"Social anxiety is a feeling of discomfort, fear, or worry that is centered on our interactions with other people and involves a concern with being judged negatively, evaluated, or looked down upon by others. While it can often happen during the social exchange itself, it may also pop up in anticipation of a social occasion, or afterward when we review our performance in a given situation." - Social Anxiety Support .com
When you start talking about what The OWN provides, you start talking about community and networking.
For many, that's a very doubled edged sword. At first thought, community often seems comforting, homey, and familiar. However, after those initial niceties, "community" sometimes feels a bit uncomfortable, too. Community can cause the realization that you'll quite possibly need to meet new people within that organization. As for "networking"- that can feel like a whole other ballgame.
So many of those that come into The OWN to join, or inquire about services have expressed these discomforts when on the topic of our monthly social events. Time and time again, we're reassuring people from all walks of life that these events are to take advantage of on your own terms. If your schedule or comfort won't allow, don't feel pressured to come. Simple enough!
However, many in our network (men and women alike) feel a level of discomfort or anxiousness around attending events of any kind. Many of them resonate with "social anxiety disorder", and express considerable concerns about whether or not any network is for them.
While we cannot determine what is an appropriate fit for everyone within The OWN or any other organization, we can reassure (as many times as it takes) that it's okay to be a part of something that's a little outside your comfort zone. It's okay to feel scared, nervous, or intimidated by other professionals or peers. It's also okay to feel insecure around a group of people, even if your job is dealing with people! It's also okay to say "no" to attending events when you're otherwise committed, or feeling an extreme discomfort.
We can't speak for every network or community organization, but at The OWN, we feel strongly that it's up to each person to decide their own schedule, commitments, and comfort levels when thinking about joining something new. Often, that takes time, and through changing seasons in life we may feel differently about attending events or gatherings. At The OWN, we aim to provide the opportunity to come meet some amazing people, when you're ready and able. We want to create a space that's safe, comfortable, and community oriented. Since all OWNers are in the same boat of self-employment, there's common ground and a place to be understood. Even when you're not feeling "at your best", it's alright to attend events that you don't feel "prepared" for. We get it, and it's okay to be human here!
If you're ready to get plugged in to an awesome group of professionals, consider contacting us to learn more about our services! If you're not quite there yet, or don't feel the timing is right, that's okay too! We're here whenever you're ready!