All through school, I was always the shy kid. I think a little had to do with switching schools at a crucial age. I had lived with both of my parents until I was 10, then just my mom until I was 12, then I moved in with my dad and started 7th grade at a new school. I knew nobody and that’s the time in life when people start forming cliques and ignoring the new kids.
I had a few friends here and there, but all the way until college, I wasn’t really known, I was almost a loner, I didn’t go to parties or hang out with the cool kids, or get into trouble, or anything. I played it safe, I didn’t stand out, I was shy, and I mostly just kept to myself.
Once I got to college, I came out of my shell a lot more. It was the chance to reinvent myself. 99% of the people here didn’t know me, so I could be more of myself without being judged. This was also the time when I discovered that alcohol can make me the life of the party. I wish I never learned that, because for the next 10-12 years, I used that as a crutch to be more open and sociable, and get out there more, and do things I was too afraid to do without it.
After college I had several jobs, all of which were in my field of graphic/web design. When it came time to quit each one, I was extremely nervous. This took me back to high school and I would panic and have extreme anxiety about how to tell my boss I was leaving the company. Even when I built up the courage to explain what I was doing, I was still dreading it while in the middle of the conversation. It didn’t go away until I was walking back to my desk, and then I was having a mini celebration in my head.
The feeling you get in those moments is magical. You feel on top of the world. Free. Like you have so much power. I just told a boss I’m going to quit and go onto bigger and better things. Then I’d get that new job, and a couple years later, oh no, it’s time to do it all over again. The fear and scariness of it all come back just like it did before. The older I got, it didn’t matter, I was still nervous as ever. And after I did it, and was walking to my car to go home, the same excitement came rushing back too. No matter how nervous something made me, I just knew if I would get through it, great things are waiting for me right around the corner.
Fast forward to 2015, even just a month or two ago, hell, even last night. I’ve been doing my own podcast for several weeks now (Risk Without Regret) and it took me forever to be comfortable enough to hear my recorded voice. I was so nervous for the world to hear me talk. So I just said screw it, and recorded the first episode. I then sent it out to my closest friends and family for them to critique it before I sent it out to the masses. They all said I sounded great and that I had nothing to worry about. Little did they know, but that was the fuel I needed to keep it going.
A week or two after that, I scheduled my first interview, and I was stoked to add that to my calendar. I couldn’t believe I actually was getting the chance to talk with someone I’ve looked up to for years. And even though this person was/is a good friend, I was still nervous. And every day, hour, minute that led up to our phone call, I became more nervous than you could imagine. But once I said hello on our Skype call, all of that went away. It became natural and easy, all I had to do was talk to my friend.
Why was I making a big deal out of this? And when it was all said and done, it got shared all over the world and everyone loved it. Someone actually reached out to me after hearing the podcast and wanted me to interview him. Awesome things were happening! And I interviewed another friend last night, and the same nervousness came over me, until I just went for it. My job today is to edit our conversation and share that with the world. I know it’s gonna strike a chord with people and everyone will love it, that’s why I knew I just had to go for it, and basically just do it.
Great things are going to continue to happen if I keep getting out of my comfort zone, keep putting myself out there, and keep doing the things I love. So no matter how nervous something makes you, know that it’s probably a good thing that it does. To me, that nervousness is like a hurdle, if you can just make it over that, the rest of the race is a piece of cake (gluten-free of course). And once the race is finished, you’ll look back and think, geez, that was way easier than I thought it was gonna be, why didn’t I start this all sooner, or why did I act like I couldn’t do it. So get out there, do what you love, get nervous, and great things will happen for you!