What’s the worst thing that can happen? Someone says no? Someone laughs at you? It seems that we are constantly held back by the fear of how someone else will respond to what you do.
The reality is, if we don’t try, we miss out on the possibility of the best thing that could happen actually happening! How much is that worth to you?
My daughter has a healthy fear of asking for permission to do things. She starts the question – “Mom, (pause), never mind. I know what you are going to say.” Or she will say – “I know you are going to say no because I have asked you this before, so never mind.”
My response to her is usually, “If you don’t ask, you are guaranteed that the answer is no. But if you ask and give me the chance, you might get a yes.”
I think about things that have held me back…
“What do I say to them? I don’t know enough to talk to them about this or that. I’m not funny like ____ and don’t have great stories like ____.” “What can I contribute really? I’m not as successful as ____ or as knowledgeable as ____.” “I can’t imagine that they would want me to come…” “I can’t dance!” (but I can keep a beat, I can line dance, and love doing that!) “I am NOT putting on a swimsuit!”
Those things hold me back. But things that hold a lot of people back, like public speaking, mixing gold and silver jewelry, or inventing something in the kitchen do not intimidate me in the least.
The first step to getting over your fear is to decide that what you are potentially missing out on matters more than the consequences you fear might happen. That’s your big, powerful motivation.
The next step is to just do it! Maybe you take baby steps and ease your way into it. But you have to do it!
I learned that I didn’t have to be funny or tell great stories, I just needed to ask questions and listen! If I don’t have anything to contribute today, fine. Today I will learn, so that tomorrow I can contribute. People really DO want to come, they just have other obligations sometimes.
Most of us crave more real live social interactions. I really can’t dance, but I do it all the time because it makes me happy. I am the mom that dances to the in-store radio and does the Macarena and YMCA in the stands. Yes, people laugh. Yes, people look at me funny. And yes, that makes me happy because I know that it gave them something to laugh about for a minute…which we all need a little more of!
I guess this all boils down to two things. First, mom was right when she said, “You’ll never know until you try.” So ask! Try! See what happens! Second, learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy life. Taking yourself seriously and trying to be perfect all of the time is way too much work!
Oh, and the swimsuit thing. Still haven’t conquered that one. Maybe I’ll get back to you one day once I figure out what exactly I am missing out on. I’m sure that day will come.