Interestingly, I had a moment of apprehension before the event. Would I live up to my online persona? Would people be disappointed that I don't boast a more "impressive" physique? Would those that had been around longer and participated in previous meet-ups consider me an equal upon arrival?
More importantly, would they like my salsa?
You know what happened? Nothing. We all shook hands, introduced ourselves, and proceeded to talk about - well - all the same things we share every day in our online community. All of my questions and concerns were utterly groundless.
And that struck me...
How often have I encouraged people who were apprehensive about not being "good enough" or "ready" to step into the gym or the weight room in particular? Often enough that the words just roll off my fingers onto the keyboard. And here I was, experiencing just the same thing.
We all have our self-doubts. And we stew on them and magnify them until they seem like a tremendous obstacle, a giant zit in the middle of our self-image foreheads that we are just sure will have everybody snickering behind their hand. The thing is: we're wrong when we get into this mode. And we are keeping ourselves from enjoying the chances in life that will make for extraordinary experiences.
The community let me get out of my own head. We all shared successes, failures, and perspectives that, rather than making me feel out of my league, made me understand that everyone has a story, everyone is on a journey, and everybody has tried and fallen short in much the same way as I have. And, through their experience, I gained perspective on how to take my own next steps. Which, for me, includes signing up for a power lifting meet after we are settled down in our new home. Who cares whether I'm "ready" to place strongly? It is the experiences we embrace that define us.
You just have to get out of your own way. Life - a life full of possibilities - is right outside your door.
What are you waiting for?