One of the things I’ve learned in my self-employment journey so far, is that almost every day, often several times a day, I have to ask myself “why not me?”
“I wish someone would compile the ideas of a bunch of people who’ve given some thought to feminine wisdom. WHY NOT ME?“
“There are lots of people who could benefit from a deeply personal book about losing a stillborn baby but gaining a deeper spirituality. WHY NOT ME?“
“There’s an amazing conference coming up and they could really use a little help with their social media promotion. WHY NOT ME?“
“Somebody should teach leaders to think a little more like artists. WHY NOT ME?“
It doesn’t come naturally, this question. My default position is to think “surely someone else is more competent at it than I am. Maybe once I’ve read a few more books or taken a few more courses, or had a few more things published – THEN I’ll be ready to take on this task.”
We limit ourselves, don’t we? We assume our ideas aren’t smart enough, unique enough, or educated enough. We think we need a masters degree before we have a right to speak with authority. We think people would be better off hearing from the REAL experts – you know, those with agents and books on the best-seller list.
And then there are the fear gremlins – the voices that whisper “but if you get a book published, people will think you’re showing off” or “what if you teach a workshop about thinking more like an artist and there’s a REAL artist in the room who tells you that you don’t have a clue?” or “what if you offend someone who’s chosen a different path than yours?” or “what if your family and friends start thinking you’re too big for your britches and they reject you?”
And yet… there’s a burning deep inside that says “your wisdom is worth sharing. Your ideas have merit. You’re smart enough for this calling.” And then there are the people who take the time to say “your words make a difference. Keep it up. I need more of what you have to offer.” And you realize that whatever it is you’ve been given to share is worth sharing, even if you only share it with a handful of people. And that it’s not about you, it’s about surrendering to what the Divine asks of you.
And every day, you make a choice to look into the mirror, smile at the fear hidden behind your eyes, and say “Why not me?”
p.s. Want to get more practice in saying “why not me?” Check out Playing Big by my friend Tara Sophia Mohr. I just know it will be amazing!
Whenever I facilitate a workshop or do public speaking, the energy of the people in the room can make or break the quality of my performance. It’s a give and take thing – if they give out positive energy, I’ll give it right back to them. The opposite is true too – if I’ve got good energy going in, I’m feeling confident, and they’re receptive to it, their energy picks up and we feed off each other.
Sometimes there’s one person in the room who wields too much power. Sometimes – especially if I’m feeling a little vulnerable or insecure – one person can suck the energy right out of me. Once, when I was speaking in church, I caught sight of a person near the back who sat with his arms firmly crossed shaking his head in disapproval while I spoke. It completely threw my concentration and I ended up fumbling my way through the rest of my talk and rushed to the end just to get it over with.
It’s even worse when I’m facilitating a workshop, and it’s not only negative body language I pick up, but negative comments and a resistance to feeding into a positive group conversation. I’m not talking about people who throw in ideas or thoughts that run contrary to mine – I can handle constructive disagreement and relish a healthy debate. I’m talking about those people whose negativity comes out in little jabs and passive aggressive undertones. Like the woman who once said under her breath, when she thought the discussion was pointless “I’m going outside to bang my head against the wall.” (My reply to her “a comment like that is not constructive to the process we’re engaged in. If you have a frustration, please voice it to the group.” That was the last passive aggressive comment she made.)
Fortunately, there are usually other people in the room who recognize the destructiveness of that kind of energy, and sometimes, with a little help from them, I can turn things around and not let it destroy the process. But on those days when I’m feeling a little vulnerable and insecure, it’s really hard to get past it and not let it destroy my confidence.
I have to make a presentation on Thursday in front of a group that I anticipate may be less receptive than many of the groups I present to. I’m trying to think of a few ways to liven up the energy a bit. I’m lousy at telling jokes, so I rarely bother with that, but I might need to think of something funny or light-hearted to start with. And I think I’m going to throw a few prizes into the mix – it’s a little manipulative, but sometimes I stoop to whatever lengths I need to for at least a few smiles in the room.