Could this be a good omen for our trip out to Reno for SCORE's Small Business Championship? We're heading out west soon to meet up with and network with the other finalists in the competition. We'll also be hearing about how to best grow our small business from industry experts and influencers, and how we can qualify for one of the grand prizes.
While I'm excited about this opportunity and grateful for the chance to represent our business on a national level, I have to admit that my stomach is a bit twisted in knots. You would think that after meeting thousands of people at trade shows, teaching in front of groups of strangers, and being on TV, that I would have this whole meeting new people thing down. But still... there's that little shy boy, who didn't know where to sit on the bus or was uncertain of where to have lunch. Still there's that awkward teenager who doubted his own self worth and tried to disappear into the crowd. Still there's that nervous young man on a bad blind date, and the feeling of snap judgements and impending rejection. Still there's that nervous person trying to find the right words, grabbing them from thin air like playing jacks for the first time. Sweaty palms and all.
Over the years, I've worked hard on letting go of the past and pushing myself forward. I've developed a thicker skin and learned to love myself. I've discovered secrets of body language and how to hold myself. I learned to swallow down my doubts, my fears, and my apprehensions, hoping all the while that they don't balloon up and carry my words away. But still... the echoes of my former selves linger like stains.
I've mentioned this in the past, about the nerves that I feel. I know that when I'm in the moment, everything will be okay. But it's the time before that brews these foreboding tummy rumblings of not being good enough. Will they like me? Will I make a good impression? Will I wear the right thing? Will I say what needs to be said?
It's in these moments that I cast my heart out like a net, searching for something that I can hold on to, looking for good omens in unexpected places. I know it's silly to be so superstitious. I know that a slip of paper folded up in a cookie has no sway, but still I cannot walk away from this small comfort and sign that everything will be okay.