Sunday, May 30, 2010

Confidence is the Key to Success

Friday night I held my first Singles Workshop: "Humor in Mid-life Dating" at a local Panera. When I originally scheduled the workshop, I figured I could easily fill the community room to capacity - 40 people. After all, I have over 600 Facebook friends and loads of "real" friends! Of course, I'd be able to get 40 people to a free event. We might be able to squeeze over 40 into the room if the late-comers would be willing to stand. I'd have to find out if there were crowd restrictions due to safety regulations at Panera and be prepared to turn away the hoards of people that would be knocking at the door. "Let us in!" they'd plead. "We NEED to learn the fine points of humor in mid-life dating! Without this workshop, we will forever be stuck in dating hell!"

I created an event on Facebook, and sent an email to every friend I could think of and eagerly checked the Facebook RSVP page the next day.


It was me.

Then I got another great idea. I'd have a panel of relationship coaches in the area. They could promote their own books and services and bring in their own huge crowd! I got four coaches that agreed to be on the panel and help me promote the event.

A week passed.Four more people RSVP'ed.

They were all the panelists.

More tweeting. "It will be fun!" I told my "friends" hoping I sounded convincing. "I don't go to those single events. Those are for desperate losers," said an anonymous desperate loser.

I got my friend, Michael, to RSVP, even though he didn’t think he could go. “People are more likely to go if they see others RSVP’ing,” I told him.

On the day of the event, I was reduced to begging. "I don't care if you're married, single, old, young, geek, cougar, dog, or Laptop, come to this GREAT event!"

I got a response: “Please take me off your email distribution list.”

HORRORS! Had I crossed the boundary? My inner critic shouted out to me, “No one wants to hear from you! You are bugging your friends. You are the worst kind of emailer. You have become …. a SPAMMER!”

I cringed in shame. Should I go to confession? “Bless me Father, for I have spammed.”

I considered cancelling. "It's going to be embarrassing," I whined to Michael. It will just be the panel and maybe one or two people who will be all awkward and thinking, "wow... this is really awkward."Faithful friend that Michael is, he said he would really go.

"You are NOT going to cancel. You're going to go and be your geeky, confident, crazy self, because you're the Laptop Dancer!" It was a pretty good pep talk. Plus, I know Michael really needs a lot of help with middle-age dating. The 100’s of hours of counseling I’d already given him wasn’t helping.

So I went.

It turned out that there were about 25 people! (Apparently, many people do not like to RSVP. ) The panelists did an excellent job. There were questions, there was discussion, there was laughing. It was a very successful and fun event!

As the group talked about the importance of confidence in dating, I realized that the same thing applies to everyday life. It's so easy to let our insecurities rule us. We are so worried about being embarrassed or judged. We don't want to be labeled as a 'loser' or 'desperate.' If no one shows up to an event we host, we feel unpopular and rejected.

But as we talked about at the workshop, rejection is all in our mind. If someone doesn't want to date us, we immediately assume there is something wrong with us. There are all kinds of reasons why someone might not want to date us that have nothing to do with us! It might be timing, distance, differences in interests. Maybe we remind them of their ex or maybe they just aren't over their latest love. Maybe we are just too good-looking for them and they'd feel insecure. (Yeah, that's my favorite thing to imagine when someone isn't interested in me.)

The point is that we can NOT let our insecurities get the best of us! Whether we are dating, hosting an event, or doing anything else that brings us out of our comfort zone, we need to quiet that inner critic and remain confident. We need to hold our heads high and be proud. Whether we strike out or hit it out of the ballpark is not really the issue. As long as we DO it, whatever IT is, we will succeed. (Of course, now that my event was successful, it’s a lot easier for me to say that rather than the alternative, “I am NEVER going to do that again!”)


Rebecca S. Mullen said...

So glad you had a good event. I love this post because I can't tell you the number of times I've felt insecure about parties, friendships or work.

It's nice to know there are others who struggle and push forward anyhow.

Mark Tidd said...

Another funny and insightful blog Yvette. Actually, your experience with and Evite and checking the RSVP's spoke to all of us neurotics who check the "Who's Coming" replies at least hourly. We'd like to say it's so we know how much food to prepare but it probably has more to do with the convenience of having our popularity or worth quantified right there before our eyes. I remember the time I felt a surge of confidence in my popularity when a party we were having had 50 people coming within the first hour I sent it out. Upon closer examination I found at that the one person who replied said they'd bring 49 friends. My confidence plummeted as quickly as it had shot up.
The other morning Leanne was reading out loud from Laptop in bed and we were both thoroughly amused and laughing together. Your book deserves a big audience Yvette!

Unknown said...

Yvette, you are my role model! I am just starting up my own workshops and presentations for "Planning, Preparing and Peace." I will use your humor to get me through this initial ramp up. I really think Laptop Guy is helping you more than the naked eye can see.