When faced with big decisions, do you ever hear crazy talk in your head?
Have you ever said to yourself:
“What if I’m wrong?”
“Maybe someone asked that question already?”
How many times do we stop ourselves from raising our hand, speaking up in the meeting, not making the phone call, standing in a corner in networking events?
How many opportunities do we miss when we listen to the stories in our head?
I know I’ve missed a few until I started paying attention. Until I realized that asking the question at the microphone, at a large conference, was one of the best ways of begin networking conversations during breaks.
When I realized that speaking up in the meeting raised my profile and gave me more chances of being noticed and ultimately promoted.
When I realized that nobody will make me stand out if I don’t do so for myself.
So, how can YOU overcome all those voices that want to keep you quiet, keep you small? How do you stop the crazy talk in your head? Here are 3 strategies I’ve used that might help you:
- PREPARE: At any time, come to events prepared to ask a question or contribute. Whether is a large event and you seize the opportunity to come to the microphone and ask a question or contribute to the conversation in a small gathering, commit to being heard within the first half of the meeting, ideally before the break. Make it a goal.
- SOOTHE THE FEAR: Advice such as “don’t listen to your fear/scary voice”, drown the “scary voice” with positive statements might only turn down the volume of the fear conversation for a few moments. I suggest you give your fear voice about 2 minutes of attention. Then ask that voice, what is true about what you are saying? They always have a piece of wise nugget (tiny), listen to that nugget of wisdom and then let that scary voice know that “you’ve got this”. You are not afraid and do not worry, you will not put yourself in any danger.
- FOCUS ON THE REWARD: We make all kinds of stories in our head when we want to stay stuck. Not move forward. Fear usually pops up when we are looking to cross the boundary of our comfort zone, so be kind to yourself. Know that it’s a good sign if you are showing discomfort to a situation (we are talking a situation that would not have you physically in danger), take it as a sign that you are daring greatly (like Brene Brown would say). Breathe, be kind to yourself and step beyond that fear. On the other side of FEAR, there is always an expanded version of you, a world of new opportunities!
Whatever you do, look at the stories in your head as old voices that want to keep you safe. They are not your enemy, they are your scary friend who wants to keep you safe, don’t ignore them, reassure them that you are stronger than the fear and then plow forward…