Editor’s Note: Every month we send out a newsletter with info on upcoming events, giveaways, links to stuff we love and a letter to our readers. Below is our September letter. P.S. – If you’re interested in getting our newsletter, click here.
“You need to be willing to be uncomfortable,” my therapist explained. He’d instructed me to ask my husband to lock me in our bathroom as “exposure therapy” for my fear of confined spaces.
No problem, I thought! I imagined having uninterrupted time to catch up on the newest issue of Sunset Magazine or painting in my sketchbook. Heck, I could probably balance a charcuterie plate on the corner of the tub. And if I had meats and cheeses – why not a glass of wine?? I’d already become an exposure therapy master — and I hadn’t even done it yet!
And then, my therapist shot down the dream and said I couldn’t bring any of those things in the bathroom. AND – the point of the exercise was to fully immerse myself in my fear and feel ALL of my anxiety.
In other words, the goal was to eventually become completely and utterly comfortable being uncomfortable. Whhhaaatt!??
Why not toss a few snakes and some lizards in with me so I could conquer those fears too?! I could already feel my left eye twitching and my throat getting dry thinking about what would happen if my husband couldn’t let me out for some reason. In my mind, I was already drinking bathtub water from the tiny plastic NyQuil cup and snacking on my brown sugar body scrub.
Me hoping to escape the discomfort (A.K.A. terror) of being trapped in my bathroom — reminded me of the time I “busted through” my social anxiety to go to a creative conference. I spent months wavering on whether or not the time away from my business and family would be worth it. But then realized the cost of me taking similar workshops workshops online or in person was more than five times what I’d spend at the conference.
I would have to face my fear about networking with strangers for the benefit of my business. I carefully planned out my schedule with serious stuff (like a workshop on branding) – and pushed myself toward fun social gatherings (like an outer space-themed dance party).
Those first few days weren’t stellar. When I wasn’t in a scheduled workshop, I holed up in my hotel room watching Parks & Rec and ordering room service. Somehow spending a good portion of my carefully planned budget on overpriced chicken tenders and soggy french fries was preferable to making eye contact or conversation with a stranger. In a room full of friends, you can’t shut me up. But when surrounded by strangers, I turn inward and get overly self-conscious.
BUT, eventually I convinced myself to get out of that bed. I forced myself to put on the silver dress I’d bought for $10 at a thrift store, walked out of our hotel room and into the space party. And, there, outside my comfort zone is exactly where the magic happened. That’s where I ended up meeting a group of down-to-earth, hilarious, smart and creative women.
That’s where I found myself laughing so hard that I heaved margarita out of my nose at one of those fancy Instagram-ready hotels. We gladly overshared about our lives, hopes, fears, businesses and secret crushes in a Palm Springs swimming pool. And although I didn’t know them, I didn’t feel they were strangers. I just hadn’t met them yet. I’ve continued to benefit from this experience some five years since I attended that conference. And if the organizer decides to have another, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to sign up again.
So, what’s something on your dream list that fear or anxiety has been stopping your from going after? Maybe it’s something small like drinking more water or big like finally pursuing your life-long goal of starting your own business or becoming besties with Oprah or something in the middle like attending a conference.
If it’s the last one and you’re looking to start or grow your business, discover or rediscover your inner maker, or take a break from your routine and learn something new while networking with fellow makers at the beach in California … join us at our business and makers conference Craftcation (registration opens on 10.5.18 at 9:00am PT and the first 50 people to register get $50 off!).
We’ve planned networking events especially for introverts and first timers. And you’ll be invited to join our private online community – where you can meet fellow attendees and alums in a no pressure setting. You might even find a potential bestie before you arrive. That’s on top of nearly 200 craft and business workshops, gatherings, activities and parties that are all geared to help you have a life-changing weekend where you create, learn and connect.
I can’t promise you that you won’t have any uncomfortable moments at Craftcation, but I do know from experience that sometimes these moments can lead to something incredible. And I DO know without a doubt that it’ll be a MILLION times better than being locked in a bathroom with snakes. And, no cheese. Hope to see you next April.