So, after failing to show up for two BNI meetings, I signed up for a third one on a Thursday evening at 8.30 as a dare to myself, just to see if I can keep my word. The meeting was for 0645 the following morning.
Suffice to say that I barely slept that night. I shut the alarm even before it went off, showered and made my way to the meeting. It was bitterly cold and dark and I desperately wanted the whole ordeal to be over and done with. I did not have any business cards with me and for some reason, I didn’t think I needed one (I was only going somewhere to promote my business, why would I need a business card?).
My bigger concern at that point was to not chicken out at the door that these shortcomings didn’t cross my mind. I parked outside the venue, sat in the car for a good while gathering my wits and willing myself to out of the car.
At this point, I have to interrupt the narrative and say that I have taken part in some activities that many would consider daunting and some would consider impossible (more about what those are in another post) and yet, this simple act of being in a room full of strangers and networking with them was shattering my confidence.
Was it because I thought they would find out that I was a fake? A pretender? A charlatan whose mask was barely covering her face? I think, I was grappling with the imposter syndrome and drowning in its wake.
I couldn’t remain in the car park forever and so, I hauled myself to the door which could have been made out of concrete as I tried to pull it open. I forced myself to smile and prepared to be flattened by an army of super efficient, hyper professional, mega talented business owners. But was instead greeted by a cheerful group of perfectly normal people who seemed pleased to have a newbie in their midst. I made myself a tea and mingled with those in my midst, each appearing ordinary, interested and dare I say it, pedestrian even. I looked outside, it was still cold and damp. My eyes returned to the relentless cheer of the motley group milling about the room and I let myself relax. I would be okay.