07 May 2010

Things That Scare Me - Northern Voice

Today and tomorrow I'm attending Northern Voice 2010, a blogging conference. There are a ton of great speakers. Bloggers I've met and a whole bunch of people I've conversed with on twitter are going to be there. People I admire, people who are actually doing the things I aspire to. It's going to be a very cool couple of days.

For reasons unknown, I am terrified. Well, actually, I know the reasons, I just don't know that they're rational.

First, the usual litany of insecurities that plague me:

Who am I to call myself a blogger and attend a conference? A conference for real bloggers?
What if it's all tech-speak geek coolness I don't understand and people find out I don't know what I'm doing? I don't know the first thing about coding.
What if people scorn me because I'm on Blogger and not a self-hosted Wordpress blog?

Then, the fear of the unknown:

What if  I can't find the venue?
What if everybody seems to know each other and I'm standing on the outside of the group looking in? (How delightfully high school of me!)

What if I don't see anyone I know? 
What if I do see people I know and they avoid me?
What if I manage to overcome all this and get there anyway, and then they don't have a record of me paying for tickets and I can't get in?

Then it devolves into the strictly ridiculous:

What if I can't manage the big hill up to UBC on my bike and I get there totally late?
What if I'm all gross and sweaty after bicycling there and no one will talk to me?

And the classic:

What if I look fat in these pants?

Understand, I'm normally an outgoing, welcoming, and wise-cracking people person. I worked and excelled in an extremely competitive industry, meeting new people (some of them famous, some of them undeserving of their giant egos) every day on a movie set. I look forward to new learning experiences every day. I enjoy and excel at connecting with people. So what's the deal with the mind-numbing fear? Why the paralysis ahead of the fact - and this happens every. single. time. Every networking event, every family gathering, every trip to the playground with The Imp. Why? Why, why, why? (stomps feet, shakes fist)

So this morning I'm trying to think less about my specific fears, and philosophize more about the nature of fear itself. How it's just the mind's way of warning you you're trying something new; how fear is healthy and necessary but should never be the sole factor in making a decision.

Fear is ever-present for me, and has played a significant role in my life so far. It's alternated between stopping me from really going for what I want, and galvanizing me into action to reach higher and strive harder. It's a tricky beast, and I've never quite got both reins in hand at the same time.

For the next three hours I'll focus on what I need to do to get past it:
1) acknowledge it - done here for all the world to see,
2) ignore it - trickier, but The Imp will wake soon and more pressing needs will take centre-stage,
3) eat breakfast and put on my game face,
and have the great time I know the next couple of days, (hell, the rest of my life!) are going to be.

What do you do to overcome the doubts that plague you? Or (gulps, looks around nervously) does this just happen to me?


  1. Hey, you're the popular one! So if you're thinking it... imagine how the rest of us are feeling, lol!

    And you don't look fat in those pants. You look freakin' fabulous!

  2. I am SO with you on all those doubts. Plus one extra for good measure, "What if all the cool groups form on the first day and I'm on the outside because I couldn't make it?" By tomorrow morning you'll be an old pro and I'll still be afraid. ;)

    I don't have any sure-fire way to get over the doubts. I just try to plow through anyway. Usually, it's not half as bad as I thought it would be. Plus, knowing how everyone else is at least as terrified helps, too.

  3. I totally understand your fears. I'm pissed that I let my fears prevent me from even buying tickets! There is always next year for me. I've really enjoyed reading your tweets today, it sounds like you're having fun!

  4. I think the reality is, you are not alone. Bet you feel a lot more relaxed about Saturday now!

  5. I LOVED hanging out with you at Northern Voice, and yes, I had the same fears (minus the bike one. I so admire you for riding your bike, I never would).

    And I'm on Blogger too because a) I'm used to it, it's easy and I don't have time to learn Wordpress and b) I'm terrified that if I try to switch I'll kill my blog. So let them scorn away, we'll be scorned together, sister!