In other words, are you ok with failing, looking like a fool, or doing something less than perfect? If these questions cause a knot in your stomach and a tightening in your chest it means on some level you are not comfortable in your own skin. How do I know? Because I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum.
Last night I had the honor of speaking at the Doylestown Women’s Business Forum business meeting on the topic of “How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin Anytime, Anywhere” and how being so can boost your business. During the meeting I talked about one of the secrets of being comfortable in your own skin – releasing fear, expectation, and judgment. This secret is key to being powerful in your life and your business because if you are holding onto the railing of safety with a death grip, you will miss so many opportunities it won’t even be funny. Life IS dangerous. After all, none of us will get out of it alive. The good news is that stepping out and taking the risk to do things you’ve always wanted to or the actions necessary to move forward on your dreams and goals doesn’t need to be a fright fest.
As I was elaborating on this topic, I asked the questions
- are you ok with trying something new even if you might fall flat on your face?
- are you willing to put yourself out there – in your business or otherwise – even if you’re not perfect (which is an unachievable illusion anyway).
I could visibly see people’s faces wince a bit and see them shift in their seat. I then added the point that for me, speaking to this group was something new for me. I had never spoken to this group I enjoy so much. In fact, speaking to groups live and in person is a relatively newer thing for me. I explained that what makes me able to do new things and do them extremely well is that I don’t worry about if I am going to fall on my face. If I do, I’ll pick myself up, learn from it, and move on. I referred to a recent speaker the group had, Karyn Greenstreet, who spoke about marketing plans. In her speech she talked about trying out new marketing tactics and not abandoning them immediately if they don’t go as expected or get the results you desire on the first try. Sometimes they need tweaking, a different target audience, or some practice before they deliver the goods. I then asked the group if they would choose to never market their business because it might not succeed 100% on the first try. Certainly the room was in agreement – of course not! Well, if that’s the case, you need to be comfortable in your skin, willing to be less than perfect, and open to taking a risk. Otherwise you’ll never leave your house or office and you’ll go absolutely nowhere.
We all have our points at which we hesitate or get stuck because we fear failure or we’re so married to expecting a certain outcome that we cling desperately and needily to the way we want something to be. I’m no different. It is an ongoing practice of being aware of what you’re feeling and then choosing how you want to be and what you want to do. What I’ve learned is that if you’re totally OK with falling on your face you’re suddenly free. Free from worry and expectation. The likelihood that you’ll fall totally on your face is so slim anyway (although our rational minds know this, our emotions don’t always get the memo); if you do, you can always dust yourself off and get up again. You might even be surprised to find just how many supporters you have in your corner rooting for you and willing to help you up if you trip and fall. But, you’ll never know if you don’t let go and give it a shot.
What is one thing in your life or business that you so want to do but are afraid of failing at or appearing less than perfect? What is one thing you can do today to move one tiny step forward knowing that it is totally OK to goof it up? Now, go out and do that one thing… If you need a little support or want to share, please open up a conversation in the comments!