Last evening was an exercise in owning my truth and passion, and it was huge for me. Let me fill you in. On a whim, I reached out to a friend who is an entrepreneur and owns her own business to see if she wanted to attend a local women’s networking event with a very known speaker who works in the field of promoting and encouraging women’s leadership. Based on the event write-up, it seemed like something I would benefit from on a business level. If my friend wasn’t up for joining me, I would have given into my insecurities and more than likely not have attended (personal fail number one). Thankfully, she had also heard of the event and was game. So, we showed up, chatted with one another, and waited for the talk to begin. After the guest speaker’s introduction was given, it was announced that we would each stand up and give a 30 second “pitch” on who we are and what we do. Regardless of knowing how insightful the presentation would be, or really anything else about the evening, had I of been privy to this activity in public speaking, I wouldn’t have attended (personal fail number two). I don’t like speaking in a group; I’m neither comfortable nor confident when all eyes are on me, but that’s not the reason I was scared (truthfully almost petrified). The real reason is that I knew I would have to stand in front of this group of successful, skilled, professional women and tell them my pitch, “I’m in the infantile stages of being a YouTuber with a coordinating blog” and the idea of that had my heart beating so fast I could physically feel and hear it. Sitting there waiting for my turn, I felt awkward, intimated, and beyond insecure. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t.
Half the group had their turn and then it was mine. I don’t really remember what words quivered out of my mouth, but I was honest in sharing my short summary of who I am and what I do. I wanted to cry, because while I feel more fulfilled than ever by what I do, owning it still isn’t easy. I continually stumble over a job title and the little voice in my head, which isn’t exactly quiet, always questions “will people chuckle when I tell them?”, “what do people really think behind my back?”, “what will be thought of and said about me if this endeavour doesn’t work?”. I’ve reinvented myself so many times already in my life, I’ve started and walked away from just a few business pursuits and I think that’s in part the reason for my unsettlement, my insecurity. I think another, and perhaps the main reason, is that I’m putting myself out there in such a vulnerable way, and despite how “natural” some have thought this to be for me, I assure you it is not.
Okay, back to the evening… So, I said my pitch and sat quietly mortified until we were welcomed to mingle again. I turned to my friend, expecting we’d just continue our conversation, when several women came over to ask about what I do. Some knew about me (um, what?) while others wanted to be filled in. They were intrigued, excited, and supportive. I wasn’t prepared for this. It’s not that I haven’t received support from family and friends, quite the opposite, but in a room full of established women with big titles and amazing success stories, I didn’t expect such reception towards my “unique” job. That encouragement alone made showing up for the event well worth it; but then during the talk this revelation was expanded upon and really affirmed for me my calling and moreover, working towards confidentally owning it.
So, this is the take away, this is what I want to convey to you. Self evaluate whatever is holding you back from really claiming your own title and following your passion; both confidentially and without apology. Is the fear of failure and worrying what others may think worth the cost of not being true to you and honouring your passion and truth? It’s easy to live in the quiet of your inner voice, it’s safe there, but it’s not honest nor productive. When you force yourself to stand, even if you find your legs shaking, and own your title/passion/opinion it’s incredible the shift in your sense of self. You’re also likely to find that the reasons for doubt have no substance and live merely in the insecurity of your own mind. Being brave and stepping outside of your own comfort is the only way things really happen. When you take the leap of faith, when you step outside of what feels safe and (cliche as it may sound) believe in yourself, you establish the foundation for growth and allow possibility. Like last night for me, this is not easy. I would have been fine to have said any of the other women’s titles as my own, but that’s not who I am. Who I am is a work in progress; I’m being brave in trying something unconventional and there’s a lot of potential in that (how exciting and liberating)!
I share, because it’s cathartic for me to express myself. Sometimes it’s lighthearted and other times my musings are likely more suited for a personal diary; but either way, should my sentiment be meaningful to you, I hope you find encouragement in my story. If you’re one of the lucky ones that live a fully-balanced life of following your passions and callings, please offer your support to those following behind – we need it!