I signed up for an improv class tonight that starts this weekend and will require four hours of driving each time for six weeks. I’ll come back to that.
I’ve been a prolific sharer for a long time, as in at least a couple of decades, I think. (Even documentary photographer, Eugene Richards, said so, when my now husband of ~16 years, Adam, and I met him around 20 years ago and almost accidentally forgot to pay for a copy of his book as the young, starstruck graduate photojournalism students we were at the time.)
I’d describe myself as what Barbara Sher refers to as a scanner or what Emilie Wapnick calls a multipotentialite. And having multiple interests means I’m always reading up on and studying something. When I meet someone new or have a conversation with someone I know and learn more about their interests, I file it away for another connection-making time. And depending on the person, I’ll sometimes follow up days or weeks later with a long list of “things they might find of interest.” Sometimes it’s appreciated and sometimes I overwhelm the recipient, I’m sure. I almost always feel vulnerable afterwards and second-guess the link bombardment probably at least 50 or 75% of the time. But something compels me to keep sharing. As a mostly introvert, maybe ambivert, or just a socially anxious and awkward occasional extrovert, I make connections through sharing and asking curious questions.
This all means that I seem to have an innate desire to share information in Slack workspaces, too, including the work workspace. As I’ve written before, when I left a job in 2019 to go independent for a few years, I was feeling quite invisible. I’ve long wanted to have and share my voice and opinions and build influence. I feel
ready (not ready) => a desire to level up and lead and influence more. And at the same time, I am often terrified to express opinions publicly, especially in a proverbial room full of smart people. I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong, that I’ll inadvertently restate something that has just been said or written, that my opinions are not my own, or that I will somehow do irreparable damage to my career through some careless and accidental written or verbal expression. It’s just about all in my anxious head, I realize, and likely a consequence of undiagnosed OCD tendencies. It causes me, at times, to stay in my own way and be stuck between wanting to have voice and being afraid to have voice.
To get past these fears, I’ve thought about publishing daily LinkedIn or blog posts, increasing the frequency of Slack sharing, therapy, career coaching, and doing things with a high likelihood of failure and rejection on purpose, like Jia Jiang. I might go back to some of these things, but for now, I settled on something I had intended to do before COVID hit, improv.
So this Saturday afternoon, and for the five Saturdays after that, I’ll drive my terrified, self-conscious self 118 miles each way to bare my fears and soul and see where I come out.
Header photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash