The last thing people would ever describe me as is “shy.” People usually opt for adjectives like loud, talkative, and outgoing, but never, ever, shy. I would agree for the most part. I’m not afraid to speak my mind. In social situations, I can often be found interacting with people, new and old. But here’s the thing: I am also shy.
I know it’s hard to believe that my big mouth is shy. It’s hard to believe that I sometimes dread certain social interactions that involve me talking to strangers. It’s hard to believe that I procrastinate on making connections because I’m afraid the other party will find me to be “dumb” or a waste of their time. This doesn’t happen very often, but it is something I’ve been becoming more aware of recently. In the pursuit of growing my brand, The Wonder of Ivy, I have been attending networking events, reaching out to people to interview, and putting myself out there. I’ve made business cards, explained what I do countless of times, and it doesn’t feel to get any easier. I feel so terrified. Writing it out feels comforting but also weird.
It’s hard to explain exactly why I get so shy and scared. I am very confident of what I do with my blog and podcasts, I’m confident in my skills, and I’m confident in who I am as a person. I’ve said countless times how I only put work out that I can be proud of, so I know whatever is out, I stand fully behind. I believe wholeheartedly in what I’m doing, and I know that I will make it to my end goal. But on a professional level, when I meet people, that doesn’t hit me all the way. Whenever I email someone, I feel like they look at it and laugh. I feel as if they will dismiss me and what I do. I’m scared they don’t see the vision I do.
I know I’m 24 but a big part of me still feels like I’m 17. And even though I work full time, live on my own, and handle my life, I still feel like I’m a teenager, hiding in an adult body. I feel like the biggest pretender in the world. I know I’m not alone since impostor syndrome is a real thing. If you are unaware, impostor syndrome is where a person feels like they are not actually successful or have their talents, so they feel like they are a fraud. Now, I know I am as real as it gets, yet when I talk to people who are older or seem to be in a position where they have more “power” over me, I start to doubt myself.
Usually, a quick conversation with my loved ones or mentor can keep these feelings at bay, but I have not found the solution long term. I’m always on the edge, thinking someone will reject me, and in that rejection, dismantle what I’ve accomplished thus far; hence the reason that I’m terrified to reach out to people professionally.
I will say that I’m trying. During an interview on my podcast with P.O.C, she told me to “run towards my fears,” and I’ve been doing just that. I’ve been messaging, emailing, and hunting people down to be on my podcast. I’ve made the first moves and promoted my brand as best I can. Two weeks ago, I emailed a local radio station and asked for an internship. ( I later learned this is called a “cold email.”) I recently saw an old class mate, who is a local DJ, in public and struck up a conversation. That conversation ended up turning into an exchange of information, and has a possibility to turn into something. It’s been hard. I hit send on some emails and cringe. I want to delete my email app and never open another email again. But I know that I’m destined for something bigger in my life and I won’t achieve that by just sitting around and hoping. If I don’t make opportunities for myself, no one will do it for me. It’s scary and challenging, but nothing worth having ever comes easy. I may not be writing letters to execs tomorrow, but one day I will. It’s just baby steps until then…