Tonight, I attended the launch party for National Journal’s “Under the Influence” Blog, which promises an inside view of the Lobbying and Advocacy industry. A colleague of mine was supposed to go, but ended up being out of town so she asked that I step in and represent our firm.
I truly try to live by the motto of “Do at least ONE thing each day that scares you”, so when I couldn’t find someone to come with me, I decided that I would uphold my commitment and go on my own…
Have you ever walked into a room of people all chatting in groups and not known a soul? It is a most unnerving feeling and uncomfortable enough that I almost turned right around and walked back to my apartment without a backward glance.
But, I knew I just had to step up so I found a group of guys and asked them where they had gotten their nametags. Cheesy, I know, but kind of ingenious at the same time, right? After they pointed me in the right direction (and which I promptly ignored), I asked some more question before ‘fessing up to being completely alone and feeling awkward… Which led to a really nice conversation with one of them.
It turns out that the person I was speaking had a lot of coworkers attending the event as well so I actually got to talk to with a good number of people. (One actually said, “Hey, you should really meet Brian… He…” – So stereotypical of how networking works!)
All in all, at the end of the night, I left with a sense of accomplishment – I proved to myself once again that I can rise to the occasion when I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.
I mean, isn’t that why I left my life in Boston, a life that was good enough, to come to DC and see if I can make an even better life here? And that’s what I should remind myself when I start worrying whether I’ll end up settling in my life… I should know myself better to know that I will never be content with mediocrity.
Anyway, excuse the sappiness. I did want to share a few of my thoughts from the blog launch since the scene was so DC:
- I know that the launch party was just an excuse to throw a happy hour and to get people to talk about the blog, but NO ONE THERE TALKED ABOUT THE BLOG! (Unless I missed it!) I would have expected someone to make a little speech and to possibly even have print-outs of recent blog posts.
- I spoke to someone who kept looking around the room as he talked to me. Seriously, I know that I’m probably not the person that you’re trying to “connect with”, but show me some courtesy!
- Someone asked me if my firm leaned one way or the other. The way they phrased it is so typical of this city. Being from Massachusetts, I grew up with the silly notion that we should be accepting of everyone for who they are rather than for their demographic affiliations. So, a) it’s hard for me to remember if/that my firm’s clients lean a certain way politically, b) understand why it matters.
- I felt a bit naive because I really was only there, from my understanding, to support an organization’s new endeavor and, perhaps, meet some people. However, it seems like most there had an agenda – whether it was to speak to some press, to try to seek out some business, etc.
- I have so much to learn about the non-profit / advocacy / public affairs scenes, it’s not even funny. The whole thing is COMPLETELY different from the technology start-up world I’ve been living in!