Intimidation is a funny thing. For me, it’s a whole roller coaster of emotions.
It’s what follows after getting a great first impression or having a long term admiration for a person who is subjectively better/smarter/richer/more accomplished and successful than you.
On the other hand, intimidation is the prerequisite to feeling bad. To feeling embarrassed, envious, belittled and, ultimately, overwhelmed and disappointed.
This line of emotions is exactly what I’ve experienced this past weekend. I attended a digital communications conference that not only was super impressive in terms of organization and general enlightenment it brought to Moldova’s marketing and journalism industries, but it also acted as a huge test of character for me.
Spoiler alert: I failed this test.
I realized that intimidation is still something I’m very much prone to, despite feeling really good about myself. Sure, I will attend the thing, looking good, feeling fabulous (even turning heads). I will listen to the presentations, feeling all important and blessed to be a part of this industry. I will feel a brief moment of enthusiasm to approach the speakers and thank them for sharing their vision with the audience…
HOWEVER, feeling good does not change the fact that I still don’t know shit. I might as well have used my diploma to wipe my sweat and drool, seeing all those accomplished people (sorry for the visual). Feeling good is not enough. One also needs to show a certain level of awareness, curiosity and value.
Additionally, regardless of how cocky I felt, I realized that I am the biggest p*ssy when it comes to talking to new and, more importantly, successful people.
For instance, being a self-proclaimed professional Youtube content consumer, I full on lost my shit when I saw local Youtubers at this conference. They were right in front of me. I could’ve easily walked up to them but did I? Nope. An editor from Tech Crunch (holy shit, I know) attended the summit and gave a brilliant presentation on start-ups. The whole time the man was talking, I was mentally practicing my opening statement for when I approach him during break time, whilst saying ‘bitch, you can do this’ to myself. Did I walk up to him? No.
Anyhow… Both days ended with a panic attack for me. The conference itself was awesome and great, and well-organized and highly beneficial, and it did make me feel good overall. Also, complimentary cappuccino, don’t mind if I do. Yet both times I left with a pulsating head ache, a stare in my eyes as if I’ve seen death itself, while also hyperventilating and sweating profusely.
I took part in one of the most interesting and fulfilling experiences one can take part in, living in Moldova (if you don’t count binge drinking wine until you pass out). And yet, why do I feel defeated, yet again?
That’s the thing with intimidation. The people who intimidate you do not necessarily intend to do that. Why would they? It all boils down to your own insecurities and preconceptions and at the end of the day, you decide yourself whether you want to be intimidated or not.
Main point that I want to get across: in life, you will feel intimidated a lot, but that’s ok, as long as you don’t let it crush you and throw every resource you have to conquer your insecurities.
Speaking off a perfect segue, I have just enrolled in this 7 day email course on “How to Become a Networking Master” offered by The Muse. How coincidental, isn’t it? If you wish to master the art of making small talk with people in suits, perhaps enroll as well, so that we can be messes together and I don’t feel as alone, as I felt at the conference? Yes, no, maybe?
PS. I can’t insert a hyperlink for this exact article, because you have to be signed up. So head over to www.themuse.com/advice, sign up, find this article and join the “class” 🙂
Let’s all pray now it helps.