I put together a presentation to my co-workers on how to practice critical awareness based off Brené Brown’s book I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t). At first I was apprehensive to volunteer to give a presentation because, even though I present information to the trainees at my company, presenting in front of my peers brings up bullshit thoughts of inadequacy and “what if no one likes it” fears that I’m trying to break the habit of doing.
But I know the truth: we need to step outside our comfort zones in order to grow.
We can let fear stop us. Or we can let fear motivate us. And like any habit, facing your fears gets easier with experience. When you make it your goal to step outside your comfort zone, when you feel the pounding in your heart, you can only grow as a person.
I am aware of my personal power and I can make the decision to shrink away from it or embrace it (beating heart be damned!).
I’ve amazed myself by my courage to try and to show up when I’m still uncertain about the decision. Even though I was presenting a topic that I am passionate about, the day of the presentation I still had thoughts of what if it wasn’t good enough. Or that it was good but not as good as the other person presenting. Ultimately, I decided that I couldn’t be concerned with the other person’s presentation.
I think that’s the reason most of us fear to try – we either compare ourselves to others or we compare their work to ours – then we think it’s not good enough so we stop ourselves. Most of the time, however, life is not a competition. Doing our best work doesn’t matter or depend on the work of another.
Doing our best work means we show up and do our best without being concerned with someone else’s best.
So what’s the best way to get out of our heads to do our best work? I find if I ask myself questions and answer them honestly I can get my power back and gain clarity on my thoughts.
With this presentation I asked myself the following questions:
What’s the fear? – It won’t be as good as others. People will be bored.
What will happen if people are bored? – Nothing, other than the fact that they’ll be bored.
Can I change what they think? – I can’t and it’s not about them, it’s about me. How I perceive myself is what matters.
Are you proud of the work? – Yes. I worked hard on putting a complex topic together to make it understandable.
I was able to see that it wasn’t as serious or scary as I thought. I was able to reinforce, that with this presentation, all that mattered was that I was proud of myself.
What I was afraid of happening didn’t actually happen and the presentation went really well. (But isn’t that how it works out the majority of the time anyway?)
Getting out of our heads is amazing because we start to see how far we can go in life. By getting our thoughts on paper we are able to reflect on our fears. I recommend whenever you feel apprehensive about something or you start to compare yourself or your work to others, that you stop and ask yourself questions.
The best questions to start with are: What am I afraid of? Why am I fearing this?
At the end of the day you’ll be proud of yourself for showing up and doing your best work.