Have you ever turned down an opportunity or, gave up pursuing something you really wanted to do because you felt you weren’t ready or good enough?
I sure did. In fact, just recently, I almost said no to an amazing opportunity.
Shortly after I arrived in Manizales, Colombia, I was invited to give conferences at a University to over 200 students.
Carlos, the owner of the apartment I’m renting, is a professor at the University. When I told him about my conferences, his eyes lit up and he said, “They will be so inspired and motivated by this. If you accept my invitation, I can schedule for you to come give your conferences within two weeks.”
My first reaction was, “YES, of course!!!!” I was excited and thrilled to be given this amazing opportunity (who wouldn’t be, right?).
Later that day, after my excitement wore off, I totally FREAKED OUT! Sure, I had given many conferences before. But now, I only had two weeks to prepare giving them in SPANISH!!
I started to panic. The butterflies in my stomach were out of control. Basically, I thought, “There’s NO WAY you could do this.” After about three days of complete torture, I decided that I would speak to Carlos and turn down his invitation.
That same afternoon, as I was having a cappuccino at my favorite coffee shop, I kept thinking about how much I really wanted to give these conferences but, NOT NOW! Surely I would get another chance or a better opportunity would pop up again.
And, then I thought, “What if this is it?”
Then, the waitress came over and sat with me. We spoke for about ten minutes until she got up to serve customers. As she walked away, it hit me.
Have you noticed something in all this?
My conversations with these people have all been in SPANISH!
That’s right, my Spanish is pretty fluent. It has been for quite some time. I was using my Spanish as an excuse. There was more to it.
It was time to be honest with myself.
You see, over the last couple of years, living in five different countries across South America, especially Colombia, I have learned so many life lessons from them. Many of which I have shared here on my blog.
Truth is, I felt, “What could I possibly have to offer to these people? They already know this stuff.”
As soon as I let go of using my Spanish as an excuse, I was able to fully be present and bring my attention on the truth behind wanting to back down:
Fear of not being good enough.
It doesn’t matter if you’re starting or how much experience or knowledge you have, sometimes, the minute you step out and put yourself out in the open in any way, you might end up feeling you’re not ready or not good enough yet. Like me, you may begin rationalizing and making excuses as to why you shouldn’t do it.
That day, I decided that there was no way I would let FEAR talk me into turning down this opportunity. I got up, walked over to one of the tables and asked the four people who were sitting together if I could join them.
Yup, that’s right, I practiced the Spanish version of my conference with them, with absolutely zip zero preparation.
They laughed, cried and were inspired.
I continued practicing and gave the conferences to hundreds of young minds with a passion to make a difference.
Once again, they laughed, they cried and were inspired.
The response was so amazing that I received more invitations from other Universities in Manizales.
Let’s look at what happened a little closer.
First, I faced and accepted that I was afraid instead of hiding behind it with my excuses. Once you accept and acknowledge your FEAR, you’ll feel an excitement about trying something new. Yes, it’s scary at first, but we all start off scared, don’t we? If you stay with it, instead of escaping it, it will transform into a powerful energy to explore and approach life in a whole new way. Living it, instead of hiding from it.
Second, once I confronted my fear, my focus was no longer on ME!
Two extremely powerful ‘qualities’ took control over my decisions and actions: Passion and Compassion.
Many of us, deep down, yearn to express our creativity and share our wisdom to the world. Many of us never do or never will because we feel that;
It’s all been done before, no one will care or be interested.
I’m not good enough to compete out there.
In today’s day and age, what could I possibly have to offer, and so on.
You see, when these stories are playing in your mind, your focus is on the ME, right?
Focused on all the bad things that could happen. On being judged, ridiculed and criticized. We separate ourselves from others. So, FEAR has a field day and takes control over your decisions and actions.
Now, watch what happens if your attention is no longer on the ME. This is not a bad or sad thing. It’s actually a beautiful, joyful thing. Your attention is on the PASSION for the thing you want to do. You are in the present moment. That is, on every single effort involved and every single challenge becomes a learning experience. Your thoughts no longer have the power to drift you off on all the bad things that could happen.
Now, still keeping the ME out of the picture, watch what happens when you shift your attention on how it could make a difference in others lives. A different quality, so much more powerful than fear, has room to take control. A quality that no longer separates you from people; COMPASSION!
When we truly connect and feel we are ONE with all of humanity, our fear is replaced with compassion. In compassion, an intelligence beyond any outside knowledge comes to life. An intelligence that will inevitable bring about a right action.
This does not in any way mean that you will never make a mistake and be perfect. Nor, does it abolish all the effort and the challenges that come with it. But, remember, the beauty is that your focus will no longer be on the ME and the need for perfection. So, you’ll allow yourself to be vulnerable. If you’ve ever given yourself this permission, you already know how it can expand your world beyond anything you can imagine.
You see, in order to be vulnerable, you need to love yourself and everything about YOU. When you’re filled with this love, fear of not being good enough no longer has a place to feed itself. It’s incredible how this love brings compassion and let you connect with others openly. It’s this connection that will attract people to you. It’s this connection that will guide you and show you how to do it. It’s this connection that will make you have FUN and enjoy doing it. Whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s a leader or CEO in a company, public speaking, writing (or any art), teach yoga, open a restaurant and so on.
Whether you’re starting or have experience and are putting yourself out there in any way, you will not be afraid to let them know. They will feel your PASSION in what you’re doing and connect with your COMPASSION. Let me tell you, you will accomplish so much more than you ever thought possible.
We have all, no matter our culture, customs or traditions, walked along a path with struggles, pain and suffering. A path which has taught us our own personal life lessons. Lessons filled with an Intelligence, Wisdom and Creativity that was meant to make this world a better place. Don’t keep it bottled up inside.
The world would have lost something truly valuable.
How about you? Have you ever done something you really wanted to do that scared you at first? How did it go?