In the past, that fear held me back from fully stepping out. It triggered all kinds of memories from high school: a time of dreadful loneliness and doubt, of not fitting in, of not belonging. As an adult, I got to experience that in a big way when I spent blood and sweat and lots of money to produce a play and a whopping two people showed up. They left at intermission.
These days I can laugh at that night, but for a long time it left a deep scar.
I recently got to face that fear again when I decided to start my own meet up group. Inspired by Loral Langemeier, I started the Women-Walking-Talking-Networking. Since I love to walk, and enjoy brainstorming with like minded people, I figured what a great way to network and build my community. We would meet once a week at the beach to walk, mastermind and support each others businesses. Then we’d end the walk with a five minute gratitude meditation at the water’s edge. Awesome idea! People should love it!
Even as I posted this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I could feel that fear creeping up, “what if no one shows up?”
So this morning was the first meeting. I got there early, ready to rock and roll, and guess what: No one showed up!!!!
Sure it would have been cool if 5 or 6 great women showed up and we walked and brainstormed and became life long friends (my fantasy). Instead no one showed up, and I walked alone. And that was ok. What I realized as I walked alone is that I have walked alone for the past 10 years. In the quiet of the morning, I have rejoiced in the beauty of the day, the sparking of my ideas, the greetings with strangers on the beach. Today was no different.
However, what was also important to recognize was the thing I had set in motion. The fact that I overcame this fear, I did it anyways. And the truth is that although no one actually showed up, within two weeks of posting, I had 13 brand new members. And of those 13, two did RSVP.
This morning was not a failure in any way, shape or form. True, for next week I might do things a little differently, but this was a great first step. I did it! I have to celebrate the action, celebrate the first step. True, it did not look like my fantasy, but it was a new journey set into motion.
One last thought: even though it is a joy to walk with others, ultimately, we also have to be able to stand on our own two feet. And if we want to be leaders, it may be that for a time we will walk alone. The charge is to keep on walking.
What is the step you will take today?