Have you ever NOT done something because you were afraid? Well, I have. Let me name some of these things and then tell you a story. I didn’t dance with my stepbrother at his wedding as we hadn’t known each other very long – regret due to fear. I have never participated in the SourceCon hackathon because I didn’t think I was good enough – sad but true. And probably my most interminable fear has been not going to group classes at the gym because I was afraid. I am scared to look stupid that I wouldn’t have the moves down, that I would be the worst in the class.
Now, that last fear has been one that I’ve struggled with over the years. At first, when I was in college, I didn’t do a spinning class as I didn’t want to be the only one. Then after college, I said I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to pay for a gym membership. My best friend has been doing Zumba for seven years, SEVEN. Secretly I’ve always wanted to try a class. Well, I’m happy to say that yesterday, after about ten years of talking, I finally did it and went to a Zumba class at the gym I joined two months ago, (yes two months)! And man was I wrong.
My expectations were all out of line, I’ve been building this whole experience up in my head of what it would be, and it was AMAZING. I sweated my butt off, felt the burn, and was out of breath almost the whole time and the hour flew by fast! I was so focused on dancing and paying attention to the instructor that I didn’t even have time to compare my lack of arm and leg coordination to the fantastic, diverse group of women of all walks of life that were killing it. I can dance, but some things take practice and yesterday, I had to give myself grace. I went, I finished to the best of my ability, and now I have some confidence to do it again and suck less.
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Why do I tell this story about not being able to get my butt to the gym? Because for those of you who are coming to SourceCon for the first time, I’ve been in your shoes. I went a long time ago to SourceCon in California without knowing anyone. I was excited yet anxious. Lucky enough, I was able to make friends with Shannon Pritchett, Amybeth Quinn, Kay Kelison, and many more amazing people in the years since that first conference, and my professional life has completely changed since I started coming to these events. As you enter into this conference, a few things to keep in mind for the conference:
- Put yourself out there – talk with the presenters after their talks. As a presenter, it is always awesome to have people come and talk with you about what they just learned, you might learn something and so might they. And you never know, that might be the start of a new friendship.
- Try something new – even though I’ve been attending SourceCon now for many years, I have always been a Hackathon viewer, never a participant. Why? FEAR. Until now, yes this is the first year I’m going to participate in the Hackathon. I’m nervous, and I have done a little bit of prep by taking some of Jan Tegze’s Sourcing Games as a prep, but I’ve got to get myself, and my laptop all prepared before Wednesday night, so GAME ON!
- Find your tribe – SourceCon is a colossal family sourcing/recruiting reunion, and many tribes make up this dysfunctional family. Use the Whova App to discover people and seek out people with similar interests, or start your thread (calling all the Jacksonville recruiters, let’s talk). We are all just humans, each with strengths and gifts, and we all need to connect. So talk, learn, talk some more, become Facebook and Twitter friends, do all the things!
- Meet your online friends IRL (in real life) – Gasp – Yes, get your nose out of your phone/laptop for a minute and find your people whose articles you’ve been reading, whose streams you’ve been watching, and who you have seen commenting and posting GIF’s in the SourceCon Facebook group. Now Is the time.
- When in doubt, find someone in a SourceCon shirt (I’m on the Welcome Wagon so find us). We can help point you in the right direction! Even the best of us (myself included) get nervous going to large industry events, especially having to do so much small talk (yes I think I’m an extroverted introvert) – but having lots of people to talk to and people to guide you in the right direction is the best and most comforting feeling.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it…that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” So I look forward to meeting you all, just as you are, and to get to know you better. Here’s to a great SourceCon!