Even when I know they are about good things.
I have a meeting scheduled for this afternoon. I like and respect the person I have a meeting with and have literally nothing to worry about.
Have I been worried about it since the first time my eyes cracked open? Yes!
Is this meeting about something negative? It is not!
Do I know the topic of the meeting? Yes!
Is it an open ended meeting? Nope, there is a hard out.
Have I been able to get anything else done? (Well, yes, I can worry about a meeting while I do the dishes, but other work? NAH)
Here's the thing, this is a meeting with a client who I worked with on a project for the last couple months. We redesigned the packaging on their line of adult toys and CBD Salve sticks.
(I'll share the updated packaging once they've announced it themselves, I'm really happy with how it turned out! But they get the big reveal of their updated brand, not me!)
So the call today is about what's next! They liked working with me so much, they want to keep working with me, so we wanna talk about what projects we can collab on next,
That's what this meeting I'm so worried about is all about. My brain has spun itself up into this tornado of worry about all of these ridiculous things that aren't in a million years gonna happen.
But here are the things I'm worried about before this meeting:
- The initial work was NOT good and they want to redo everything.
- They want to 'let me down easy' by ending our professional over the phone instead of via the written word.
- They want to let me know that they realized I am a fraud, an imposter!
- They have been keeping up with me on social media and do no wish to work with an insane person.
- They will notice my teeth aren't good and be disgusted at me (I am realizing now I have a lot of insecurities related to this)
I'm also afraid I'm gonna make a reference they aren't familiar with, or a joke about something so Jacki-specific that they will never want to work with me again.
(Meet Karen Hausman, Business Stuffie)
This photo is a visual representation of me doing other work to get this offa my mind. Of course, while I was doing that other work, I also thought about this a lot.
I find myself doing that quite often lately. Especially when something seems like it's unfounded. Like this, my worry is unfounded, so why am I worried? Let's get to the bottom of this!
As it stands, I've been thrilled with our working relationship in a way I've not been in my entire working life. They seem similarly delighted with me.
I mean, I brought an emotional support stuffie to one of our first meetings and they still chose to work with me.
But after spending some reflection time trying to figure out why I am so nervous about a GOOD MEETING, I realized my brain is also ramping me up to mask.
While I find myself masking a lot less these days, meetings and phone calls are a place I find myself slipping that mask back on.
And it's exhausting. Like, I'd done it so extreme for so long that the simple act of not doing it has freed up so much brain space.
I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed drinking so much. When I drank, I know I didn't think about "wearing" my mask as much, so my brain got a break from doing all this silent work.
I don't think it's a valid way to deal with masking anymore, but it was a crutch for many years.
What I'm finding now is that, if I surround myself with the right sort of people, I don't need the mask. That realization came for my friends first. I've been immensely happy releasing myself from worrying about folks that don't matter and adopting this attitude:
If they don't like the thing I'm saying/doing/liking, I'll take a step back and listen to what they are saying about it.
Like, really listen, and look at myself in relation to their "complaint".
If I find something valid there, I'll thank them for bringing it to my attention and start working on it.
And if the complaint is unfounded or was said to just be contrary or argumentative, I'll take a closer look at that friendship and how it's serving me.
That's one of the ways I'm learning to grow.
OK, it's almost time for this meeting, so wish me luck. Gonna try to do an "eye mask" only meeting today.
That's where I make an effort to make eye contact (normally I do not) but just let the rest of my Jacki-ness fly. I'll let you know how it goes.