The other day I was having this conversation with my brother (I feel like I start many of these articles like this), but anyway, he said something to me I already knew, but the context in which he said it totally blew my mind.
So the day of said conversation I was having a day. And not a great day. On this particular day my mind was being taken over by my inner critic who was trying its darndest to knock me right off my feet, and it didn’t feel good.
You see, I love giving talks, presentations, and facilitating and leading groups. And one of my career goals is to work my way into a position where I can divide my time more equally between being a therapist and giving personal growth and wellness talks and presentations.
Speaking to crowds totally gets my juices going and fills me up. It is my bliss.
But on that day, while in my funk, I said to my brother: “But Paul, what if I’m working to build this part of my career up more and unbeknownst to me, I’m actually a terrible speaker. I’m actually a total joke of a presenter. What if I’m totally delusional to think I can do this, when in actual fact I pretty much suck.”
And I continued: “What if I’m just like one of those people who make it to the American Idol auditions all pumped, and happy, and confident, and excited, and thinking they are all awesome and stuff and then when they open their mouths it sounds like cats dying. What if I’m one of those???”
And do you know what he said?
“Yup. So what.”
But do you know what? He’s right. So what.
Do you know how much courage, strength, passion, and confidence it takes for someone to get up there and give it their all and do what they love no matter what anyone else thinks? It’s actually quite admirable and impressive.
And the point is, they get up there and they do it. And they do it because they love it.
And most of us let silly things like self-doubt or the fear of not being the best, or perfect, or amazing get in the way of pursuing something that makes our hearts and our souls happy. We let the negative self-talk and our internal critic talk us out of it. But why? Why do we let that happen?
What does it really matter if we are not that great at something?
If you love it. If you love it and it brings you joy and fills you up, and makes you happy then, so what?
And to drive the point home, my brother then told me the story of his son, my nephew, who is 7 years old and just started his first year of hockey (and if you’re Canadian, you know learning to play hockey is almost a rite of passage for most little boys). And most of the other boys on the team have been playing since they were 4. So Evan is the worst player on the team and can hardly stay up on his skates for more than a New York Minute.
But after one of his first games last weekend, Evan came off the ice, all sweaty and rosy cheeked, and looked up at his dad with a big grin and said “You know what dad? I’m the worst player on the team. But I don’t care. I love playing hockey, so I’m going to stick with it.”
And I am going to continue to do the speaking thing – and if I suck, I suck. But I’m going to get up there and do it anyways because it’s my bliss, it’s my joy, and I absolutely love it. So I too, Evan, am going to stick with it.
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