Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Having once been interviewed by Forbes as a networking influencer on some of my tips for How To Network Effectively In The Digital Age, most would never guess that I have personally wrestled with social anxiety. As a teen, I lived in a world of isolation and limiting beliefs. As an adult, my heart still pounds profusely before public speaking opportunities. My hands shake before going live on social media, and crowded rooms can still make me feel light headed. However, in the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear."
In April 2020, I will be publishing a portion of my overcomer story as a co-author of the book "Women Who Rise". An excerpt of my chapter is below. So grateful to have the opportunity to share my truth amongst other soul sisters who are overcoming their fears to create their BEST potential.
"As the oldest of ten children, with an unorthodox education, I grew up wrestling with self identity and limiting beliefs regarding my potential. To add to this challenge, at fourteen years old my family joined a religious conservative lifestyle. This isolated community was especially oppressive towards women, and obtaining a college degree, let alone a career, was frowned upon. Needless to say, I was going though the motions of what was expected of me, and was caught up in what felt like a crowd of zombies. Aimlessly hoping for change, but felt powerless to create it. At age 19, I could not suppress this nagging feeling any longer. There had to be more to life than what I was experiencing. I concluded that if I was not willing to step out of my comfort zone, and interact with the real world, I may never discover my full potential... For the longest time I felt like I was an alien that had landed on planet earth, and determined to learn the language of the locals. Pop culture, traditional dating, and learning the social cues of society were all challenges that often left me feeling more like an outsider. I was determined to fit in, and appear “normal”. Socially awkward in my personal life, I learned how to build my sense of worth through climbing the corporate ladder."
This book goes into more detail regarding my "full circle" journey wrestling with workaholism and then entering into the world of entrepreneurship. I talk about how it was through wrestling with my own social anxiety, that I developed empathy for other "outsiders". I started focusing less on my fear of rejection, and more on helping people find a sense of purpose and belonging. My skill set as a community builder and connector began to surface. Passion for personal branding and networking evolved. Essentially, I learned that our greatest pain can be the pathway to discovering our greatest strength.
In my next blog post I will share some tips on how to channel social anxiety into positive energy for creating connections that count. Stay tuned!
About The Author: With over 10 years of professional sales and marketing experience, Rebecca Chalson's go-getter and personable approach to business development has earned her recognition with Forbes, 40 Under 40, and several other regional awards. Having developed her personal network from the ground up, she enjoys educating realtors, and various industry groups, on how to tap into their core strengths in order to create REAL connections, while effectively growing their circle of influence. Her curriculum includes practical guidance in personal branding, strategic networking, influencer marketing, event planning, social media engagement, and building authentic relationships offline.