Why I'm Not Going to BlogHer (How My Fears Held Me Back)

I don’t really share a lot of personal posts on Pretty Opinionated because they don’t exactly fit the overall theme, but I thought I would share this harsh lesson with others who may benefit from it. BlogHer starts in just two days, and the pre-parties are already kicking off. All the wonderful bloggers that I interact with on Facebook groups are sharing their excitement about getting on planes and heading to the Big Apple, talking about all the people they’ll meet and the wonderful stuff they’ll be doing. Me? I’m crying on my deck and kicking myself for letting my fear get the best of me.

BlogHer 2012 is less than 90 minutes from my house. I have a way to get there. I have a babysitter for my son. What I don’t have, however, is a ticket. Why? Because I was too afraid to pitch for sponsors. I was terrified that they’d look at my pitch and think “why on earth would we pay to send this little blogger to a conference?” The sad thing is, I didn’t even need much in the way of sponsorship funds because, had I gone, I even would have had a place to stay right outside the city.

Fear of rejection from potential sponsors was just a part of what held me back. Deep down, fear of rejection wasn’t really what kept me from pitching. Fear of getting accepted scared me even more. BlogHer is huge! Thousands of people from all over come out to meet, mingle, and forge connections. That means crowds. Large, messy, tangled crowds of people I don’t know. I would have to be eloquent, to represent both my sponsor and my site in the best way possible. While that’s all fine and dandy on my own site, where no one can see me backspacing a million times to get my words out exactly how I like them, in person you don’t get to backspace.

What am I scared of, exactly? Well, here’s a bullet-point list (yes, I even list my fears with bullet-points, it’s a weird obsession)

  • Fear that everyone will figure out I’m not nearly as eloquent in person as I am online.
  • Fear that no one actually thinks I’m eloquent online either!
  • Fear that I’ll freeze up, stand in a corner the whole time, and not accomplish anything.
  • Fear that I’ll trip and fall over something, end up taking out an entire table, and embarrass myself.
  • Fear that I won’t even be noticed at all because I’m not nearly as awesome as I think I am.
  • Fear that no one will talk to me because I’m not cool enough (thanks a lot, high school, for ruining me for life!)

The thing is, I know most of these fears are ridiculous. Well, except the one about tripping and taking out a table. I am a Class A Klutz, after all! By giving into my fears, all I’ve accomplished is having another day to sit at home and do laundry. I’m not going to BlogHer because I let fears overcome what could have been an amazing opportunity.

I’m vowing right here, in front of all my readers, that I will learn to overcome those fears and not let my anxiety hold me back any longer. I may not make it to BlogHer 2013 (it depends on where it is), but I will make it to at least one conference in the next year, and I will be witty, charming, and successful.

What about you? Have you ever missed out on something because you were too scared to go for it?