they could set up weekly play dates for their kids.
I did this when my daughter entered kindergarten, found a group of friends for both of us, and we spent her early years there going to weekly play dates and birthday parties.
When my son started kindergarten and I got the invite to the first mom brunch, I was nervous, sick to my stomach nervous. More nervous than when I attended my first mom brunch for my daughter. Why? Well, this time I knew what to expect. I knew that although it was never easy to walk into a room full of strangers, this was made even harder for me because it was a room full of strangers who were all speaking a foreign language. A language I was becoming more and more familiar and comfortable with, but one that was still very hard to follow when 25+ moms are all speaking at once.
But, I made myself go anyway, with one goal, to meet one mom that I liked and who liked me back and set up a play date for my son. That was it. Well, and if they lived close to our house, that was a huge plus, because traffic was indescribably horrendous down there.
So, I took a deep breath, got out of my car, and walked slowly, trying to calm my shaking hands with each step I took towards the front door. I was welcomed into the gathering, and while everyone was very nice and polite, one beautiful mom greeted me like we were old friends. She said warmly that she was so glad I decided to come because she had been wanting to meet me. As it turns out, her son had told her all about my son, our family and our new puppy, and he wanted to have a play date as soon as possible, and as the stars aligned, they lived close to us too!
She was that beacon in the stormy seas, that friendly face in a room full of strangers, that one person I felt like I was meant to meet. We’re still close friends to this day.
She introduced me to other people, and by the end of the brunch I had more play dates set up for my son. I had more than accomplished my goal, all because I showed up. I felt the fear, and I went anyway.
I know this sounds like I went in with very low expectations (and maybe I did), but I’ve learned over the years that if I can hone in on a purpose, a why, a simple reason for being there, it helps make the event worthwhile. For this brunch, yes, it was to meet the other moms and for me to make some new friends, but it went even deeper than that. I went because I wanted very much for my son to be included, just as my daughter had been years before that day.
In the book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, the authors talk about if in our busy, noisy, multitasking world, we can look through all that chaos to the one most important thing at any given time in our lives, that our lives will be more focused and more full of purpose. This holds true in all aspects of our lives, in business, socially, with our family, with our friends, everywhere. Find the one thing!
So, looking at your life right now, what’s one thing that scares you, but that you know is important to show up to? Imagine how proud of yourself you’ll feel, when you’re leaving that event… And, to take things a step farther, when you’re at an event, what’s one thing you can do to make people feel included and welcome. Be that friendly face someone so desperately needs in their life at that moment in time!