Updated: Mar 1, 2020
When I was a kid, we moved around a lot. By the time I entered high school, I had changed schools five times. I HATED the first day of school. And the older I got, the harder it became to walk into a brand-new school on day one, knowing everyone else in that room had been in school together since kindergarten.
And all the “what ifs” swirled around in my head.
What if I’m not dressed right?
What if I’m behind in class on day one?
What if nobody sits next to me at lunch?
What if they think I’m weird?
I recently realized that I experience a lot of these same feelings when I attend conferences or networking events. When I walk into a room full of people, all of whom seem to belong there, I go back to that little fourth grader stepping into school for the first time, and I’m intimidated AF.
Anyone else feel that way? Is it just me?
What if nobody talks to me?
What if I don't look cool enough?
What if they roll their eyes or laugh when they say what I do?
What if they think I’m a fraud?
Here’s the thing. I have a really big personality. And as a coach, I’ve become really good at giving people my undivided attention, making them feel heard and important. I have an infectious energy and a quick, sharp wit. When I speak passionately about this amazing career that I freaking LOVE and am REALLY good at, I light up. And people see that light.
When I step into my authentic self, people are drawn to me. They want to know how they can get a piece of that light. So logically, I know I can own a room. What am I so afraid of?
The truth is that I’m afraid of nothing but an emotion. Even though I have hundreds of examples of how I’ve totally crushed it in professional and social settings, the most powerful memory is on the first day of fourth grade. Trust me when I tell you, that was a LONG time ago.
I coach people around these things for a living, and yet even I don't always push through my fear and intimidation in situations like this. And when I don't, I miss out on tons of opportunities to share my gifts and show people what makes me so good at what I do.