There are few things worse than when in the presence of someone who for whatever reason intimidates you, you allow yourself to feel belittled by them. This happened to me last night.
I went to an entrepreneur event and was approached by the owner of a large competitor of mine, one who is years and millions of dollars ahead of where my business is. He fired a series of questions at me about our focus, our philosophy, and how much business we’re doing. While from the outside I held my own, on the inside I felt like the undergrad freshman who accidentally found herself in a grad level class, totally out of place and too junior to be there.
When I left the event, I was frustrated with myself for allowing a 5 minute conversation with this stranger to make me feel so small. I wanted to go back and change my inner monologue to remind myself that for my stage in the game, I’m doing great, and I dont’ need his approval (or budget) to know that.
I’d love to think this is just a pitfall of being in our 20s, but I’m sure that’s not the case. People will always have the ability to trump us and make us feel little, but only if we let them. But, I am glad that in this small way I recognized how easily I fell to it so in whatever situation comes next, I can feel a little bigger. Moral of the story: It’s really not he who made me feel that way, but my own insecurities that allowed me to. All part of the growing experience and putting yourself in such situations in the first place, to feel challenged, recognize it for what it is, and do better next time.