I can’t do this. What on earth was I thinking. I’ll just be found out as a fraud. I’m not talented enough to be doing this. Everyone else has so much more to offer.
But what is the worst thing that could happen? Could I really make a fool out of myself? Nobody cares probably, everybody is focused on their own stuff. I might just be out of place and won’t contribute much.
Give it a try, you have nothing to lose, I tell myself. It feels uncomfortable now because it’s new and different, something I haven’t done before. But afterwards I’ll be glad I did it. Afterwards I will feel a sense of accomplishment.
This has happened before, the doubts always creeping up. How many times did I think I can’t do something and then did it? More times than I care to remember. Why do I keep forgetting? Why do I concentrate on what I perceive to be my inadequacies rather than on my accomplishments?
The comfort zone – where I’m unchallenged, nothing is awkward or difficult. Yet, it’s unfulfilling. I’m left with a feeling of missed opportunities, untapped potential. What’s harder, to overcome a fear of failure or missing out on being who I think I could be?
What will people think? If it’s not 100% perfect, I won’t even try. The ridicule of failure would be unbearable. It can never be as good as I’d imagine it to be so let’s not go there. But playing it safe leaves me unsatisfied and down on myself.
So I take the leap of faith, I jump out of the comfort zone. And I survive, all intact. Elated by the realisation of my own strength. I did this. It was hard, I cringed at times, I struggled, I doubted myself but I did it.
I can do it again. I remember the painfully shy little girl, too frightened to speak up, now standing in front of a crowd all eyes on her and yet she doesn’t crumble. She perseveres and gets through it.
The nerves won’t disappear. Sweat is running, heart pumping, stomach churning. But now I can recognise the nervous energy as a sign of caring, of wanting to do well. It doesn’t cripple me, it makes me work harder.
I leave notes to myself so I don’t forget, so I remember I’ve been out of the comfort zone more than I’ve been in it. I tell myself I’m strong and capable, and hopefully one day I will believe it.