But when I stopped to really think about it, I realized that all I had to do was to talk to the crowd about my own personal experiences. Share what I know. Tell them I'm not an expert, invite them to ask questions, and know that what I have to say will be useful to those who need it. Once I remembered that, I calmed down a bit. (A bit!)
Something I've noticed about myself lately is that I often try to ignore undesirable feelings (nervousness, fear, anxiety, sadness), but what actually helps more than ignoring them and trying to just push through is acknowledging that the feeling is there. I've had a few cool moments where I've said something like "OK self, so you're feeling scared. That's ok. People get scared! You're growing into new territory, and that's important and exciting." And then, miracle of all miracles, I actually feel kinder toward myself, and the fear starts to dissipate! I think just acknowledging where you are and accepting it allows a space to open up that wasn't there before. in which you can be kind and gentle with yourself and stop freaking out. Many of you have probably had this realization, like, years ago, but I think I might be a late bloomer in the feelings arena. ;)
I think you can acknowledge these types of feelings and voices in your head that are trying to sabotage you and tell you you suck, and just move forward anyway. Getting into action always works for me. When I'm afraid to paint because I think I'll make something ugly: that means it's time to paint anyway. I'm anxious about making an important phone call: making the phone call eases the anxiety. Afraid to speak in front of a crowd: sign me up and plunge forward, even though I'm terrified. (This is a new one, by the way! I used to simply avoid talking in front of people at all costs.) Don't listen to those voices trying to stop you. Know that what you're putting into the world matters, and it's not your job to judge it or figure out who it matters to… your job is just to get it out of you and do the thing, whatever that thing is.
I am oh-so-familiar with the feeling of comparing myself to others and feeling like I'm not good enough / not doing enough / not fill-in-the-blank enough. Bit by bit, little by little, though, I'm beginning to understand that we are each truly and uniquely equal, no matter what. Me included. The way I feel is valid. The people I like to hang out with or don't like to hang out with is valid. The way I am is valid. There is nothing wrong with me. I may have qualities within myself that I'd like to transform or improve, but it doesn't mean I'm less than anyone else. Simply acknowledging that I'm allowed to feel however I feel, just because, has been a game-changer for me. I've spent so many hours and days believing I'm supposed to be feeling/looking some other way than the way than the way that I actually am, and I'm beginning to get how truly pointless that is.
It's each of our jobs on this planet to celebrate and express who we each truly are -- because if we were all the same, how boring would that be?
I've lived a life of taking everything too seriously, and, quite frankly, I'm sick of it. I want to make stuff just because, without judging it before I ever start. I want to sing and play guitar even if no one ever hears it but me, and I'm not going to be famous. I want to give in to my weird quirks. I want to waste time, look at bugs, watch the ocean, cover my house in color the way I want to and not how I think I'm supposed to want to… I just want to BE!
I think that's the key here, in finding motivation, working through nerves, feeling worthy + equal….. it's about BEING. Right now. It's about being kind to yourself, because you have to live with yourself every day. Why not be kind to yourself? It's better than the alternative! (Believe me, I know. I'm not own worst critic sometimes.)
How do you want to BE in the world? So be that way. There's no one stopping you by you. I say: start now. The world needs you, glorious you.
Licensing lecture + Q and A at the ICON 8 conference: complete!