When I was young, like four or five, my parents would tell me I could do anything. They said it a lot, and I believed them. As the years passed I heard it less and less. I guess then thought they got that point across. As a teen I heard why things weren’t possible. I did hear the goal was to reach for the stars. My dad would say, “Prove to me it’s possible.” But, when I was told that I would never be an architect because I didn’t do well in math, I gave up. Why dream? I began to fear trying something new, because what if I failed. I didn’t want to hear, “You’re doing it wrong, stop it.” I didn’t even want to hear, “Prove it to me.”
“Prove it” always seemed like a dare. Dare to not be a failure.
When I moved out, got married, and started my family I realized that when I wanted something I couldn’t give up. It wasn’t a prove-it-challenge. My husband worked, but if we wanted extra money I needed to get a job. It was logic, plain and simple. Not a mind game. Just do it. The interviews were terrifying, but I got a job.
The thought of going back to school scared me. I really wasn’t a fan of high school. Even answering a roll call gave me the jitters. The only way I could get a better job was to get a college degree. I pushed myself. When I had to speak in class I was almost paralyzed with fear. I would fight the panic. I’d hold my head high, roll my shoulders back, and be confident. When the speech was over I’d shake so bad sometimes I’d have to close my eyes.
Thankfully, I’m stubborn. I’ve always been stubborn. I do a thing because I want to. The more afraid I am, the more I need to do it. The problem is getting past the fear. I’ve always seen it as leaping off a cliff. Just take a deep breath and jump. (I’m more than a little afraid of heights)
Well, what if it was easier than that? What if two minutes standing like Wonder Woman would make me feel powerful enough to face my fears? What if instead of hunching at my desk in dread, assumed a smile and sat up straight?
Below is a fantastic TED talk by Amy Cuddy about body language. I can’t wait to put some of this into practice.