I was a little nervous about running the New York City Marathon, however I’d run it before and knew I could and would get to the finish line. However, I was terrified of the outcome of the meet up that Zoe and I organised. Having social anxiety, and constantly questioning whether people do actually like me, if I say the wrong thing etc etc (read this post about my social anxiety, I will spare your the 500 million thoughts that went through my head before our meet up brunch). It was even a hesitant yes from me to do the meet up.
Amazing outfits thanks to Sweaty Betty
And then my worst fears came true.
Ok, I exaggerate, one person came…from the 15+ people that had RSVPd yes to brunch.
It confirmed to me why I had been reluctant to organise it in the first place, I was embarrassed, saddened and disappointed. It made my chest constrict, my stomach tighten and my heart hurt.
During the brunch I tried to focus on the amazing girls that did come – (HUGE congrats to Valentina who smashed her first ever marathon on Sunday, so great to meet you and Jess). I concentrated on how lovely it was to be a smaller group, to really chat between the six of us there, and to remember that a few years ago I probably would have been too nervous to attend something like this.
I also have an amazing boyfriend and Mum who also put it into perspective and made me feel better about it.
I’m not sharing this to make you feel bad for me, but to let you know that when you put yourself out there, it doesn’t always work out the way we hope it’s going to. Whether it’s putting your marathon goal time online and then missing it spectacularly (been there, done that), organising a group event that no-one shows up to (tick), or writing a blog that only your mum reads for years (also big fat tick) – they are all growing and learning experiences, and we mustn’t let them stop us taking the next step forward. We can’t let small knock backs, failures and embarrassments stop us from achieving our goals and dreams.
When we put ourselves out there, not knowing what the reaction will be, we are making ourselves vulnerable, and it is this vulnerability that is apparently key to connections. I’ve experienced that first hand, none more so than on this very blog, where the posts where I open up and talk about mental health etc, garner the most support from you amazing readers.
According to Dr Brene Brown’s Ted talk ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, being vulnerable is an unavoidable part of life, whether that’s in personal relationships, at work, or online. We can’t choose which emotions to avoid, without fear and anxiety, we wouldn’t get the same exhilaration, happiness and excitement.
We are all so deathly afraid of what other people think of us, that it can be debilitating. On our trip to Atlanta, Sophie told me that I put too much consideration into what other people will think, that I need to focus on what I think, sentiments that Tom echoed in a different conversation a week or so later. He said he never realised I worried so much about other people – probably why I’m so anxious all of the time.
I really admire Kelly from RunSelfieRepeat, who recently came under a lot of fire for sharing her political thoughts on her Instagram and Facebook page – I love that she has stuck to her guns (bad analogy in this instance – America your gun laws are whack), defended herself to those that have told her to stick to the running chat, and shared the danger of silencing those that disagree with you.
Standing out is a necessity if you want to do what you love.
Don’t shy away from your fear. Use it as a sign on where you should go next.
Let it lead you to opportunity, growth and a better life.
Yes it completely and utterly sucks when something doesn’t work out, but trying and failing is better than never trying. What have you stopped yourself doing or trying because you were too scared?
With this in mind, despite every bone in my body wanting to say I’m never going to organise anything ever again, I’m doing something for charity and organising a charity run with TRIBE through Henley on Thames on the 10th or 11th December (as yet undecided) raising funds for Unseen, aiming to end human trafficking and modern day slavery in the UK- I would LOVE if you live in the area for you to join me for a 10K run followed by cake along the Thames. More details to follow soon…
Hi Charlie, thank you for sharing this. It is so very true. I organised an even this week, not as many people as I would have wished signed up, less people actually attended. Before I kept thinking what if I cancel it? Can I cancel it? It went ahead and it was great for those who came and a message someone left saying how much they enjoyed it made it all worth it.
Those two girls who did could probably had the best time ever.
Have a lovely weekend! xxx
Love following your blog! I definitely struggle to come to terms with this and I think we all tend to shy away from potential failure. Excellent reminder to keep trying!
Hey Charlie, thanks so much for writing this- I have exactly the same kind of anxiety so I totally understand (and it really helps to know I’m not the only one)! I’d also love to join you for the run on the 10/11th – and I promise to turn up! Have a great weekend xx
I relate to all of this SO much. I often times feel paralyzed by that anxiety — no one will show up to an event I throw or people won’t like it or I’ll say something stupid. All of the above have happened.
It’s hard. And I certainly still struggle with it. This past year I’ve really focused on living fearlessly — the second I feel fear getting in the way of something I do actually want to do, I tell myself to get ballsy and just do it.
I really admire you for even posting this – I would have been tempted to just not mention it so you show immense guts in writing this.
If you’d done it in San Francisco, I promise I would have come.
(Come to SF)
Good for you for putting yourself out there and leading one of the Tribe runs, and for committing publicly to doing it! If I wasn’t so flipping injured I would definitely be there! 🙂
It’s so great that you put yourself out there, no matter what the outcome! That’s one of my goals for this year- put yourself out there and say yes to more things you’re nervous about. Proud! x
Hi well sometimes you just need to grow a tick skin shrug your shoulders &just say there loss they missed out & give the ones that was polite to make the effort to turn up an awesome time so those that thought it was better to play with there iphone than interface with a real person/people will soon realise they missed a great time so it was there loss not yours plus you had more time to spend with those that mattered than those that didn’t!
As for liking you we all love you so never worry plus you have a perfect body (from your other post)
So to me just be yourself and go for it!
There is only one person you have to please & that is yourself everyone else comes after you!
I am classed as Autistic having Asperger’s they deem us as vulnerable adult because things can make you become very inward thinking inc suicidal! but i have evolved my attitude is if you don’t like the route this bus is going well bail out as it’s going my way! my bus my route!
