How Community Helped Me Overcome My Fears

I have lived most of my life in fear: either fear of the unknown or fear of other people and what they think of me. I am a recovering people pleaser and struggle with expressing my thoughts and feelings. I’ve always felt like I could never get the right words out. It has taken me 43 years to finally admit that I have these problems and to start working on overcoming them. It has held me back for so long and pretty much ruined my marriage and kept me from living my best life.

A little background: I am an only child, and my dad was a very intimidating figure in my life growing up. He had a very short temper, and I learned early on to hide the way I was truly feeling so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I was very shy and constantly worried about what people thought of me. I was extremely uncomfortable around people and hated going to school because of that. My fear of people kept me from having a normal childhood. I was fine at home, but any other time I was fearful.

I slowly started coming out of my shyness in high school. I still wasn’t comfortable around people, but I made some friends and felt a little bit better about myself. After getting married at age 18 to someone I didn’t love and starting my own house-cleaning business, I settled into my life.

Because of my fears, I really had no friends and didn’t want to go out and be social since I was so fearful. Secretly, I wanted to be an extrovert who could walk up to people and just start talking like it was no problem at all. I dreamed of having lots of girlfriends to hang out with and have fun. But my stupid fear kept holding me back. Over my 43 years, I have slowly gotten better at being comfortable around people. But it took something unexpected to really push me over the edge.

Back in 2017, I began wanting to form a group of women business owners that would get together every month to just talk about being a business owner and help each other grow our businesses. I didn’t even think to go to one of the many networking groups already available, since that scared the crap out of me. Go to a function where I didn’t know anyone? No way! So I started my own group! Ha! I threw my idea out on some social media pages and got over a hundred people interested in my group. I had no idea that it would grow to over 1,000 ladies in just two years, and that it would completely change my life.

I started getting around women who were excited about lives and their businesses. They were strong and confident, and that started rubbing off on me. I became good friends with one gal, Heather, who helped me realize that I deserved way better in life. This led to my leaving my husband of 24 years and finally getting to be the person I always wanted to be.

I have led countless meetings where I had to get up in front of people and speak. Gasp!! What??!! Speak in front of people?! For some reason, being the leader of the group gave me the courage to step out of my comfort/fear zone and to lead these amazing women. I have made so many wonderful girlfriends since starting NW Ladies in Business, and I finally have the community I craved for so long.

If I didn’t start this group, I would be friendless, miserable, and still married to someone I didn’t love. Just because I was fearful. NW Ladies in Business helped me overcome my fears and step into who I was always meant to be.

Thank you to Heather and to all the ladies in our group who have helped me along this path these last couple years! I will forever be grateful to all of you! Always hang onto your dreams and never give up. You never know how your dreams will come true, but always believe that they will.

 

Shannon Evans

About the Author | Shannon Evans

Shannon Evans is a 43-year-old mom to two wonderful kiddos. She runs two successful businesses in the Seattle area and loves being a business owner and building community. She started NW Ladies in Business in 2017 and also runs a Divorce Support Group every other week. She loves bringing people together to help them connect and to build community.

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