When was the last time you did something that scared you?
BY THE UNSTUCK DUCK
When was the last time you did something that scared you?
I mean – knocked your socks off scared you?
I recently accepted the opportunity to be the new Managing Director of the Victoria Chapter of the eWomenNetwork, an international women’s business organization that helps women build their businesses through connection, community and collaboration. It’s about education, innovation, networking and support. I have been a member since last summer, and have found it to be an amazing opportunity to meet exceptional women that truly want me to succeed.
When the opportunity to become Managing Director came up, I was more than a little intimidated. I’ve volunteered before. I’ve burnt out before. I’ve failed before.
Suddenly I was inundated with a deluge of negative thoughts thrown at me by the trolls in my mind – flashbacks of moments of poor decision, ineffective leadership moments, off the cuff sarcastic remarks that fell flat (or worse… got me in hot water). My hidden shame over my piles of paper and empty file cabinet. My limiting beliefs about my stick-to-it-iveness, my organizational skills and my patience.
I spent a good while (way longer than usual) self-flagellating and dredging up reminders of every single moment that I have “failed” in the past. I convinced myself that I had the attention span of a gnat, that I was flighty, that I broke every good thing that I ever got to be a part of, that I …… (insert 50 other completely bogus judgements I’ve had about myself).
Then I had a blinding flash of the obvious.
It’s because of those limiting beliefs that I need to do this.
See the comfort zone is not comfortable – it’s just familiar. In fact, often it’s stale, stagnant and smelly. When we start to get close to the edge of that comfort zone, our primal brain (our amygdala) kicks in and tries to keep us safe.
Don’t do that or you will get hurt.
Don’t do that or you will be visible.
Don’t do that or people will reject you.
But the things is – all of those trolls popping out from under the bridge are LYING to you. Their role is to keep you from playing bigger in your life. They are mean, and they always go to the extreme – blowing everything out of proportion.
Any time we get close to the edge of our comfort zone, there they are, like sentries, willing to shoot you down. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re going to fail so why try.
So what can you do when you’re faced with doing something scary?
I like to use the 3 N’s to managing strong emotions:
- Notice – Notice the words, the feelings they give you, the thoughts that they stir. Once we start noticing the emotion, we can learn to recognize flags in our bodies. Sometimes we can catch the feeling and say “Oh, I’m feeling a tightening in my chest. That’s a flag for me that I’m coming up to some resistance. What’s that all about?”
- Name – I like to name my trolls. I’ve even painted them! “Negative Nellie, “Nasty Nancy” “Simone the Small” “Betty the Bitch” “Asshole Andy”. When I create a caricature in my mind, it’s easy to play the game and dodge the bullets.
- Navigate – Being intentional about how we’re going to react in a scary situation allows us to have an “emergency action plan” when overwhelming feelings kick in.
For me, I have a few questions I ask myself when I’m faced with fears: 1) Are the thoughts that are coming up for me TRUE? 2) Given that I’m always in choice, am I creating the experience I want for myself right now? and 3) What would a successful future me do in this situation?
Once we add intention to our days, and choose not to live life like a cork in the ocean, we can pause, regroup and move forward.
When I was faced with the Managing Director position, my trolls went into overdrive. Back in the day, that fear response was there to help us stay safe from predators. But, in this case, there was no sabre-toothed tiger out there.
There’s just women, supporting women, in an empowering, life changing way.
In realizing that, I chose to step up my game. I chose to link arms with women that lift me as they climb, and for whom I can do the same. I chose to step into the eWomenNetwork value of giving first, sharing always, and empowering women to thrive.
AND I AM SO EXCITED!
To learn more about the eWomenNetwork and how YOU TOO can take your business to the next level, visit ewomennetwork.com or send me an email! I would love to share my experience with you. And help you take out a troll or two.
Teri is a Certified Executive Coach through Royal Roads University, and a graduate of the Purpose Project™. She lives in Victoria BC with her husband Jeff, a revolving door of teenagers, her awesome golden mountain dog Indy, and a one-eyed cat named Tallie.
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