External shakeup

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb

I had my first networking event on Friday and it didn’t go so well. I’m trying to organize a chapter of a national media networking group and the first event (for my chapter) was movies then mingling at a bar about a mile away.

A girl e-mailed me at the last minute to tell me that she wanted to come to the event and bring five people. Sure, I said. “See you then!” Another guy, who lived two hours away, said he couldn’t make the movie but would try to meet at the bar. Sure, I said. He wasn’t definitive in his commitment, but I was worried that he’d drive all that way only to not find me. I called my husband, told him he didn’t have to make an emergency appearance because a girl was bringing five other people with her. Another girl — RSVP girl — had e-mailed me a while ago to tell me she was coming and never wavered from her commitment.

I arrived at the movie theater early and waited. Despite the large amount of people swarming outside, RSVP girl showed up on time and found me. Last-minute girl with five people never showed up. RSVP girl couldn’t go to the bar afterward, which was fine since she’d told me that beforehand. I figured the guy out in the boondocks might show up.

I went to the bar, called my husband to pick me up and sat there all alone for one hour until he showed up.

I’d never felt like such a complete idiot or total fool since I got made fun of in high school. But this time, no one was pointing fingers and laughing at me but myself. I immersed myself in Glamour magazine and an Amaretto Sour. Considering that I’m not much for the bar scene, I felt terrible. Add in the fact that I was tired, came to the event straight from work and was having a bad hair day, everything was that much worse.

All weekend I tried to cheer myself up with pleasant thoughts about the situation: “There can be no success without failure” and “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

By Sunday night, my cheery demeanor was at its max. I got depressed while working on other projects and finally broke down, sobbing.

I revealed to my husband that despite my positive thinking, I’d felt like an idiot all weekend and all I could do was obsess about how pathetic I looked with one person showing up to the movie and no one else showing up to anything at all.

I’d prepped myself previously by asking other city coordinators if low turnout at the first few events is normal. Most replied with a resounding “yes” and told me to not give up.

But I evaluated the situation and noticed a few mistakes:

  • Identification: I didn’t identify who I was, how people would find me or where I’d be located
  • Contact information: I failed to re-e-mail my cell number to those attending

But I’ve learned from my mistakes and despite my social phobias, I’m planning another event for the end of the month. I don’t consider myself resilient, but after not completely hiding in my bed after something like this, I’m beginning to think otherwise. I’m not accustomed to this positive thinking thing.

If at first I don’t succeed, I must try, try again.

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