This time last week I went to Les Mills Tribal Gathering in Twickenham (London).
I’d ummed and ahhed about going, booking a space but not booking travel until the week before. I like going and trying the new releases and meeting people (and to be fair now unlimited CPD is now included in the price of your music I kind of think why not go to as much as possible, I’m quite keen on self development and learning). Equally however I always feel a bit apprehensive going to these things alone.
It was interesting to read on some social media forums this week that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Logically you know it isn’t the case that everyone has gone with a massive group of people and knows everyone, but when you walk into a room of chattering noise alone it can feel that way.
I’m fortunate I know quite a few Les Mills instructors around the country and have spoken to so many people via social media over the last couple of years that there’s always people I know pretty well without having ever met who I can catch up with, and it’s brilliant to put real faces to names (this is another reason I love travelling a bit further to these events – getting to meet those people). Equally, I’m naturally quite a shy anxious person so, even with all those absolute positives, there can be moments in the day when it feels a bit overwhelming and you just want to see a familiar face.
I was planning to write a blog on the topic and then saw the posts bringing the topic up and I think it’s really positive that people feel they can have these conversations and highlight those feelings, because sometimes there’s an urge to hide them away for fear of looking weak or like a billy no mates. In highlighting that it’s common for people to feel a bit nervous and alone at these events it encourages you to make the effort to speak to strangers, go up to people on there own and say hi and generally make a brilliant event even better.
I know, even though I get a bit nervous at these things, I can make conversations with people I’ve not met so it’s manageable for me, but for some people perhaps we need to be the one to go and break the ice and that’s a great reminder for us all. Equally, some people may look quite confident (I will go and chat to people I don’t know which may make me appear more outgoing than I feel) but be anxious behind that, so just smiling and saying hi to everyone is a great way to go.
It also made me remember how our new participants feel when they first walk into class. That feeling that everyone seems to know everyone and what they are doing and perhaps they don’t really belong here. It’s a great reminder of the care we need to take to make them feel welcome.
It is also worth while remembering what we would say to that participant and applying that to ourselves in a situation like this.
Ultimately, I know that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable sometimes, it’s good to make yourself do those things you’re a bit scared of sometimes even. I also know by going and enjoying the day, even if there were times I was a bit lost or nervous I overcame those feelings a bit. I had a great day, met some brilliant people in real life who I’ve known via Facebook for a while and next time I go to a Tribal Gathering alone I have a couple of positive experiences of doing so behind me to help me reduce the nerves (I also travelled to Glasgow alone).
What can I suggest you do if you’re nervous about going to the next Tribal Gathering alone or if you want to try a class at your gym but are anxious about making that first step?
- We all get nervous about stepping out our comfort zones (hopefully the above demonstrates that) – knowing these feelings are not exclusive to you can reduce their impact.
2. Find out whose going who you do know and arrange to meet before hand so you have someone to walk in with – those first few moments are normally the ones that are the hardest and once you’re moving it’s not so bad.
3. Take some time out if you need to during the event. Grab a coffee and a quiet spot and regroup (but Tribal specific that one!)
4. If you’re new to a class let the instructor know you’re a bit nervous – they’ll help ease those nerves and make sure you have a good first class… now if you’re at Tribal you might not be able to speak to the presenter beforehand but you can chat to those around you – let’s face it they too are all instructors!
5. Remember it’s always ok to leave. I can almost guarantee once you’re there you’ll have fun and decide not to, but knowing that at the start of the day / the class can help get you through the door.
Sometimes doing things you actually want to do is still hard because our brains get in the way of us – there’s ways to get over that though!