Since launching this website, I’m learning so many lessons that are moving me forward in my pursuit, and I'm beginning to feel like I’m on the right track. Recently, I wrote an article about adding a new section to the website (The Human Side), and I’m super excited about it. For a long time I’ve wanted to have conversations with people who dedicate their time pursuing their passions/dreams as well as learn about how they overcome their fears and doubts in doing so—this is the basis of what I struggle with most. Problem is, I’ve always had a paralyzing fear of reaching out or asking for help from people due to the possible outcome of being rejected. The fear was so deep-seated that it has prevented me from connecting with others because I didn’t think anyone would give me the time of day. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts that have widened my perspective on various topics. There was an episode that covered the importance of building community and making connections. The podcasters spoke of their own experiences with approaching individuals and how they were taken aback by the positive responses. That particular episode was the motivation and courage I needed to finally tackle this idea that had been brewing for so long.
The first email I sent off felt like a cover letter for a job. I waited anxiously, expecting an inevitable non-response because, well, that’s typically what happens when applying for a job; employers rarely respond, and when they do it’s usually a rejection. I was totally proven wrong. Maybe I’ve been on a lucky streak but every person I’ve written to has not only replied but were also willing to participate in the project, and each time I make the decision to connect with someone, I'm pleasantly surprised by their kindness. The fact that they even replied (and was nice about it!) was shocking, but for them to be nice AND willing to participate?? My mind is blown, and I've learned that people are nicer than we assume them to be.
It's been fascinating and inspiring for me to hear origin stories of each person's passion projects and/or careers, plus all of the hard work happening behind-the-scenes that nobody knows about. It's reaffirming more and more that we, humans, struggle with and search for similar things to feel fulfilled in our lives; it’s just expressed through different outlets. If there were a way to broadcast that people are kinder and more open than we give them credit, I think all of us would be less hesitant to approach one another. Asking is such a simple action but the fear of rejection is so paralyzing that it has taken years to overcome. Realistically, I know there will be a time when I'll get the cold shoulder but being able to experience kindness first has definitely given me the boost of confidence I need to hopefully brush off inevitable turndowns. It's all part of the process and although being on the receiving end of rejection is not a great feeling, it’s important to remember that the actions of other people should not dictate our self worth. A person saying 'no' doesn't mean you're not worthy. It doesn’t mean you're not gifted. It doesn’t mean you're not interesting. And, it doesn't mean you're not capable of great things.
Gotta keep on keepin' on—and to quote one of my interviewees: