Last night, I worked through one of my greatest fears with having Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)!😱
No, it’s not public speaking, or heights, or small spaces, or the many other common fears people experience.
My fear is a common gesture that most people don’t even think about.
My fear is something I have to quickly process EVERY single time I meet someone.
My fear is something I had to quickly squash in my mind when I was elected VP Membership of my Toastmasters club.
Last night, I proved to myself that if I let fear rule me, I would miss amazing experiences and opportunities.
Although I'm a lover of people and community, I have a major fear of shaking hands! 😳
- not for the interaction. - not for fear of germs.
But for the potential bone crushing handshake that some people seem to think is ok (RA or not).
And because the culprits are unpredictable, just one squeeze can drop me, or bring instant tears. Trust me, it’s “painfully” awkward. #avoidance .
So here’s the thing I learned in having to welcome back over 25 members last night and 10 guests. I needed to BE MYSELF!
My people loving, fear squishing, joint sensitive, creative self. #getit
Familiar people got hugs 🤗
New people got fist pumps
Now I did preface my gestures as “I can’t shake hands” first, as handshakes are customary with meeting people; especially in professional environments. But quickly followed by a disarming hug or fist pump, all was good!!
The Toastmaster acknowledgement of my role for the meeting was both surprising and really appreciated; and something I would have missed out on if my fear kept me from participating as a team member!
It was certainly a rewarding experience in many ways. The greater gift being to myself in not letting fear become my limit. 🙌
What are your fears?