Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.
Putting yourself “out there” is scary!!
For all of us. Not just me. Not just you. The “experts” too!!
Realizing that life is actually passing you by, is scary!! Scarier!!
I am my own worst enemy and I’m really good at feeding that insecurity monster, questioning my own abilities, not feeling quite good enough. Ever. That little voice in my head is a B*&^%!!!! She doesn’t like me to dream too big. She doesn’t like me to get too confident. She doesn’t want me to live up to my full potential. She wants to keep me, and my goals, my dreams and my life….small. Do you have one of these internal trolls?
That story I have on perpetual replay in my head will stop me from doing ANYTHING if I listen to it. The narrator of that story is a liar. I listen to her but I call her out on her untruths too. Frequently.
Here’s what that looks like. I remember the first time I gave a speech – in the 7th grade – wearing my classmate Sharon’s puffy vest with a tube of chapstick in the pocket because she told me if I kept my hands in my pockets and concentrated on taking the cap off and on, it would help with my nerves. It did help!!
From there, I entered a couple of oratory competitions. Think that seems kind of weird for a person who’s scared of public speaking?
Well, if you’ve known me more than 5 minutes, you also know that I push myself out of the comfort zone constantly. I don’t like being uncomfortable so I make myself do these things until I’m no longer “as” scared. I believe – with my whole heart – that FEAR is (quite typically) false events appearing real. The stories I’ve written in my head about what’s going to happen have always…without exception to this point….been worse than reality. So, yes, I entered several speech competitions specifically because I hated public speaking.
…and, I gave a speech at my high school graduation – without a vest and without chapstick. 🙂
From those meager beginnings, I have been public speaking “formally” for 11 years. It’s my full time job. I created a business based on it.
It actually makes me laugh when I think about it. I mean, I had horrible anxiety speaking in front of that 7th grade class, and now I do it 3-5 days a week. Oh, my first few months were, AGAIN, incredibly scary. I stayed up all night, studying. I’d teach until 4; sweating, stammering, and stuttering. Back in the hotel, I’d sleep for 3 hours and repeat. It was NOT a lot of fun. I was exhausted. I was continually stressed. I apologized when I started class that “the material isn’t overly exciting and I’m not a trained instructor.”
Wow! Talk about throwing yourself under the bus!! I would NEVER have said that about anyone else! With friends like that (inside my own head) I certainly don’t need enemies!!
It was ONLY when I got to a point and said,
This is bullshit and it can’t continue. I know what I’m talking about. I have a choice here. Just do it or give up. One or the other.
that things started to get better.
One morning (no doubt I was likely sleep deprived and not thinking too logically) I literally just threw my notes in the garbage on my way out of the hotel (so that I would have no option to retrieve them when I got to the classroom) and decided to “wing it”.
Holy crap!!!!! I was nervous starting the day but I was far, far less nervous than I had been before.
I’ve been winging it ever since. Considering I travel and present about 200 days a year (197 last year) it seems to be working.
When I started my own company, I was scared. Really scared. I gave up a steady salary for the “possibility” that I might have work. I didn’t know what to charge. I didn’t know how to get customers. I didn’t really know how to teach. I was uncomfortable. So I made myself do it. I studied. I practiced. I got better. I have an excellent reputation and customers now ask for me by name. I’m very proud of that. It was a lot of hard work.
Please don’t misunderstand, though. There are still (plenty of) days when I question my abilities. Days when I wonder if I’m doing a good job. Days when I wonder if I’m “really” the expert. My students think so. My clients think so. On a good day, I think so….. but there are lots of times I feel like a charlatan. I haven’t “arrived”. I don’t think anybody ever really does. That’s a story we tell ourselves when we look at other people because we only see the outside. We don’t know how they’re feeling.
There are days when I want to quit.
Fact is: I can. Anytime I choose to.
So far though, a good pep talk ending with
You have a choice here. Just do it, or give up. One or the other.”
…has kept me going.
Fear can stop you. Fear can keep you small.
Fear can motivated you. It can push you.
There’s one thing I know for sure. This is not a dress rehearsal. There’s no “do-over”. Once this day…this moment…is gone, it’s gone. Forever.
Maybe, it’s time to stop living small, even though it’s scary.
It’s time to stop waiting for your life to begin, even though it’s scary.
It’s time to stop just dreaming….no, that’s not even it. Many of us never find the courage to EVEN dream, much less work toward those dreams.
It’s time to wake up.
It’s time to live.
It’s time to do something….something you want to do….something you’ve dreamt about….something that makes you feel alive….something….anything.
No one can do this for you. It is your life. Yours alone…and until you look at the narrator face, to face, call him/her a liar and truly, truly, know that you deserve better than this, you will feel stuck.
I read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, a few months ago. It is an absolutely amazing book!!!! I loved it so much that I bought a copy for each of my children, my sisters, and my husband.
Brene harkened back to a speech Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1910. I frequently repeat this to myself.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”