I am not sure how many of you know this but, I am extremely shy when it comes to meeting new people. I understand that some of you are reading this and giving me the “whatever” or “yeah right” face but it’s true. I have been in positions that forced me to come out of that comfort zone, like direct sales. I have sold cars, candles, and even food for other companies but when it comes to me talking about me for me, it gets so hard.
When I first received the email for the event, I was so excited! I started sharing the information with my circle of people and I started promoting. I had a plan as to how I wanted things to look. I knew that I wanted things to be a certain way. I wanted my version of perfection. As time moved closer to the date of the event, my plan crumbled. This is the point where I almost pulled out.
My books were delayed and would not arrive in time for me to be able to have them at the event to sell. The bookmarks that I wanted to give as a gift were not ready. People that contacted me saying that they would come to support started contacting me to tell me that they could not make it. I was concerned with how I would be received by not having inventory for patrons to view. I even emailed the facilitator and looked for a way to get out of going to the event because I didn’t have books available. The way that I wanted things to go, was not how things were going.
The fact that I am reserved made this a perfect opportunity for me to retreat! I was ready to step in my own way and avoid overcoming this hurdle.
Then I thought about what I would be walking away from. I thought about what I would not be showing up to. I thought about the message that I would send to my children. When I stepped back and looked at it, I noticed that I was only feeding into whatever negativity that caused me to feel this way in the first place. It was in that moment that I committed.
I searched for copies of my books that I could use for the purpose of this event. I found a copy of my first book that was faded and appeared less beautiful than what is being shipped currently. I also found a copy of my second book that had fewer cosmetic discrepancies but still was not up to par for my standards. I grabbed them both and said to myself that I would make these work.
The bookmarks that I wanted to make were not ready and I did not want to go without anything for patrons to take away from me. So, I made a few bars of shea butter and peppermint soap and put my website on the back of the bag. I created a shirt with my slogan on it so that when I took pictures it would be visible. I did my hair, put on some makeup and decided that I was going to walk forward, buckling knees and all.
I took those fears and discomforts with me to the event. I even showed a few of those insecurities to the other authors. I showed up with one copy of each book from my promo inventory (these are the books that I kept in the car when I drove for Uber). I didn’t want to put my books on the table because of the slightly used condition. I shared this with one of the authors at my table and she encouraged me to still place it up there and reassured me that I was focused on the wrong thing as far as the book is concerned. I listened and still placed my book on the table (well, one of them anyway).
I was approached by someone who was initially captured by my appearance and used that as an ice-breaker to segway into collaboration opportunities, speaking engagements, and more. I spoke to another person that described some of the pain that her family has endured for the past few years. She told me that she would go online and purchase both books based on my description and some of what she read in the gently used sample. I spoke to other authors and learned about new ways to market my books and how to be prepared for or organize an event such as this in the future.
When I stepped forward in spite of my fear, I broke a piece of my mold. I shattered the fear that almost stopped me from moving closer to my dream. This event made me realize how much work I have to do in order to build my confidence in me. My confidence in my gift is unwavering but my confidence in myself is where I struggle. I had to change my mind from “everything is going wrong” to “let’s enjoy this for what it is and make the best of it”. I was making a bigger deal in my mind about something that did not even require that type of attention.
I hear people say it all the time, but I realized it while I was at this event…your comfort zone can cause paralysis in your dreams. If you want more you have to reach out, speak out, and move out of your own way to get it. We keep ourselves stuck in positions and situations because we are afraid of a possibility that we create in our minds due to our fears.
I am happy to say that when I stepped into Barnes and Noble, fear didn’t win.
When was the last time you defeated fear?