A few months ago I was watching The Talking Dead with my hubby and indulging in a little daydreaming. For those of you that don’t know The Talking Dead is a show that airs after a new episode of The Walking Dead, where people discuss the episode you’ve just seen, this is my version of porn, I can’t get enough! “Wouldn’t it be cool” I said to the hubby, “if I blogged about The Walking Dead and it became so popular that I got asked to be on this show?” His answer surprised me, he said “No, I don’t think you’d like that at all. You hate being the center of attention and you don’t like to speak in public.”
I have to admit I was a little bit offended. I just knew that if I ever got an opportunity like that, I would rise to the occasion. It reminded me of when I got my first supervisor position at the theater, back in the day. The theater had so few supervisors at the time that they just decided to have a meeting and anyone that showed up would be given supervisor training. I showed up and I became a supervisor, but I found out later that several of the managers doubted that I would be able to speak up enough to lead people. What they didn’t know is that when I have the authority to tell people what to do, I have no problem doing so. I just don’t like telling people what to do when it is not my place. I knew that I was capable though and I went on to be one of the best supervisors and was promoted repeatedly after that.
Looking back I don’t really blame those managers or my hubby for the lack of belief because I hadn’t shown them my potential. I had grown too comfortable in my comfort zone and hadn’t pushed myself. That is one of the drawbacks of being a self contained person, people don’t know you because you forget to let them see you. You forget that your rich inner life is not something other people are privy too.
I’m not really as shy as I used to be because I’m much more confident in myself and my abilities than I was as a younger person. But I didn’t just become confident in my social skills by accident or overnight.
When I was nineteen I decided I needed to get over my fear of people I didn’t know and start having adventures! So I went to work on a cruise ship in Alaska for six weeks. I didn’t know a soul and it was the first time I had traveled anywhere by myself. The thing that surprised me most about the experience was how easy it was. Don’t get me wrong, working on a cruise ship is not easy. It was thirteen hours a day, seven days a week of really hard work. The easy part was getting along with strangers. Once I got past the fear, once I threw myself into the deep end with no buffer and nowhere to hide I learned that people liked me, even when I wasn’t doing things for them. People thought I was funny and all those feelings of inferiority and insecurity where just in my head. The people on the boat had no idea that I was shy or insecure. I showed them a side of myself that I hadn’t shown before, a strong side, a confident side and they responded to that. After I came home from my little adventure I used the lessons I had learned to become a better version of myself and when the opportunity came at the theater to be a leader, I knew I could do it even when no one else did.
So take a moment and think about the person you feel you are deep down and the person your friends or family might say you are. Do those two people match? Are you showing the world the real you or just the habitual you? If they don’t match then maybe you need to push yourself a bit more or just focus on communicating better with the people around you. Don’t be afraid to be brave, to unleash your inner badass and let the true you shine!