The early days of sending out my blogs I'd freak out before pressing SEND.
I'd look at what I'd written over and over again.
I was desperately worried about a stray typo (gasp!)
I felt tightness in my chest. Sweaty palms.
And I had racing thoughts like, "What if someone doesn't like what I wrote? What if I mess up?"
I'd think, "Who am I to be doing this?"
For me, I was doing something against my nature.
You know what I mean if you ever get butterflies in your stomach before you do something new — asking for a raise, moving cities, giving a big presentation — and have fantasies of backing out last minute.
You see, I'm not a natural at "putting myself out there" person.
I'm more of a "let me hide in bed instead of putting myself on the internet" kind of person.
For years, I searched for quick fixes before doing something outside my comfort zone.
I wanted to get rid of the nervous feeling.
Should I meditate more? Try visualizations? More flower essences?
Sure -- these helped. A little.
Meditating helps with racing thoughts. Flower essences can help with the last minute "Omg, this is scary" feeling.
But, I'm still a little nervous some days. I'm not as nervous as I was with sweaty palms and racing thoughts as I was in the early days.
But, I still get nervous when I write a blog, post a video or give a speech.
Am I doing something wrong? Is there a tip or coping skill I'm missing here?
I've come to this realization...
Feeling nervous and scared is okay.
It doesn't mean I shouldn't do something.
And it doesn't mean I'm lacking in the skillz department. That "z" feels important to lighten the mood - not a typo- here ;)
The "trick" to doing scary, putting yourself out there stuff is to just do it.
Now, out of fear of sounding like I'm preaching at you - let me say this:
I'm the last person who wants to come across as preachy when it comes to "putting yourself out there."
Because I get it.
And there have been times when I've delayed doing stuff out of fear.
The most recent thing that comes to mind is when I had to promote a workshop I was running.
And I actually had to talk about it and pass out flyers. To real live people (!!!)
You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal about flyers.” I totally get that.
They’re only a little sheet of paper. But, for me it was about what the flyers represented. It was me putting myself out there.
Plus, they had my face plastered out them. Double eek.
I was so resistant to talking to people and passing out flyers - "Isn't that cheesy? What if they don't take them?"
My mentor asked me/made me email him at the end of each day with the number of flyers I'd passed out.
Because when we met in person I was all, "Um, I'm scared. I don't think people will care. Maybe I shouldn't pass the flyers out."
And he called BS.
He thought I'd back out. And he was probably right. I'd already delayed passing out said flyers for like 3 weeks.
So I passed out the flyers.
And I emailed him at the end of the day.
I passed out 3 flyers today. Thank you.
Totally forced, right? But, definitely needed on my part. Even if they were only flyers, it was really me taking a risk and doing something outside my comfort zone.
At the end of the day -- the feeling scared part is part of the dance.
It's part of the human experience of feeling ALIVE.
You might not get nervous passing flyers out.I hope you don’t, by the way! I hope you pass flyers out about yourself with reckless abandon! haha.
But you might do something new that causes you to have a little case of the freak outs. And that’s okay.
You're doing something outside your comfort zone. If you feel nervous right before? That's living.
I'm not perfect at this, but I'm learning to ride the nervous feeling out and have that be okay.
It's okay to be nervous. It's okay to feel scared.
It might be the clue that you're busting out of your comfort zone.
If you're thinking of doing something new -- starting a new business, having a difficult conversation with a friend, moving cities -- it's okay to be nervous.
It's okay to be freaked out. It's normal. You're human.
And when in doubt, remember you’re born to shine in whatever form that means for you.
Take a step forward. Notice if you’re having self-doubt. Ask what’s the worst that can happen.
Move right and bravely along.
And when in doubt - email someone right after you did the scary thing.
Hey So-and-so....I did it :)
Sometimes you just need a little nudge and encouragement in the right direction.
You're perfectly human if you feel scared when you do something new.
"Feel the fear and do it anyway." - Susan Jeffers
From my heart to yours,
Devon McLeod, LCSW