Of (not) freaking out and recognizing one’s bad habits

…And somebody hit the panic button.

This meeting Wednesday morning is really starting to freak me out. For those just joining us, it’s the first meeting involving my new position. I’m the facilitator / conduit / middle man of the whole process between the operations side and the programmers we outsource for a particular field facing product. My boss’ boss will be there and her boss will be there. There will be several marketing people (this area really should be theirs but there’s currently no one over the product) and the people from the company who supply us the raw data and programming. First it was just a wardrobe crisis. The office dress code is officially business casual. I’ve seen the CEO walking around in a polo shirt. If I wear my version of a suit, I’ll look like I’m trying too hard. If I wear what I’ve been wearing to work lately, more on the boho side of things with glittery eyeliner, I’ll look sloppy and like I don’t take things seriously. I know I want to wear heels, but that’s about it. I’ve been staring at my closet and coming up with nothing. Ugh.

Today things started to snowball. I noticed I was eating more than I normally do and not just because it’s a day off. I tried to take a nap and had nightmares the entire hour I was trying to sleep. Specifically nightmares about driving and getting caught in a flood. We made it to where we were going, but not without a lot of stress along the way. I’ve given myself a headache from clenching my jaw. I put on Top Chef to distract myself and that’s only working moderately well. My brain keeps going over this scenario again and again in my head. “You don’t belong there”. “You have no idea what you’re doing”. “You’re going to make a fool of yourself in front of important people”. 

I’ll concede your point, brain. I don’t know much about the product in question. I went to a training on it when the product was first rolled out, so it’s not like I’ve never even heard of it before. The interface is probably different, but the raw data is the same. I don’t have to make it look pretty. I just have to make sure that everyone on the operations side knows what everyone else on the programming side is doing. My boss’ boss has made it very clear to everyone else that’s my purpose. I don’t have to be an expert on the topic. I just have to be able to answer simple questions like “Where’s so and so on this issue?”. 

Secondly, no one said I had to talk. No one is expecting me to be an expert up front. If the last meeting is any indication, I sit there with my mouth shut taking notes. My boss’ boss will do all the talking for me. I speak when spoken to and that’s the extent of it. Look presentable, be polite, and show that I’m interested in doing well. That will never hurt in the long run. Smile and fake it until I make it. I’m smart. I pick up things very, very quickly. I retain them well. Even if I haven’t worked with a system in a while, I usually remember most of it after a little poking. My boss’ boss would never set me up to fail. That just makes her look bad. If nothing else, I can walk into that room knowing she’s setting me up for success. I just have to keep my ears open and notes detailed.

I earned this position, brain. No one handed it to me because I’m someone’s daughter or sister or cousin. I worked hard, proved myself, and was rewarded. I’m ambitious and that ambition paid off. It put me over the top to a higher rating on my review. I’m better at not letting people get under my skin. I do belong there because I was hired to be there and she has full confidence in me. She wouldn’t have picked me if that were a question.

Eating a pint of ice cream out of the container and buying things I don’t need won’t fix the anxiety. It’s an intimidating situation. Really the only thing that will solve it is getting through it. I know my vices well enough to know when to stop them in their tracks. Yes, I could buy nail polish, eyeliner, or shoes online. No, that won’t change the outcome. Yes, I could keep eating, feel guilty, and restrict the next 3 days. No, that won’t change the outcome. Not one bit. Chill the hell out, brain. In 48 hours, it’ll all be over.

With that…