So many know me as exciteable at times; loud (at times), talkative and assertive. All of these I’ve always been except:
For as long as I can remember, I have found it oh so easy to make conversation with those I don’t know; make people feel comfortable; pump others up.
But ask me to disagree? To say no? To open the door to conflict?
That was a BIG, resounding negatory.
So when it counted:
I couldn’t speak up.
I couldn’t for the life of me disagree.
I couldn’t say no.
And it really did cause me so much anxiety, worrying and thus the inability to step out of my comfort zone.
What was odder was I’ve always had such love and support surrounding me. I just couldn’t be brave and use my voice.
I couldn’t own my voice.
This all changed about 5 years ago – and it was actually doing something that scared me more than anything (yes: more than motherhood, more than taking an exam; more than stepping on the scales).
For starters, I got sick and tired of being anxious about this. I got sick and tired of nodding my head at every conversation I disagreed with, with a smile on my face like the Cheshire Cat’s.
I got sick and tired of listening to others offer opinions – and never listening for mine.
I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.
So I went to see a therapist about this. It was affecting my confidence; it was causing me angst and stress, it was holding me back.
I was obviously in a place where come hell or high water I was going to figure this out, since I only needed to see the guy 3 times. I’m all for getting help and knowing when not to do it alone. However I consider myself very self aware and I knew that if I needed to return I would. And I would have done.
But I didn’t need to.
What truly changed how I look at fear, confidence, stepping out of my comfort zone was actually stepping waaaaay out of my comfort zone. I decided to go big or go home and create an event for young girls – to help them with what I’d been struggling with (and more).
I was so scared:
- What if I screwed up?
What if no one came?
- What if it was a failure (okay….what if “I” was really…)
- What if people judged me…oh my…. what if I could never go outside again???
All of these fears and so many more were screaming at me. But I literally woke up one morning and thought:
What if those things DO happen?
And my rebirth happened.
My answer to myself was this:
Who cares? AT LEAST YOU TRIED.
And it was those four words which changed me for ever.
You never have to hold your head down if you try something. Okay; there’s the chance you might fail at what you hope the outcome to be – but it’s NEVER a failure; it is absolutley true that it’s always a lesson, a pivot. You will come away wiser, better, stronger, inspired, learned.
I can’t tell you the change that occured (ask my Mom, she’ll tell you!). As a result of this I found the courage to speak up. To say no. To disagree if I felt strongly about doing so. I was no longer fearful of conflict happening (since y’know what? It didn’t happen).
And just like they say; just like a muscle…the more I used my voice, the easier it became. The stronger I became. The more assertive I became and MOST importantly; the more willing I became to step out of my comfort zone.
I’m now willing to try things — and view “fear” as a “thing” not as something attached to me. Don’t get me wrong; I’m ALWAYS nervous…but still willing to try. And in doing so it’s okay if I try something and it doesn’t work. Move on. But more importantly – most of what I try DOES work.
And if I was the old me not only would I be missing out on these experiences – but others would be missing out on what I offer. And I’m all about helping others.
So finding my voice was crucial. Being able to speak up. Speak out. Being able to embrace potential conflict. Being able to disagree.
All enabled me to do more than I’d have ever imagined.
So – if you are anxious about some things; fearful of stepping out of your comfort zone and don’t like conflict. Be inspired: you can change. You can find your VOICE and you can learn to view fear in a different way.
Because remember these four words; embrace them:
AT LEAST YOU TRIED.