After recently attending a huge in person event, I thought I’d write this guide to reducing social anxiety and building emotional resilience when attending events. Whether the event is for business or simply a social event, the basic tools I share with you here are relevant and could be fun to try out!
Even though I don’t see myself as someone in need of reducing social anxiety, it can be something that sneaks up on you unexpectedly, like it did for me.
Even though I’d been looking forward to going to an event being held in Newcastle, UK, I nearly didn’t go.
“I’ve been so busy in the lead up to it.
I’ve hardly been at home.
I’ve not looked at all the speakers or attendees
I’m not ready
I don’t really have time
I should really catch up at home
I’ve got a stack of work to do
It’s too bloody hot to drive all that way…”
On and on went my monkey mind trying to hold me back, keep me “safe” within my comfort zone and keep me small.
In person events can be tough. They can bring up all kinds of emotions and anxieties.
Trigger negative memories – perhaps even past traumas of events/interactions that did not go well from years and years ago.
On so many levels it can seem easier to stay at home.
But life is for living.
Experiencing. Tasting. Touching. Learning. Laughing. Expanding and growing.
What more could be possible for you if you stepped out of your comfort zone and into the event?
So reducing social anxiety and getting yourself out there is your chance to experience more of the good stuff in life.
A new city (I’ve never been to Newcastle before).
An array of interesting speakers.
A plethora of amazing people
And the whole experience has taught me so much. It’s helped me:
Refine and improve the way I talk about my business
Reminded me of the fun and joy that face to face interactions can be
Allow myself more flexibility as I navigate the practicalities of interactions – the queuing, the seating, the food, the clothing…
So I created this handy guide to reducing social anxiety and building emotional resilience at events:
Don’t make yourself wrong
Whatever thoughts, feelings or emotions that are coming up for you, you’re not wrong or stupid. You are a sentient being. Whatever you are feeling, sensing or perceiving is just information. Not all information is relevant or valuable. You get to choose what you do with this information. Some great questions to ask are:
Is this relevant?
If I wasn’t wrong, what could I choose?
Is this mine?
(click here for blog post on “who does it belong to?” where I talk about how we pick up energetically on the thoughts, feelings, fears and emotions of others – even before an event starts!)
Remind yourself why you are going
Remind yourself of why you are going. Why do you care? What makes you care about this event. About these people. About this occasion. About the event topic. What attracted you to the event in the first place? Is that still relevant to you?
What contribution will this event be?
What could going to this event contribute to you? To your business? To your life and joy of living?
What would you like to receive from the experience? What gift could your presence be that you’ve not yet acknowledged?
“Contribution” is the simultaneous gifting and receiving. There cannot be receiving without gifting. There cannot be gifting without receiving.
An event would be nothing without participants.
Your participation is a gift to the whole experience of the event for everyone.
What are you willing to receive from your attendance?
Not forever, just for now
Remember, you can leave at any time. Don’t force yourself to commit to a whole big event.
Take each step of the event at a time. Make an agreement with yourself that you’ll go for this specific section. You can always leave. If it helps you, create an “easy out”. An unquestionable reason for you to leave. I like to have a few “back up” easy outs:
An easy out from a conversation you don’t want to have
Denise Duffield-Thomas, money mindset mentor calls it “Bean dipping” if someone is asking you questions you don’t want to answer in a social setting, Denise suggests diverting attention by saying something like
“Have you tried the bean dip?”
Questions are such a great “easy out”, questions or comments that divert the attention back to them, especially ones that invite them to talk about themselves.
“Which speaker did you resonate with most?”
“What inspires you to do the work that you do?”
“What an interesting necklace you’re wearing”
You can also allow the movement of conversation to give you physical movement and move yourself right out of the situation!
An easy out from the event
What would work for you as a smooth and swift exit?
Here are some suggestions:
“Notice” a message that requires your immediate attention / action.
Suddenly remember there’s something that you need to handle
Traffic, travel difficulties / getting late / got to get back before dark etc
Feel free to keep it vague and remember, you can leave at any time for any reason or even no reason at all!
You get to choose
Remember it’s your choice.
It’s your choice.
If you’re struggling to decide, here are some tools that could help:
If I choose this, what will it create?
If I don’t choose this, what will it create?
Whatever you choose, allow yourself to be in awareness of your choice. It’s not about making the right choice or the wrong choice. It’s about making choices that work for you. Make your choice. Choose your experience. Afterwards, allow yourself of the awareness of what that has created for you. The awareness is simply information. Information that you can use when it comes to the next time that you have an event to go to.
And most importantly, whether you go, or don’t go. Whether you have an awful time or amazing time. Whether you have fun or FOMO. It’s all there to inform your awareness and build your emotional resilience and muscles of choosing for next time.
What’s on the diary with Niki? Find out more about events with me here https://calendly.com/choosingfortoday