People might not like me mostly one’s that don’t really know me as often one’s that get to know me get on well with me ive many friends that say really respect me as i give them a straight answer with no yes yes it’s good when it isn’t i shoot from the hip sort of thing so just say it as it is.
I’d help anyone out if have problem providing honest/sincere as i can read/see through people quickly! (Asperger’s thing?)
So you see many out there not sure on things but one thing if not so popular people that are round you tend to be genuine people that value you for yourself being you as you are not someone your not plus those people aren’t flakes/bogus/shallow types.
Hope that helps.
I’m an event planner and I have social anxiety so coming at this from both angles!
First you are not alone – ‘no shows’ at events are very common. (For corporate events we plan for about 40% rate of attrition.) It’s so easy for someone to accept an invitation and then they double plan or get lazy, etc. I think people also think they’ll be the only ‘no show’ so it’s not big deal to the planner.
Second maybe some of the ‘no shows’ too may have social anxiety. I think people accept invitations because they want to attend in theory (also push their limits) but then get anxious and lose their nerve. It’s easier to hide out. I’ve done it myself…
I think it’s great that you tried. I hope this very practical response makes you feel better about your “numbers”!
This is why I don’t like having birthday parties, and have in the past actively not invited people just to avoid the disappointment of them not coming – makes no sense whatsoever, as I end up a self-fulfilling prophecy when no one bloody turns up! Great read Charlie, nice one on being so honest. This stuff is important x
This is why I don’t like having birthday parties – I’ve previously actively not invited people just to avoid the disappointment of them not coming. Which makes no sense at all because it ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and no one bloody comes! Great read Charlie – this stuff is important x
I certainly can relate to this having just set up Winter Run Club again! There was a part of me that worried no one would turn up, it is a big thing to put yourself out there, but good on you for picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and doing something else! …it is a harsh lesson to learn though; one that blogging overall has taught me, when I used to be surprised that I never felt support / got support from those who I would’ve deemed some of my nearest and dearest friends, y’know. Even blogging itself is putting yourself out there.
Here’s to keeping on, keeping on! Doing the things that scare us so we can learn and grow from the experience! xoxo
So proud of you xxx
I’m reading Brene Brown’s book at the moment which is really interesting. I don’t do all sorts of stuff because I worry terribly about what people think, whether they’ll like me, whether what I do will be successful. It has been really crippling lately and I need to make some changes. Easier said than done, right! Don’t feel bad, it was definitely the others’ loss!
HI Charlie, thanks for this post 🙂
I read your blog all the time and its inspired me in my running!
I’ve gone from struggling to finish a 5K to completing a 10K with ease (I’m doing the London Greenwich 10K MoRun on November 27th!) – so thanks so much!!!
Love your blog and following along. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and that sometimes life just happens. Amazing that you were able to connect with the two that DID show up – and that’s really what matters at the end of the day. Until next time!
Thank you Jaime!!
Thanks for this post Charlie! Totally can relate and love your advice for putting yourself out there. If I were in NYC during your meet up I would have joined you! XOX
aww thanks Amanda!! You need to meet up with my friend Jess in SF!
I would’ve wanted to join you, but then been afraid that there would be so many people and I would feel left behind and no one would want to talk to me…fill in the blank…I could drone on. I get social anxiety as well. Practice has improved this over the years. But just as I was working my way out of my shell I joined a book club. I attended every month for almost a year and made a point to talk to to people (maybe not as much as others as I was not a social butterfly to put it mildly). Then it was my turn to host. We usually had about 15-20 members come regularly. I planned a delightful spread and waited and waited and waited and only one girl came. She showed up late as well. I get teary thinking of it. It was painful. I never went back to another book club with those ladies. But me and the lone attendee became excellent friends.
Sending hugs. But please try again sometime. Don’t give up. Those other ladies were the losers. Sending another hug.
Oh no Erin, that is heartbreaking! I am so sorry that they didn’t come, but I’m so pleased that you made a great friend out of it. I wonder whether people flaking is also another massive problem – if you say you’re going to show up, then you should show up!!
Thank you for putting this out there, this message meant a lot to me yesterday when I needed to hear it. Dealing with disappointment is one of those things I have avioded and with running I have put myself ‘out there’ & yesterday something just didn’t work out with an event that I thought would…so I did the next best thing to deal with my disappointment and rejection, I went for a run. I instantly remembered why I started running in the first place…just because I could, not for races, medals or miles…just because I was now string enough to run after years of telling myself I couldn’t.
I’m so sorry to hear that but agree, a run sometimes makes everything better. I did the very same thing today, even in the pouring rain, I felt so much happier after my run!
That run along the Thames sounds lovely! I’m doing the Regents Park 10K on Dec 11th but if it’s the 10th I’d love to come – or join for the cake after, if it’s the 11th. 🙂 I just moved to London two months ago and putting myself out there to meet new people and form a new community is definitely the hardest part…it’s a constant challenge!
Awww that’s such a shame that you already have plans but definitely agree that putting yourself out there is hard! I’m doing my run in Henley to try to meet other runners in the area!
I love that you put yourself out there and organized a bloggers brunch! Had I know I definitely would have joined you! And good for you and going forth and organizing a race!
Thank you Sandra! I appreciate it x
Good on you Charlie! Don’t sweat it too much. This is how lots of great things start out. As others commenters have said, there are plenty of people that have anxiety about turning up for an event, let alone organising one. Remember the impact you are making on your blog. Keep going. You’re doing great stuff!
Thank you Iain! That means a lot!
I would totally come to an event or meet up that you were hosting! I love all your blog and social media posts. You are awesome girl!!