“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”
I can’t tell you how many times people have said things to me like:
“I wish I had your confidence.”
“Well, I am just not as confident as you are.”
“You wouldn’t know, things like this are easy for you.”
Confession session – I am NOT the most confident person.
Most times, I feel like a duck in water, where I am “smooth on top but I am paddling like heck underneath.”
In April 2021, I attended my first live professional networking event in Atlanta in over a year. It was a new group for me, but three women I knew were going to be there, so I felt like I had some contacts which made me feel more at ease. In the Uber, one by one, each woman texted me.
“My son is in town, I’m not going to go tonight…have fun!”
“Sorry, work stuff came up, hope to see you soon!”
“I’m running super-late. I won’t be there for another hour or so.”
I got out of the Uber, thanked my driver, and walked into the building. Going up the elevator to the rooftop venue, I wondered what on earth I was doing. Was this a good idea?
I walked in and found a seat at the bar and ordered water…on the rocks. I was too nervous to have a cocktail.
A few minutes later, the event leader walked to the front of the venue and began to speak. Then he said he’d like everyone to introduce themselves. Most walked up to the front of the room to make their introductions, some stood up from where they were seated.
As it got closer and closer to my side of the room to make the introductions, I found that my legs had turned into spaghetti noodles. This wasn’t like me. I am a speaker, what the heck was wrong with me? But at that moment, the thought of standing up to introduce myself felt so overwhelming. Good thing I was sitting on a high bar stool so people could see me! I gave myself permission to sit and be kind to my spaghetti legs when I spoke.
It was my turn.
I had just one minute to make my intro and make it count. So, I took a deep breath, smiled, said hello, and pulled a bottle of the chocolate marketing chill pills I give to clients out of my purse. I said, “If marketing feels icky, yucky, stressful, expensive, or overwhelming, then you are doing something wrong. I’m Lorrie Thomas Ross, aka The Marketing Therapist and CEO of Web Marketing Therapy Inc. We are a marketing optimization firm that diagnoses, prescribes and guides healthy marketing solutions.” Then I held up the Rx bottle and shook them and said, “Don’t worry, these are chocolate” with a big smile; everyone laughed. I continued, and said, “We put your marketing puzzle together so it all clicks! I look forward to meeting you all and I am so happy to be here!
I got over my first IRL event in over a year, made some nice new contacts, my girlfriend arrived an hour later, and it was a really nice evening.
Well, not quite.
A week later, the event leader of that group reached out to invite me to be the keynote speaker at his June event. I was on vacation when he asked and since I was super relaxed, I replied from my phone that I’d love to. The event was over a month away so I didn’t think much of it other than, “Gosh, guess my introduction that night was better than I thought??!!”
As I got closer and closer to the event, I got more and more stressed. And the voices in my head began to go. “How was I going to top the last speaker?! How was I going to talk for 30 minutes with no PowerPoint slides? What on earth could I share to help these successful people? Why did they ask ME??”
It boiled down to this – introducing myself and leading with my magic as a transformational marketing guide and retreat leader (versus sneaking my magic in the back door) was still new. It was uncomfortable. I’ve guided clients through their personal branding and made marketing magic for decades SO successfully, but this was the first time I stepped onto a stage as a “transformational marketing guide.”
It wasn’t a lack of confidence, it was about stepping into a new confidence.
Once I got to the root of the stress, I was able to get clear. When we evolve, it’s like having our feet in two separate canoes next to each other! I had to step all the way out of the old Lorrie (“My firm can make you a fantastic new website”) and into the new Lorrie – transformational marketing guide, coach, and retreat leader (who can still make fantastic websites, but I’m not your person unless you are ready to grow personally in my container too!)
If you aren’t uncomfortable, you won’t grow.
It really is so important for us to put ourselves in those uncomfortable situations! How does a seed planted deep in the ground find its way up through the earth and into the light? There’s no drill that goes into the ground to clear a path and make it easy to find its way up! It must push and shove to get out of there and into its new life.
Same goes for us.
We must fight the resistance to grow to reach new heights.
It may not be perfect or 100% pretty, but be confident that you can do it.
We have to let go of some things in order to take on new things. In my talk, I shared a simple ASSESS, OPTIMIZE and NEW formula I use with clients and with myself. We are never done with this process. This talk for me represented me being in the NEW part. The talk went well, of course, I replayed things I could have done better, but done is better than perfect sometimes. I can assess it, optimize and when I give more talks to new audiences, I can be better.
Growth only happens outside of our comfort zone – and it’s so worth the momentary fears, lack of confidence hiccups and insecurities.
Celebrate what makes you uncomfortable! There is growth in it!