Get comfortable with the uncomfortable

I am a Type B personality.  I have always done what I have to do just to get by.  I don’t like attention and prefer to stay under the radar at work getting what is expected of me done during the day and leave at the scheduled time of 3:30 Monday through Friday.  I tend to stray away from anything that makes me feel uncomfortable.  Deciding to start my own photography business wasn’t as frightening as I thought it was going to be since I love taking photos of anything and I have been told by others that I have “the eye.”  What I didn’t calculate into starting my own business was putting any effort into it.  I just thought, hey people will see what a great job I do and refer me to their friends and so on.  While that has worked a little I need to start taking charge.  And that is one thing that makes me uncomfortable; going above and beyond rather than just sitting back and waiting/letting things happen for me. 
Last week I did two things that were uncomfortable for me.  First, I was invited to a woman’s networking event and I went.  Second, I decided to donate one of my images to help raise money at Night at the Races charity event.
On Thursday I attended my first networking event.  The woman who invited me was extremely helpful and encouraging.  I have known her for years and she was very complimentary of my work to the other woman as I shot her head shots for her business.  But, walking into a room full of Type A women is extremely intimidating.  And as a result, I was very nervous.  I am absolutely terrible at selling myself and never really know how to approach people I do not know.    Personally I despise people who are constantly talking about themselves and those pushy car salesmen type people therefore I assume (and we all know what assume-ing means, right?) everyone feels the same way I do and tend to shy away from situations that force me to either sell myself and/or approach others I am not familiar with. 
However, I found the experience to be rather pleasant after I got over the initial anxieties. The women were very sweet and seemed to be interested in what I had to offer.  The nice thing about this specific networking group of women was that each person had their own unique talent/skill to add to the group.  In other words, I was the only photographer and the woman who invited me is the only professional organizer.  I met so many different women with so many different skills to offer.  I even think I made some good connections.  This particular group of women meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month (Novembers and Decembers only once) from 7:30 to 8:45.  Unfortunately, my regular 9 to 5 starts at 7:30 and I am not able to adjust my work schedule so to make to the meetings I would have to take vacation time (and I’m not giving up my vacation time).  Silly adult working life rules.  Even though I will most like not be joining this group of woman I am grateful to be given the opportunity to meet such interesting women and hope to hear from them sometime in the near future. 
On Friday, I went with a few of my coworkers to a Night at the Races charity event to raise money for a local psychiatrist who makes various trips to Russia to give children in orphanages things they need.  These needs range from eye glasses to medications to building blocks for play.  My one coworker bought us a table and another one bought two horses to bet on.  I had been thinking for some time about donating one of my photos I have taken to bid on but was hesitant because I feared no one would bid on it because they did not like it.  I told this to my husband and he responded with, “Who cares?  That doesn’t mean you are any less of a person.”  And as much as I hate to admit it he was right. I must admit I did get a little anxious throughout the night wondering if anyone placed a bid on the photo.  But then I would drink some more wine and all would be okay again (I know I know… not the best way to cope).  Someone did bid on it and seemed pretty excited to take it home to hang on her wall. 
As I have mentioned before, my day to day is spent being a psychiatric rehabilitation worker for a nonprofit organization in Beaver, PA.  As part of my job I facilitate and lead group discussions on different topics such as anxiety and Depression.  I am always preaching “you never know until you try,” “just because it is uncomfortable it doesn’t make it wrong” and “the only way to overcome your fears is to face them.”  Last week I decided to listen to my own advice.  Now, I can honestly say it works when asked “how do you know it works?” 
To some these things may seem petty but for me they were large steps.  Both situations restored my confidence in my abilities not only as a photographer but also as a woman who is starting to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.


  1. Congrats on putting yourself out there!! Living in a place where I didn't know anyone has made me go to so many weird/odd/uncomfortable events where I feel silly and nervous just like you did. I've found that 99% of the time they go OK. I totally understand how difficult it is to just throw yourself into that situation!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kristen! I appreciate the feedback, support and adivce. You are a lot braver than me though. Going into a new city/situation is intimidating enough but one where a completely different language is spoken is just plain terrifying. Bravo!


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