There was a time when I didn’t. Speak up, that is.
I was scared. Afraid people would judge me. Afraid I would say the wrong thing. Afraid others wouldn’t agree. Afraid it wouldn’t be quite perfect.
It was one day after not speaking up in a meeting, that I was sitting with a senior partner, 1:1 and I said: “May I share my thought on this? ” And he said: “You may always share your thoughts and I want to know what they are.”
Wow. What a gift, right?
This moment of trust. . .realizing that it’s my choice to have a voice. It was the support that I needed. And I get it–you don’t always receive such an invitation. But this experience was less about him and more about me realizing my own power.
These are my hacks for getting through this war zone–at the office, at home or out in the world. When nerves, fear, doubt and imposter syndrome sets in, here’s what to do:
HACK #1: Listen (yes, listen) to the Doubt
We’re all familiar with the voice of doubt calling from inside our heads. And I’m telling you: don’t try to push it away. Don’t ignore it. Don’t pretend it’s not there. Listen to the doubt. Thank it for sharing. And then move forward–with your plan, your presentation, your idea. You got this. Remember: Doubt (or fear, or shame, or guilt, whichever enemy is yours) can ride along in the backseat. But you’re driving.
HACK #2 Observe the Power
When you’re getting nervous in a situation, take three steps.
- Notice where the power lies. Observe the power. Is it with him? Or her? Or the organization? Perhaps the weather? It can be anything. But something is wielding the power.
- Now look at your own power. Do you have any? Why or why not? Did you have it and lose it? Did you never have it? Could you take it back? The answer is yes.
- Make that move to shift the power and take what’s yours. Remember: We can only control our own behavior, so let’s make the most of it.
HACK #3 Forget Comfort
The comfort zone is the status quo, a bias that hinders innovation, career advancement–yours or those you lead. It is sluggish and does not keep up with the fast-paced, global changes in today’s marketplace. You can hold back all you want, but here’s the rub. You think holding back is keeping you in your comfort zone, but are you really comfortable? I doubt it. You’re sitting on top of your creativity, your ideas and your power. Remember: the comfort zone is an illusion, because that gnawing feeling in the back of your mind–what you COULD be–is not comfortable. Not a bit.