Do You Ever Feel Like a Pretender?


Do You Ever Feel Like a Pretender?

The biggest insecurity I had was my singing. Even though I had sold 70 million records, there was this feeling like, I’m not good at this. -Jennifer Lopez

Talking to my mentor recently I got a shock when discussing how my book sales were going.

I had to confess that to date they’d been modest (and that’s an exaggeration). Blunt as could be he said, “But you wrote it, put down your ideas, ones that you believed could help a lot of people and what? Now you want to hide?”

I was shocked. He’d just accused me of running away, hiding even. Right then, the excuses started, internally mainly, and voicing a few, “But first I’ve got to … blah blah blah …”

And there it was. The realisation that I’d been hiding, allowing fear to win.

It’s good to get that out in the open.

As a mentor myself, it’s easy to stay playing from the sideline. Watching the game and becoming an expert critic. I used to joke ‘that from the sideline I could help the Sharks win’, and then they started winning … that stopped that.

Somewhere it all became too comfortable. I can’t tell you exactly when, it happened slowly. I just realised that the comfortable, the easy seemed to have replaced standing out and making a difference. I was starting to blend in.

Who wants to be judged?

It’s not even a tall Poppy thing. It was just about being out there and being in a place where I could be judged. Here’s where the insecurity starts to kick in, if you let it.

Stand out to be outstanding.

It’s a bit obvious as soon as you think of it. A fundamental building block of being outstanding at what you do is that you’ll have to separate from the herd, the crowd and noise to be noticed.

So, there it was. I was hiding. Then came the next challenge, to engage in getting speaking gigs. I knew I had only one choice. To start speaking. I didn’t want another session like this one.

If you’re looking, you’ll see the opportunities.

Within days of that discussion with my mentor, invites started coming. ACS (An Australian wide IT membership) were looking for someone to present on Reverse Mentoring to their Brisbane members, an audience of about 80. A presentation, Why Brilliant Solutions Just Aren’t Enough, was greatly received by the room, many people interested in exploring how to lift their emotional intelligence followed.

And the invites started to flow, Logan Council’s Economic Development arm, CCIQ, Beenleigh Chamber of Commerce and then Small Business Week, as the Keynote for the Gold Coast Small Business week luncheon followed by Morton Bay Regional Industry and Tourism.

In just six weeks, a presentation a week followed that conversation. Presenting to groups from 20 to 100 people. Combined there was an audience between 350 to 400 people, not including being MC at a close friend’s wedding with 100 guests.

Getting started is the biggest hurdle.

I’ve done a lot of research on procrastination. Yes, there are university professors who focus on this and what I found was, we procrastinate because we’re wired that way. New stuff is uncomfortable, and we don’t like discomfort (strange how that took a study).

Yet our ability to fulfil our professional dreams and desires lies on the other side of our comfort zone. If you find you’re not doing the things you know you should, get on with it. Give yourself the challenge and just do it.

Confidence comes from doing.

So, after six weeks and more than six presentations, how do I feel? Great, more confident and even more, ready to keep improving. You’ll enjoy added confidence more than you imagined, once you take that first step.

A mate once said to me, “If you want to become great at doing videos, just do 200, then, you’ll be a natural.”

Sure it’s scary. There’s a term for it, ‘Strategic Desensitisation’, doing a lot of what makes you uncomfortable till you’re comfortable with it. We used to call it practice.

Embrace your curiosity, and you’ll find it’s more rewarding than you imagined. So keep practising … till you can’t get it wrong!

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