Today I’ll tell you a story that ends with a moral, like the ones by Aesop I read when I was little.
It’s a story of bravery and I am the main character. I start by saying I don’t feel to be a particularly brave person, on the opposite I’m full of fears, uncertainties and paranoias and I pass a lot of my time trying to fight and overtake them.
This is why from time to time I decide to force myself doing something that would make me feel “awkward”, that would make me leave my comfort zone; it’s not easy, especially at the start, but I think about it as going to the gym: after some time you get used to the first exercise and it will become normal, letting you push yourself further.
Dawn of WabiSabi coworking shared it on her profile and I really wanted to take part in it, even more since I’m trying to get to know some new people here in Belfast; after some hesitation I decided to go.
As you can imagine I didn’t know anyone and I was pretty nervous since I’m timid and I was going to take part to an event in another language (I know, I know: I talk and understand english pretty good, but still I can’t get used to this), with people with a social attitude different from mine. Also I was not sure of what was happening during the two hours of the meetup and I was scared by the idea of maybe having to introduce myself in public (with my italish accent!!!) or maybe of not being in the right place: after all it was a meeting event for Belfast’s bloggers and I’m just only half here…Well, I’m sure that for many of you to take part to an event like this would be actually easy, maybe even fun, but for me it wasn’t at all. While I was walking all alone, listening to my mp3 player, among the streets of Belfast, all these paranoias where interchanging and earning their space in my head.
Breathe, breathe, breathe: over there you can already see the meetup place 😉
Finally at Farset Labs, a place that I already knew from my reasearch on coworking places in Belfast, I went in the event’s room and I sat; for once in my life I was early: I misunderstood the time 😀
Here is the worst part of my story: when I entered the room there was a tv troupe interviewing one of the event’s organizers; trying to not be in the middle I sat in a corner, but then I remained there, isolated, even when the rest of the people started to come: after some time I didn’t know how to get talking and I could feel some awkwardness from the others for the same motivation.
How to exit an awkward situation like this? As a good italian, once more (it did happen already at my first coworking day), I’ve been saved by coffee: as cups and jugs arrived I took a decision and I left my corner to venture in the middle of other bloggers. There I started to talk with two collagues and finally I felt less uncomfortable. From here ahead things started to get better and better: after a bit the programmed speeches started and some bloggers told their experiences. In particular the event ended with the talk of a professional SEO and I (incredible!) took the risk of asking a question! 😉
Therefore, at the end it was a way less terrifying experience than I expected: no one made me feel out of context because I am a foreigner and the natural irish inclination for socialisation helped a lot. When the event ended I went to the appointment with Stevie, who was waiting for me in a club in the city, and I felt so brave and proud while walking alone once more through the streets of a foreign place after taking part to an event to which some years ago I wasn’t going for sure!
Moral: getting to know people when you are abroad, especially when they are locals, is not easy. Nonetheless often we are our worst enemies: to ease down is comfortable, as well as to close ourselves to the outside for the fear of not being accepted; this is why, from time to time, we would have to remember to do something that is making us feel uncomfortable. The satisfaction of overcoming fear and showing to ourselves our bravery has no price!