September 21, 2013
I woke up this morning knowing my first hack day was upon me. I have been looking forward to this event for some time now, but this morning.. I just wasn’t feeling it. and I felt a couple different ways; Sick, worn out and not wanting to get out of bed. Wishing I was going to the talks that were happening during TechFestNW today instead of the hack day and overall conflicted on what to do.
My approach to many things in life is to “go with what feels right.” My theory is, If you listen to yourself and are aware of what your gut is telling you – you will know what the right thing is to do. I knew I had to do the hack day, but I was really mentally trying to sway my thoughts the other direction. I didn’t feel well, was bummin’ about the talks & in all honestly… I was kind of scared. I have an idea of what a hack day is all about, but… do I belong at one? Am I going to fail?
While getting ready, I thought about my goals for today
1: Meet new people
2: Learn something new
3: Put myself in a new situation that might be slightly uncomfortable.
Going to listen to the talks happening today would probably only fall under #2. You rarely make solid connections during a series of back to back talks. Being involved in the hack day fell under all 3 goals. #1 – At events like this, you have the opportunity to meet tons of new people. You also get to collaborate with others – which falls directly under goal #2 – learning. I was also very interested in understanding hack days in general, so that is a bonus. Let’s be honest… going to events alone is always slightly uncomfortable… & that falls under #3.
While debating what to do this morning, I naturally played around on my phone for a while – I hopped on twitter and this is the first tweet I see:
Now, if that is not a sign from the universe.. I don’t know what is. I, however, stayed true to rebelling against my gut… and now the universe. My plan was to go to the event and if I wasn’t feeling it, I would just leave. (I would have regretted not at least not trying.) I was one of the first people to arrive & I could have easily just walked away. But I saw someone sitting by themselves & I decided to say hi. We ended up chatting for 10-15 minutes and it was great (Hey Scott!).
Hack day was beginning, so I sat down at the long table and introduced myself to everyone around me. Doing that tends to help me feel more comfortable and I am sure others as well.
The companies gave their pitches, then groups were formed and all was falling into place. Or, that is what was supposed to happen anyway. I sat there, completely clueless, unsure of what to do. A few people kind of joined teams, others sat looking puzzled, some got on their phones & a couple people even straight up left and never returned. This guy, Dan was going to get coffee, so I went with him in an effort to not feel so out of place & to maybe still make a quick exit to the talks. We got coffee, some food and really took our time getting back to begin working. Dan got caught up in a conversation, so I left him and walked back to the room.
I didn’t see the team I was interested in joining, so I walked out – ready to bail on the entire event – but my gut was screaming at me to stay. I took a deep breath, turned back around – saw someone from one of the companies walking my way & asked if they needed a designer on their team. They lead me to the group & to my surprise they were looking for me and was hoping I would join their team! The next 5 hours I rarely thought about the talks & throughly enjoyed my time. I cannot wait to do another hack day, I left feeling so inspired and energized! We even won tickets to next years TechFestNW, this years Lean Day West & a got sweet t-shirt from Mandrill!
Today I not only listened to my gut, but I also pushed myself into doing something that felt scary to me. The best part? It totally paid off & I met all of my goals!
1. I met new people – I actually made friends & true connections.
2. I learned new things, like how great JSfiddle is.
3. I put myself in a new situation and now I am more than excited to do my next Hack Day… & I bet I won’t feel nearly as uncomfortable.
What has paid off due to you trusting your gut?
Thank you for reading,