Dina Kaplan co-founded the internet company, Blip, after working at NBC as a reporter and MTV News as an associate producer. In her workshop at DLDw13 she confesses how even though she was addicted to responding to emails, when Sheryl Sandberg wrote asking to get to know her, she didn't set up the meeting. She was too afraid Sandberg could be disappointed in her.
That is one snippet from Kaplan's old life, which she presents today as "full of fear". She describes how after overworking herself for Blip for years, she began having panic attacks in 2010. These were so severe, she found herself unable to walk down a street untroubled or cross a street without feeling she may faint.
"It was a terrible way to lead a life. My everything was the company, but I knew that my everything had to change."
She booked a one-way ticket and went traveling. In her own words, it was the best thing she ever did in her life. Listening to the suggestion of a fellow traveller, she used her time to conquer her fears. From zip lining in Laos, to bungee jumping in New Zealand, Kaplan put herself in situations that made her want to back away – and dived in head first instead.
After Kaplan returned to the United States, she found she had become a different person. Before she responded to people. "Now I lived on my own terms. And without fear." How does this effect work? Kaplan became more honest, more willing to break her own rules and more relaxed. She feels lighter and less inhibited.
The audience responds warmly to Kaplan's revealing presentation. Even though the focus isn't on providing tips for overcoming fear, Kaplan's willingness to stand on stage and reveal her fears is demonstration enough.
She seems excited about her next project post Blip, although she is not revealing much about this yet.