78/365 – Meditation Games #78 – Networking Anxiety

Developer Credits: Katherine Stull, Jack Bransky

Launcher Quote: “When I won a free ticket to GDC, I couldn’t believe it. Going there was a dream of mine. But anxiety quickly clouded my excitement – what if I couldn’t afford food or a place to stay? I had never travelled alone before, let alone on an airplane. I’d never been to San Francisco – what if I got lost? THere would be so many people, and I was new to the industry – what if no one talked to me? These thoughts weighed on me for months.

But when the day arrived, I had to try and push through it – and with each step the weight was lifted off my shoulders. I saw so many beautiful places in San Francisco, and met so many beautiful people. But most of all, I was able to prove to myself that I was capable after all. The anxiety slowly gave way to one of the best experiences of my life.

A special thank you to the folks who made GDC special, and to my fiance for helping me with this project (as you support me through all things.) I love you, Jack.”

Networking is always a scary affair as much as it is beneficial to those that engage in it, and with good reason. Like trying to make friends or be social, networking takes a little bit of putting yourself out there, walking into unfamiliar territory, and generally trying to meet new people. But in addition to these challenges, networking has with you a professional obligation as well – you’re talking with others in order to build your contacts, your professional opportunities, and your career.

So it’s no surprise that Katherine depicts just how anxious that challenge made her as she attended her first GDC, appropriate considering the event is running this week as well. It can be a bit soul-crushing having to think about all the things that could go wrong, as well as all the things that are required in order to ensure the trip even happens and goes smoothly that have nothing to do with making sure that you make a good impression on the people you meet.

The nice thing you get to experience while playing this game, thankfully, is that you see the experience of Katherine overcoming her anxiety in pieces, by at first deflecting some of the elements of stress that are plaguing her trip (with a bit of your help), and then seeing that as she experiences better and better things during the trip that she no longer needs our help to avoid that stress. A shield of confidence appears around the depiction of Katherine, eventually giving way to her being able to have a wonderful first GDC experience. It’s not a guarantee that networking anxiety results in such positive results, but it’s a bit of a lesson to be learned that the seemingly huge mountain of stress that can result from having to deal with a major undertaking such as networking can be dealt with by a few positive experiences, support, and trying not to think about it all at once, tackling each piece in turn.  It’s worked for me, and has definitely reduced my own anxieties at working with people and networking with them.

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